Category Archives: Interior

AUGUST 7, 2015

Table Top

‘Table Top’ used to be what still life work was called back in the 70’s and 80’s when I did some advertising photography. I never shot that kind of stuff because I was a ‘location guy’ and couldn’t find any interest in being inside a studio. But sometimes, when sitting across a table from someone; a friend, family member, even a total stranger, whoever it may be, there is a moment when some connection just begs for a photograph.

Her steady look and directness, with no projection of the kind of beauty she is capable of and can often express, was what I responded to as we sat around the breakfast table. These simple, intimate moments are rich with possibilities.

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AUGUST 3, 2015

A Moment’s Notice

The world is crazy! I walk into a shop that has both junk and antiques in the doorway, and inside was a picture of someone’s mind, a mind that developed over many years of selecting things, and those things shape the point of view of their world. Sometimes you see great visual style and recognition, and other times just a mash up of stuff as if its a rolling wave of junk that landed in somebody’s place.

So what to make of a dead cat with a slivery, papery, wooden looking surface, whose shape is still prowling and leaping at some long gone invisible prey. And it leaps over a rolled up modern poster, onto a scale with old weights and a huge wheel.  On the shelf above it rests a stack of folded cartons, and above that is a strange cutout shelf that was probably made for a sink, by the shape of it, and then, above it, the kicker of it all is a chaos of wrought iron stands, and chairs, baskets and shelving. Is it a photograph? Or an inventory? I stepped back to look.

Perhaps it’s simply a record of a moment of surprise, one that keeps my mind and eye alert for the next strange thing that comes along. This game of sight of ours is often about staying ‘tuned’ to our own instrument, and being ready at a moment’s notice to play beautifully.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JULY 7, 2015

4th Dimension

Inside a local hardware store in the town of San Quirico d’Orcia I felt as if I was looking into the mind of the proprietor, an 80 year old woman, who has been in this shop for more than 50 years.

There was no room to walk more than 5 feet into the space, and then ask a question such as, ‘….do you have bar-b-cue skewers?’ or any other ordinary hardware store request;  you got 3 centimeter nails? measuring cups? freezer packs? and to my surprise she would take a stick and squeeze through some slot behind the counter and enter the 4th dimension, and come back with what I asked for!

It seemed worthy of making a photograph if only to remember what an incredible memory she must have.

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MAY 11, 2015

Expect Nothing

Remember that line from the old Amex ads; “never leave home without it?” Well you know what I would say, never even go to the bathroom in a restaurant without a camera on your shoulder. On my way upstairs to find the restroom in this Bolognese, countryside restaurant, I was surprised, when turning the corner in what was an unused salon, to be greeted by this assortment of objects. What’s a little Charlie Chaplin doing next to the strange, oversized head, and why the helmet on the table, and the toy car on the left, all of it, etc?

And when I turned around the rest of the space was almost as surreal as the head. Who knows what it all adds up to? Not much really. But the truth is that there is always something to see, even where you least expect it, and it is better to be prepared; as the old Zen warrior motto states, ‘expect nothing, be prepared for anything.’

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MAY 8, 2015

What We Know

The stairs up to the studio were almost always in a shadowed space, but in the spring of the year, for only a few weeks at most, a lozenge of light, or some days a tentacle, or a band, or fan, or spray, depending on the cloud cover or angle, slides down the wall and describes a new space in what is a familiar but often overlooked passage.

It points out how we can still be surprised by what we think we know.

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APRIL 22, 2015

Waiting

Inside a waiting room where Maggie had to go for an emergency eye exam we found ourselves in this crazy environment, wondering, ‘who designs these places?’ Who makes the choices for furniture, potted plants, chairs and tables? And does this place reflect some French “Eye” clinic sense of humor?

But what it really makes me think about is the untold zaniness of interiors everywhere, all just waiting to be photographed to reveal what 21st century style might be seen as in some future time. I guess as a photographer I am always looking for new opportunities to slice away at the time we live in because one never knows when some slight ‘aside’ can transform itself into a body of work of some merit. This kind of playful thinking has served me well over 50 years of shooting, and now, after having seen the fruits of that kind of work, I find myself still attracted to the surprising thought when it comes. The question I have now, at this late day in the game, is; do I follow it?

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