Tuesday, January 8, 2019

 Happy New Year to all. A Japanese anemone with rue, lady's mantle, Artemisia and bronze fennel.
Betsy and Marshall took us to dinner at the Riverview in Cold Spring, a place that has been unfailingly good for the almost 30 years we have known it. Betsy's son Aden and his friend Jordan were also there. I was immediately struck by their looks and a few days later photographed them. They took seriously my interest in them as a subject. They were patient, phone-less and tireless.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Close friends on Liberty Sytreet

What drew me to Newburgh in the first place was the beauty of the people and the remnants of the fine architectural heritage.


Caroline came home one day having seen a photograph of an unusual 13 year-old. She also had an unusual name—Lilith. Not long after, we traveled north and I photographed her. Her mother wanted to cut her hair but her daughter would not hear of it.

Lilith's aunt made her skirt and I took the picture against the window of a barn that they are going to renovate for a studio. Lilith is a pianist. She recently played at her cousin's wedding. She draws and paints and loves to read books. "Books equal life," she told her mother. And on a visit to a local university it was the library she wanted to see most.

              Portrait by Lilith of her mother. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

"Newburgh: Beauty and Tragedy" screening at Atlas Studios in Newburgh

Twenty-two years ago I crossed the Hudson River from my home in Garrison, NY and drove into Newburgh for the first time.All around me were very young, very beautiful men and women. I asked a shirtless youth if I might take his picture.”No,” he said, “and I should get back into your car and go home.

I tried again a few days later and never had another serious rebuff. I had everything going for me, I thought, I speak funny and I am too old to be a cop.”

Newburgh is the once prosperous city, renowned for its industrial output and resplendent Victorian architecture. Beginning in the early 1960 the markets fell away, urban renewal came and 1,300 buidings were destroyed but never rebuilt. Newburgh has had many false starts to rebuild and restore the city.

Today, sixty-five years on, the city is still a place of crumbling buildings, crime and violence. Will this present city government succeed where all the others have failed? In 2012 a book of my portraits was published, together with an exhibition of mural size prints on the wall of the Ritz theater. (It is still up.)

Then came the film. After listening to stories of imprisonment, teenage parenthood, drug addiction, unemployment, poverty, violence and corruption I began on my own to record encounters with citizens in the street.

The film is an essay. It is a one sided account of the life of the residents of downtown Newburgh. The film offers no conclusions, no tales of redemption or magic solutions to unemployment, and Newburgh's future is left hanging. No one in authority, either in the police or government, is given a speaking part in this film. This was deliberate, I wanted to hear and see only the people I was drawn to.

There is Toni Rose, a single mother with three children. Now 33, she tells us how Newburgh is becoming a place only for those with money. All that is being done to reshape Newburgh, she believes, is to benefit newcomers who can afford the rapidly rising rents.
“Nobody cares about us. We’re nothing to them,” she says, referring to the city councilors and landlords.

I came across subjects and opinions in unexpected and obscure places.  I was assisted by a crew of three local, young people, whom I took on as paid apprentices and instructed them in camera and sound techniques. No professional crew was employed.

Some of my original portraits are blended into the film. Many unstated events and feelings come out through these portraits. There is an underlying sadness in the film but also great beauty, warmth, grace and hope.

Newburgh: Beauty and Tragedy                                        
A film directed by Dmitri Kasterine
Produced by Caroline Kasterine

Website which includes trailer: www.newburghbeautyandtragedy.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Firm friends

A loving couple I met by chance one day when I was visiting my friend Purvis at his store
Hip Hop Heaven on Liberty Street in Newburgh, NY. They spoke so gently about having known each other for a long time.

Newburgh: Beauty and Tragedy screening

The screening of my film Newburgh: Beauty and Tragedy will be held on November 3rd in
Atlas Studios, 11 Spring Street, Newburgh, NY 12550 at 6:00 p.m. Admission free.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Jean Anouilh

As I am stuck over whom or what to photograph at the moment I have been looking through my old pictures and posting anything that catches my eye. Depending on your age and interest in the theater you may know who this man is. Others will assume that he is a homeless man sitting on a wall. This is not likely when I tell you it was taken in Lausanne, Switzerland in the mid 1970 when, as now, I believe, the homelessness in Lausanne is negligible.

