Tag Archives: Dusk

JULY 24, 2015

Surprise

We had gone to the seaside for a couple of days of play, and while we were waiting for dinner on the first evening I decided to make a photograph of Maggie. We walked out to a little patch of ground surrounded by pine trees, and while Maggie was standing there a loud CRAACKK sounded, and this huge branch came tumbling down right near where Maggie was standing.

As soon as she recovered from the surprise she began to do her old mime stuff with it, and began rolling it offstage like some huge elephant dung ball. She’s funny that girl.

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JUNE 14, 2015

Elemental

Some years ago I began a series called “The Elements,” in which I was trying to see if I could photograph the phenomena of the 4 elements without resorting to the conventions of traditional renaissance perspective where there was a horizon line and diminishing markers of distance. I asked myself, ‘can I photograph the simple fact of each of our 4 phenomena; Air, Water, Earth, Fire, in such a way as to make them the pure statement of the thing itself?’

I began looking at sky, sea, earth, etc and realized that this could be close to being the most familiar and boring photographs one could make. Dumb images of dirt? Still photographs of water in a pool or lake? But my thought was to make them BIG, really large scale, say 10 feet high by 12 or more feet long; and I did make some like that for a show in Germany, where they were well received and collected.

I continue to add to that body of work whenever something speaks to me. Here was a moment when the light was going, and a stream of buttermilk clouds slowly drifted into view, and I found myself in that frame of mind where studying the sky for a while was a purely pleasurable experience, and what could be a better stimulant than pleasure for making photographs?

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MAY 22, 2015

Moon Song

This is the old barn we live in Tuscany. I saw it every day during that first year and no matter what angle, or what time of day it was, the place kept on surprising me. It’s so interesting how many aspects any place can have. All you have to do is keep looking and the seeing of it quickens the blood.

This Quercia, or what the Italians call an Oak, seems fairly nondescript by day, but that evening it sang to me under the moon.

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MAY 7, 2015

What Catches the Eye

Who knows why any one stops any time, anywhere? Why this trough, which is probably a truck tire track, filled with rain water in a gravel-bedded parking area. But there it is, the puzzle that all photographers deal with all the time. Something catches the eye, with no rational reason for it. Maybe it was the color of the light as the day waned, which, when seen against the new green of the hills at that hour set off the slightly warmer feel of the gravel, or perhaps it was the piece of sky that made its poem in the trough, falling to earth in a way that made me pause. These are the mysteries of this remarkable medium that so many of us are in dialogue with, and that makes it is so compelling.

So the dialogue continues.

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APRIL 25, 2015

Gasp Reflex

A gloomy, early in the morning walk to the bakery, gave me one of many goodbye images of Bonnieux. I loved the little slivers of warm light pulsing out into the misty matin. Sometimes color is so barely there, yet it exerts all its slender force in the visualizing of the moment. It’s the thing that makes me gasp, and the gasp is what wakes me up. I say to myself, “isn’t that beautiful?” Or I stop, and dwell in the realization that so small a note can make me come to a halt and breathe it in and take something small but special away with me.

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Later in the day our friends Gianni and Giorgio, and a strange friend of Giorgio’s, who you’ll meet in another post I am sure, arrived to pack a truck full of our studio stuff, and our belongings. Their great good humor was as uplifting as the Tuscan spirit always is, and on a day that started so moodily, it was like beams of sunlight. They came for a few days to see our part of what was once Roman territory, a place that bears some special kind of harmony with our beloved part of Tuscany.

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March 29 – April 4, 20125

Say Yes!

Speeding south from Paris on a rain slashed day, the fields monotone, the light heavy, with occasional flashes of brilliance compared to the overall density. These glimmers seemed to be   of possible interest, since at 100 plus miles an hour they are visible and gone in a fraction of a second. And the camera can handle that, just barely under these condition, so I was watchful for these tinkling moments, and the way the power lines rise and fall in the window, and then, there it is!

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Back in Bonnieux Maggie visits a friend, an antique dealer, to pick something up, and while I’m waiting I watch the little theater that presents itself. It always pays to stay open to the chance that ordinary moments offer. First I saw the lovely quality of the light inside, and then how animated he was, so French, I thought, and then, a step to the left and the mirror added another dimension, and all the while I’m feeling myself smiling at the pure, simple pleasures any day can bring.

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For some reason when I saw this head in a local library it reminded me of the Gallic quality of the antique dealer in the image above. Not that it really looks like him, but that it played on my eye that way, and caused me to respond. In that way images accrue over time and have their own strange linkages later on in the editing process. It also made me aware of certain facial characteristics in that part of Provence. It’s not stereotypes that I see but heredity, and the  feeling that at one time the tribes of that part of southern France blended in a way that produced the look one sees there.

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After dinner we ventured out to be in the stillness of twilight. The fading of the day brings out tones and colors that the eye works hard to discern, but there are advantages to today’s technologies. The Leica has such a delicate system that the most subtle luminance can be described even at times when one might think, ‘I won’t be able to get this.’ But it’s not the case any longer and I find real pleasure in seeing into the oncoming darkness.

