I don’t know if Aixienne is used as the name of those women who live in Aix-en-Provence, but the old costumes, and those faces, brought to memory some 19th century paintings of women from Arles, L’ Arlesienne, if I remember correctly, maybe it was van Gogh, in any case when I passed by the 2 women in Aix and took in the hair styles, and garments, I had a flash of how it must have looked when everyone wore clothes like this, and how each town or region in the back country must have had their own specific identity.
How different from our contemporary esthetic where ‘branding’ is the force that unites all towns, cities, and even members of a generation. And how in every town today we find the same fashion names on the shopfronts along the streets.
Sometimes I long for the mom and pop stores of the past with all their individuality.
I have finally finished looking at more than 40,000 prints and signing over 15,000 of them for the sale of my Archive. Yesterday and today were, and are, travel days, and I am deeply tired from the intensity of the effort. So the next few days will still be quiet time for me with pictures only until I recover enough to write about the images.
But I wanted to thank all of you for your support and patience as well as the effort some of you made to keep the observations about life and photographs flowing. I’d like to thank Jose and Ece, and all the rest for the wisdom and feelings your comments contained.
Anita came to visit us with her dad, our old assistant and friend from the Tuscany Workshop days back in the 90’s. She’s a trilingual little kid with a lovely sense of herself and a graceful young ballerina’s movement. I was outside doing something when I turned around to find her dreaming in the doorway, watching her father and Maggie. A sweet little unposed moment where her luminous inner quality shone through.
A Brick Beach is what Siena’s main piazza reminds me of. Thousands of people can fit into this fan shaped, south sloping, herring bone patterned arena, and they do, every day during the tourist season. It is here that one can walk among them and feel free to photograph everyone. It has that special vibe where no one feels taken advantage of by a photographer’s curiosity. I used to bring my street photography classes here back when I had a photography workshop from 1995 to 2001. This was always a great place to look at life in all its surprising and playful combinations.
We went to a friend’s restaurant knowing we’d have great food and a good time, and it was even better and funnier than we expected. Celebrations are great moments for making pictures for all the usual reasons; the special moment, the memories, the friends who one day won’t be around but are captured in their liveliest expressions and stay that way for us. Here are four women from 16 to 66 who span the generations yet look so comfortable and beautiful together
Often the camera does things that can only show up as visible in a photograph; that’s the magic of the medium. Maggie ‘s cake came out with a sparkler blazing away, and when I made the shot the sparkler had a fraction of a moment of less sparkle before exploding again, and in that space the shutter – at 1/ 30th of a second – was open long enough to make 2 recordings of everything.
Then someone put on a Berlusconi mask and just as in his real life the women flocked to him. And here again an accidental ‘catch’ occurred, someone else’s flash went off just as I opened my shutter and it produced this ‘bronzy,’ garish color and hard light.
Some friends came down for Maggie’s birthday a couple of years ago and brought their teenage daughter with them. We have known her since she was a few weeks old and have seen her through all her phases so far and hope to watch her for as long as we can. These yearly or sometimes twice a year sightings are a little like watching a stop motion movie where we see the spurts and leaps as if it was a continuous sequence.
She’s about 16 here and looking leggy and beautiful. I feel fortunate to have witnessed her through all the years and seeing this image, simple as it is (we were walking in the medieval part of our town in the evening) made me feel that I should collect them all and make a little book for her at some point in her life when it would be important for her to look back.