I do remember though being driven mad by the woman journalist I was with for babbling non stop all day. I could stand it no longer at dinner after the shoot and told her so. She was quite put out and complained about me to a close mutual friend when we got back to England. He asked her how we got on. She said I was no fun at all and, "Why wouldn't he go to a night club with me?"   

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Martin and Kingsley Amis, writers

I arrived, I took the photograph, and I left. So often that happened. Taking somebody's picture seldom constitutes an introduction or meeting them. When a friend asks, "Oh, did you meet them?" I understand what they mean and reply, "No, I went there and I photographed them."

If you are asked to stay for a drink I guess you can then say you met them.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Ballet Student, Newburgh, NY

No need to make this into black and white. Took a little yellow out and... no this blog is not going to become a technical bore. Sometimes I don't know what to say about a picture so I am tempted to write something technical. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

An armful at Botanica, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY

A waitress at Botanica, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY, our favourite bar. We haven't been there for ages only because it is a trek from Garrison, NY. Is it still as wonderful? With the owner (still?), Daniel Preston involved with manufacturing drones for commercial use, and distilling chocolate and cacao-laced rum and liqueurs, does he find time to see that it runs like it did when he was there every night? We must visit again although I know we shall miss his shining mind if he is not there.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Couple on Liberty St , Newburgh, NY

There are times when I can't look at another color photograph. We are at this moment drowning in color photography. Here was another and I thought God save us from it. God did—via the Photoshop life jacket. I feel like converting everything to B&W, even corny old sepia would be alright. This lovely couple deserve not to be the center of a rant about the horrors of present day color photography but gorgeous color is stifling us and we have forgotten the importance of the subject. Look at Lewis Hine, look at Clifford Coffin.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cathy and Ari, NYC, 1987

This is a Polaroid I did of my daughter Cathy and Ari Marcopoulos in 1988 at our studio on Lafayette Street, NYC. Ari was briefly my assistant. He came to me after he was fired by Irving Penn for talking too much. I found the same trouble but he was very good company. I think he just left me one day to start being a photographer himself but we remained close friends. Around this time he did me a very good turn. He'd dropped by one day and I asked if he would like to stay for dinner, but he said that he couldn't, he was meeting someone. Caroline, now my wife, was also there and Ari said, "Why don't you ask her? If I were you I wouldn't turn down a meal cooked by Dmitri."

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Goats on Broadway

Lydia DesRoche trains dogs, rabbits, rats and now goats. The goats will appear in a new Broadway production opening in mid-November.

Here she is with Peapod and Sparky. Peapod is an Oberhasli goat and Sparkey is an Oberhasli/Toggenburg cross. Lydia is training them to walk on stage on cue and to behave themselves in front of lights and an audience. In order for them to get used to crowds she asks her friends to visit her during the daily training sessions in Putnam Valley, NY. and plays the music from the show on her iPhone during the session. They will travel daily to and fro from their home in Putnam Valley to the theater in a comfortably fitted out truck that suits their star status.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

290 Liberty Street — gone

Last week this house on Liberty Street in Newburgh, NY was demolished. Nobody wanted it so the city moved in with bulldozers and wrecking balls. Good dentists save teeth, good city governments save houses and this was a prize nineteenth century town house. For 20 years I have heard talk in the streets of Newburgh, at city council meetings and at meetings of special interest groups, that tourism is Newburgh's future. But all that will be offered for a tourist to look at will be gaping holes or condominiums if things continue like this. And there is no sign that it won't.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gardening in the shade. Caroline's corner garden

I wanted to make a garden where there is almost no soil and only two hours of sun a day. I remembered Lanning Roper, the American writer and renowned gardener, living in London in the 60s and 70s who made a garden just from plants in pots. I have tried to do the same, keeping the plants to those that thrive in the shade. This is the third year. I have named it Caroline's Garden and as she likes flowers I am trying to find more of them that will thrive in this corner. On the left, below the hosta, is a Japanese anemone that is growing well.