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I used to be critical of the kind of ‘design in mother nature’ images that popped us so easily, as if it was without merit to see something that was simply beautiful in and of itself. But I don’t feel that way after all these years of seeing. Sometimes the ‘thing itself’ is just there; complete and generous in the way nature and time have woven their strands and left remarks of simple beauty.

April 2

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Inside a church crypt, in a tiny roadside hamlet, we stumble into this subterranean thriller. Even without a sound in the space we heard the music

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When things get put together like this chance combo of car and bin, who can resist? Odd couples abound in life, and when a day brings me into this kind of encounter I always say Yes!

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FEBRUARY 12, 2015

Plain Sight

Serenity after chaos can make itself felt in various ways. And it is needed to rebalance ones state of mind. I found myself drawn to this humble photograph because of the expansive and yet ordinary characteristics it uses to hold me for a moment, not let me move on, and then to draw me in, to transform my resistance into a small smile of wonder at the recognition, once again, that the most we can do is to work with what we have at any given moment.

This is where I am. This is what I see. This is what the world looks like.

A kind of honest appreciation of the fact that the sublime is often hidden in plain sight.

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FEBRUARY 10/11, 2015

Gratitude

If there is one thing that 50 years of making photographs has taught me it is that every moment, no matter what it brings; joy, pleasure, sadness, pain, or the endless bounty of everything else we can feel, it passes as quickly as it came, and the continual renewal of every moment is all we can hope to be conscious of. It is the attachment to things, as if they were permanent, that gets us into trouble.

So, first of all, I am grateful beyond words for all the loving, supportive and generous comments that flowed to me and Maggie today after yesterday’s challenging times. Yes! It was shocking to be setup like that by a band of thieves (we later learned that it’s a honey trap, and that many other travelers have lost their belongings at this roadside attraction). And the Police do nothing about it, figuring, we guess, ‘tourists get what’s coming to them, traveling with all their precious possessions, and the cops know insurance companies will cover the loss, so why bother looking, and, it aids the local economy’. What a way to live!

But, back to your kindnesses. So many of you offered your thoughts about attachment, and our moment of loss, that it made us feel that there is hope when so many strangers offer this comfort so warmly. Maggie and I are already filling the space with new moments, new feelings, working through the lost items and memories, letting things go as we must, and painful as it is at moments, it is also becoming lighter to bear.

Maggie even said to me today, and she lost more intimate, meaningful treasures than my replaceable things, “I say a prayer for those who had to live lives that brought them to a place where they treat other humans like this”.

February 10,

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February 11,

A day of retreat from all the aches of yesterday. As I walked past this stone cap at the end of a flight of stairs it took hold of me and made me pay attention. It made me step out of my inwardness and take in the vast, almost cosmic map quality of this humble stone in which mould, and fissures, and weathering, have made the surface dance the universal dance. As if stars exploded and atoms were splitting, and planetary movements were being etched by time on a glass plate negative. And perhaps that is what time has done to this stone. Simply left its marks while the stone aged.

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FEBRUARY 6, 2015

Under The Rainbow

I was in the car on the way to Barcelona airport, and as always had my camera at the ready. The day became a day of ‘from the car’ photographs because after I landed in Marseilles I was back in a car on my way to Bonnieux.

That part of the trip was a ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ experience because, as I entered the Luberon valley, the weather, moving fast behind a passing storm, exploded with rainbows, which appeared around every bend in the road. Rainbows are a little like shooting ducks in a barrel since you can hardly ever miss, but at 60 miles per hour the rainbow, and what it is seen in relation to, makes for a challenging set of conditions.

I love shooting from the car because there is a purity to the gesture of reaching for the image. The image is what it is, and I accept it with all its shortcomings, flaws, crazy tilts, fragmentary bits and pieces which fall in wherever they do, and in a way they refresh my seeing and remind me to stay open to the suggestive impulsive side of photography.

By the time I arrived home the sky, darkening then, flared up one last time in pure symphonic crescendo, and then went dark.

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FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Light

Dear friends invited us for lunch. They are amazing antiques dealers whose eye for objects, furnishings, spaces, color tones, and the essential feel of a place, is incredibly satisfying. Whenever we visit with them in Bonnieux, in the apartment and studios they own and rent there, (by the way, if you are ever yearning for a vacation rental…) we feel immediately at home. You know that rare feeling too, I am sure, because it isn’t easily found when traveling. So when you come upon it, you get its message fast.

To enter their sun filled rooms, in a building that is hundreds of years old, and to see lunch being prepared, and flowers spilling color and energy over the table; the light reaching across surfaces, spilling down to the floor, sliding up the walls and then ricocheting off all of them, making a luminous sphere out of the rectangle of space. Light is our most expressive asset. Photographically speaking it is the source of what first wakes me up and lets me know I am being touched by a photographic possibility. I read the light. I trust what it is signaling to me, the now of it.

Even at its most humble light calls me out.

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