Tag Archives: Interior

AUGUST 31, 2015

Life is Sweet

This was a day of generosity. In a nearby small town I came across this beautiful bunting wrapped, church doorway. No doubt ready for a procession for a saint’s day, or a wedding, or who knows what festive event the town was making, but it made me happy just looking at the way the space was redefined by some simple fabric hanging on the facade.

Then, returning home, a bounty of offerings appeared; Silvia came by with a cake she just baked, then her mother-in-law stopped by with some fresh ricotta she had made from the new sheep they recently bought, then a man from Buonconvento, on the way to his sister’s place, stopped by to bring us a box of figs from his amazingly productive tree. All that, and some eggplants from the garden, which I roasted and turned into baba ganouj became a summer dinner. And a still life, and a portrait of a building. You work with what you have.

Life is sweet!

08-31 Church L1032826

08-31 Still life L1032877

 

 

AUGUST 18, 2015

Self Portrait

I was walking through the living room when this slash of light caught my attention. It dissolved the wall in a way that made the mirror’s rectangle, and the space within it, part of the graphic energy of the place, with the doorways and windows behind. And there I was; looking into the image and suddenly a self portrait suggested itself.

I don’t make a lot of self portraits, or I haven’t for many years, and seeing myself there, on the first year of living in Europe, I sensed that it was time to record who I was at that moment, and perhaps make more of them now and then so that at this age, (75) I could watch myself in the process of aging, just to see how it all turns out.

08-18 Joel L1032526

 

 

AUGUST 17, 2015

Ciro

August is the time of year, it seems, when friends passing through Tuscany make their way to your door. In popped Ciro, now in our life for 20 years! That in itself is amazing! When we started our Tuscany Photography and Writing Workshops here in 1995 he was our first assistant  along with his buddy, Giorgio, and we have stayed in each others lives all this time. It’s been great to see their work grow, watch them flounder around with girl friends, marriages that come and go, children being born, new work being created and new risks taken, and at the same time watch them grow older, like our own children are doing. It’s real life!

08-17 Ciro L1032513

AUGUST 16, 2015

Awkward Frame

Maggie’s closest friend here, Luana, stopped by for a chat, and when I stood with them for a moment listening to their back and forth, I saw how even in an unglamorous setting, one with harsh lighting, plus the awkward frame of the doorway, a ‘moment’ could still be found where something interesting, in this case a gesture, could be read as strange, or at least visually intriguing. And then Maggie’s hand shooting into the edge of the frame suddenly gave me the impulse to shoot.

Of course Luana is something to see all on her own, a combination of a real, earthy, country woman, with an Italian movie star. So even if she is telling Maggie,”….I have this pain here…” it still provides an interesting, open ended moment.

08-16-Luana L1032482

AUGUST 13, 2015

Dissonance

There are 2 kinds of light; natural and man made, and often we find ourselves in the presence of both but fail to consider the photographic possibilities that their dissonance presents. I’ve been looking at this phenomenon for 40 years now, ever since I started using the large format camera in 1976, and I am always pleased to take a few moments to look hard and see the ways in which the color temperatures of the light play against each other. There always seems to be a photograph out there.

08-13 Light L1032407

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 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.

08-7 Pip L1032199 copy

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.

08-3- Shelves L1032108 copy

 

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