Category Archives: Girls

DECEMBER 20, 2015

L’ Aixienne

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.

12-20 Aix L1003598

DECEMBER 9, 2015

6 Long Weeks

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.

Tin Tin and the Girls12-9 TinTin  L1003319

Smoking Hand12-9 Smoke L1003325

SEPTEMBER 9, 2015

Sweet Moment

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.

09-9 portrait L1000672

AUGUST 23, 2015

Brick Beach

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.

08-23 Brick beach L1032596

AUGUST 8, 2015

Maggie’s Birth Day

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.

08-8 The Girls L1032205

08-8 Sparks L1032244 copy

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.

08-8 Berlusconi L1032305 copy

AUGUST 6, 2015

Stop Time

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.

08-6 Misty L1032158

 

JULY 22, 2015

Penmanship

On the streets of Cortona with students in the workshop, I saw a few of those balletic moments of no great significance, but which keep the eye sharp and the appetite hungry. When I was a kid we were taught penmanship with a real old fashioned pen that was dipped into an inkwell. We had to make slinky-like spirals and other gestural swirls and swishes so that we would develop a ‘good hand’ and be ready at any instant to create beautiful letters.

Like penmanship, the attuned eye, following the rhythm of life on the streets, keeps one sharp and ready for when the moment arrives. These little toe pointings, and head tiltings are nuanced gestures that lead to a more watchful readiness and also to enjoying the rich, unexpected incidents that can happen when you pay attention.

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07-22-Street L1031745

This image of 2 sisters, one already filled out and worldly, and for a moment taking charge of her younger sibling, filled me with the sense of what sexual development, or the lack of it, may offer in the way of power between people. Who knows what the hidden text of this picture really is? For all I know she was saying, ‘gosh, that’s hot, don’t you have a lighter top?’ But it also could be about the difference between being a teenager and not.

07-22-Sisters L1031736

JULY 21, 2015

Jewel Box

I was asked to give a talk at the Cortona, On The Move Festival, and then teach a workshop the next day. I arrived at the jewel box of an opera house and was amazed to see this small but grand old theater which was full of students and visitors by the time I was ready to speak.

07-21 Stage L1031665

Out on the street afterwards I was attracted to this couple, mainly the electric blue of her dress and the great pair of legs, and there was certainly a charge they both gave off.

07-21-couple street L1031676

Later in the day, after walking around the whole town for hours, I made my way out to the piazza which offered a grand view of the valley, and there I saw the couple again, she wedged into him so close that it justified my response in the morning. It’s always a delicate situation to get close to people who are in an intimate and private moment. It requires a kind of determined boldness, but also delicate footwork, and body feints and deceptions, something I have learned how to do by being on the streets for so many years. It’s exciting too, to see just how close I can come and still not be considered breeching the space they need for their own sense of freedom.

Whenever I see this kind of intimacy in public, the way she has fit herself into him and the way it looks! I find it tells me, or at least suggests to me, something of their, hidden from the public life, and that kind of eros, it projects makes me pay close attention.

07-21-couple L1031700.

07-21-couple L1031701

Later I met up with the whole staff of the festival for dinner. We were twice as many as in this frame, but at some point I looked at that Renoir poster on the wall and felt that life continues as always and only the costumes change. Youth and energy, yearnings and life’s mysteries, spin us all through time so one day we can remember these moments of joy and freedom.

07-21-Renoir L1031713.

Leaving the restaurant I saw this old woman out in the night, and immediately felt the sense of time as so fleeting; that from youth and love and wonder, we come to age, and it seems but a blink.

07-21 Night L1031710

JULY 19, 2015

Dream State

This day 2 years ago I visited Cortona to see my exhibition in the Cortona On The Move photo festival. Cortona is a beautiful hill town above a plain between 2 ranges of hills. On the other side of the far range is our valley and it always surprises me how different each terrain is even when they are only a few miles apart.

At lunchtime we entered a local restaurant, and immediately inside the front room I saw this image of a young girl in her dream state of wonder and illusion, like an Alice in Wonderland girl fallen into the depths of the mirror’s space, except this one seemed to be loving herself in a way that brought to mind all seductive and playful charms of the putti one sees hovering in the corners of Italian paintings, or holding up the edges of the ceilings in palazzo rooms.

These associations I find myself making come instantly to mind, and there is barely a moment between seeing what’s in front of me, raising my camera, and reading the underlying text that the image gives off. And reading it this way it doesn’t mean that it is true, or anything that even makes sense, it is just what comes at me from the world, and which only I am susceptible to, and I never expect anyone else to read it in the same way I do, but I am helpless in front of these associations.

I have long felt that it is a way of seeing that I have tuned my instrument to, and that by this associative verbalizing, even if it is just a flash thought, I can then see more clearly what its affinity is to me. I have long believed that if you can say it you can see it.

07-19 Little Girl L1031632