The drawback is that in order to save the pots from cracking in the winter, you have to wrap each pot in two layers of bubble wrap which is a tedious job and then you have to look at the plastic shrouded pots all winter which is an eyesore.  Otherwise you can bring them into a greenhouse and keep them above freezing, but no higher than 40 °F because they must rest. If the financial gods are with us in the autumn that is what we will do.

Bella Pollen, writer

Three things you do not expect at a book party: superb food and drink, speeches lasting less than five minutes, (and only two of them), and plenty of places to sit and talk to people. All this happened at Bella Pollen's book party to celebrate her sixth book, a very entertaining memoir with illustrations called Meet Me in the In-Between. 

Though, perhaps the least likely fact about the evening might be that I had only met the author once before. And that was in 1983, the year I took this photograph of her in London.    

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sir Freddie Laker honored

The photograph on the fin of this aircraft is of Sir Freddie Laker, pioneer of cheap transatlantic airfares in the mid 1970s. Norwegian Air are now trying to do the same thing. I took the picture of Sir Freddie in 1980. Actually, this one below is the one I like best, but Sir Freddie's son Freddie Jr. preferred the smiling one. (My choice would not have fitted the fin either.)

The story goes further. I was a second officer pilot for Sir Freddie's company Air Charter from 1956 to 1960s, before I became a full time photographer in 1961. We flew Avro Tudors, a British piston-engined aircraft, descendant of the famous Lancaster WW 11 bomber, to Woomera, Australia, loaded with parts for the Jindivik target aircraft. The Jindivik is the aboriginal word for 'The Hunted One'. At that time the British were testing their rockets in the desert around Woomera.

Often we had delays on these trips mainly due to engine trouble. For me this was welcome because I found the trips exhausting and the delays also gave me time to take photographs in Instanbul, Aden and Karachi, Cocos Keeling Islands and Singapore. Cruising at an airspeed of 200 knots, we flew un-pressurized at 10,000 feet, (the pressurizing equipment and cabin insulation had been removed to increase payload capacity).

Some of the captains I flew with were ex-RAF WW11 bomber pilots who thought nothing of flying through bad weather, or working hours that were within the law but did not take into account cumulative fatigue as the journey wore on. Neither were they at all concerned about taking off on too short a runway, fully laden, as was the case in Colombo, Ceylon, as it was then called. They enjoyed pulling out the severed tops of palm trees from the wheel bays after we had landed at our next destination. Sir Freddie had a very loyal following from the Captains who did all they could to save him time and money.           


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tribute to a beautifully mannered man

For some reason, in the late 1980s, and for somebody, GQ I believe, I was sent to Atlantic City to photograph Don Rickles in Atlantic City. Oh, Lord! I thought.

I got there and waited in a large empty room. I asked for a small table, a chair and a cushion. After some time in walked a very smartly dressed, smallish man, who politely said good evening to me and my assistant and asked where he should put himself.

I placed the cushion on the floor by the chair and asked him to kneel on the cushion and place his  hands on the chair. With a smile he did exactly as I asked him and I took the photograph. He got up and said that he had not been asked to do that before, shook hands with us both, and disappeared. He left a very favourable impression on me.  

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Things seen in photographs during a second look.

She was with a group of friends who were chatting and fooling about on the corner of First and Dubois in Newburgh, NY, and I wanted to photograph her. It would be no good asking her because they would all want to be done. Instead, I first photographed everybody in the group so that I could then ask Eden if I could photograph her alone. She agreed.

Looking at the picture later, I thought, no, at the time I took the photograph, I did not see how neatly her bag fitted under her arm, or, that the position of her sagging belt buckle is ambiguous, or how the sagging buckle exposes the small ribbon bow tied at her waist — a masterly piece of styling. All I noticed was her face as she stood quietly with her friends.