Tag Archives: Objects

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015


I have to admit that the death of my brother has thrown me. Add to that my long return flight to Italy, and jet lag, the arrival of guests tomorrow, and my need to go ‘On Press’ early in the week, and I can see that the time needed to really devote myself to thinking, posting and writing over the next few days, will be tough to find.

So I’d like to put up a suite of days to give me some breathing room.

9-19  Dear friends arrive with baby Chayton.

09-19 Ember L1000913

9-20  Gianni brought this character to stand guard.

09-20 Object L1000934

9-21  Chayton and Pasta form a lasting relationship.

09-21 Chayton L1000968

9-22  An older woman slipped on the moss in the old Roman hot springs. But was OK.

09-23 Fall L1001091

9-23  Our dear workshop cook, Lisena, made a homey Italian family dinner for all of us.

09-24 Family L1001187




Most of this still life work has been made in the dark or near dark of my studio, but when I saw a slice of light falling through a crack in the covered skylight – a change in the season allowed the sun to be there for 5 minutes – striking this talismanic figure ,I sensed that I should spend some time seeing where it would take me. It was only then that I saw the marking on the box behind the figure, which for some reason seemed to read as a falling figure, the kind one would see in a painting by Bosch, and then of course I couldn’t look at the box without seeing it that way.

How often does that happen? Something is right there but it remains invisible until the right combination of elements makes it visible, and then a fresh start is possible.

09-2 Still Life L1002785



Being Taken In

I found myself neglecting to show some of the still lives I had been making at the same time as I was making outside images. This strange collection of forms below had been up in the teatrino for days, moving themselves around into different groupings. The organic shape (a smoke bush’s flowers which had dried and became this aggregate mass of delicate twiggy forms) and for some reason seemed to want to appear with the grey shapes I was working with then. These connections come so suddenly, on instinct, that I tend not to resist and just let myself be taken in by them to see what comes of it.

09-1 still life L1002739


APRIL 13, 2015


I went to  some antique fairs during my time in Provence and found myself drawn to these odd forms and sizes. It’s something I don’t really understand very well since I never was a ‘collector’ of things. I have so many photographs from my 50 years of shooting that I never wanted to have ‘things’,  but now that I started making still lives I am surprised by what I find fascinating.

I created a little stage for them to behave on.  I am not really interested in making beautiful arrangements of forms and then lighting them so that each object is a thing of beauty in and of itself; unlike the way that much of the history of the still life plays out.

I like the oddness and the used-up quality of these things whose function, in some cases, is hard to guess. And I had the feeling that my years on the street would tell me what I needed to know in order to play with these new characters. In fact, thinking of them and responding to them from that point of view, as characters, would be the way this new work would develop. We’ll see what happens over time.

04-13 L1001038.

MARCH 16, 2015

The Bride and Her Suitors

A funny thing happened when I went back to the dressmaker’s dummy and some my objects after a day or so away. As i said, I’m not really a still life guy so my approach to it is something I am discovering as I go, and the strangest ideas pop into my head as I study the things arrayed on the set. While I was moving these objects around – and I wish I could figure out how to make a little flip book of the moves to share with you –  because it’s interesting to watch the objects seem to move, like a stop motion film capturing all the little, incremental, steps they take. In a way it’s like animation, really.

While I was moving the pieces a thought floated up from nowhere, which was; these pieces around the dummy feel like ‘suitors’ in a fairy tale, and the dummy was the “Bride”. Now where did that come from? But as soon as it came to me I could no longer put it back in its box, and so my process kept on entertaining that notion and storyline. As I moved each object into the “suitors” stance each of them seemed to have a particular attitude; shy, bold, deferential, arrogant, stupid, clumsy, etc. I felt a little like a Disney animator casting my characters by their shapes and size, and then attributing other qualities to them. And the game became so entrancing that time just flew by.

Finally, the least of them all – the rusted and deformed exhaust pipe from a tractor – which I found in a field, came to bow before the Bride, and there it was! I had a feeling, what else can I call it! It seemed to fulfill those old Grimm’s Fairy Tale stories where the poor cobbler’s son presents himself before the royals and wins the day with his humility, or bravery, or other characteristics that show the other suitors to be the phonies they are.

Now where this came from I have no idea. But I went with it, and trusted that I was meant to see it this way.

03-16 L1000820