Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two straight knees - one bent knee

They didn't seem to know where they were going. She wears her bag as armor. He travels light, perfectly trimmed hair and side whiskers are enough. All I had to do was to hold my camera more or less vertical at my waist and technology did the rest: accurate focus and exposure.

A picture of indecision. A Saturday of
unenjoyment on Bedford Avenue.

Solemn moment

More that Nikon shutters are as smooth as silk than my hand rock steady, but I believe that this photograph was taken at 1/5th of a second. Diner is a marvelous place where the waitress sits or crouches at your table and reels off the menu from memory and writes it at the same time on the paper tablecloth. Wine, (Julianénas out of a ten litre box, yes box, decanted into litre bottles) pasta and chocolate cake, out of this world. And a couple, heads together, her hand holding his ear. Why? Maybe just trying to concentrate on who owes what for the dinner.

Envious moment

I dug this out of the files: the bar at the Bolshoi, Moscow, 1980. The place much more brightly lit than Diner so no camera shake troubles, this time with a Leica. In this picture I want to know what the passing man is thinking as he watches the couple about to gobble up their glasses of champagne. Or is it the girl he's looking at?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Roberta's best

There is as much to say about Roberta's where this girl works as there is to say about her. Roberta's, for me, has the best pizza in Brooklyn (crisp crust and simple fillings), the best prices, the most pleasant staff and the atmosphere of a place where you feel you will be missing something if you did not go there regularly. The people who run it grow food for the restaurant in greenhouses on their roof. They also have a radio station.

This girl is Bushwick exotic: tattoos, beads, short skirts, lots of color and friendliness,
plus much knowledge of where good food can be found in Brooklyn. We missed her the other night when we went. She liked the doorway and lent against it in this languid way without any prompting from me.

Woman sitting with one shoe off

As I walked by I said "Don't move you look wonderful like that." Immediately she moved - people almost invariably do. You have to say it very quietly and slowly, if possible accompanied by a gentle gesture that implies: "Stop". She put the can of beer down farther enough away, she thought, not to be in the picture. She returned to her pose and forgot, possibly, about her only wearing one shoe.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lion and gazelle

They walked past us on Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg. I leaped on them, and a few yards from where we were I saw a possible background. They followed me and it was done.

Hungry girl with chipped fingernails

It was hot, dusty and noisy. Three friends were sheltering in the shade of the overhead tracks of the F and G train on 9th Street near the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. They were waiting for the shuttle bus to take them to Ikea. At first the girl wanted to get rid of the cake and drink, but I said no, they were essential to the picture and told her how terrific she looked holding them.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman had become well known around this time for her film still series. I asked her what she was doing now and she said that she had spent the last six months watching television. Just anything, soap operas, anything. But she was going to get down to some work soon.

Barbara Kruger

Ms. Kruger showed us into her studio, and asked us to sit down. She sat in a place round the table which was in shadow. I could see a spot a few feet from where we sat where the light was good. I asked her if we could do the picture there but she wouldn't budge. I explained that her face was in shadow. "That's alright," she said. I tried to explain that really it wasn't alright, and that the light was very good in the spot that I had pointed out. I would then take three frames and be gone. No, she would not stand there. I then asked Cathy, my daughter, to stand there and said, "Please look, doesn't she look good?" "Yes, she does." I took my three frames and we departed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Outside Fairway

If I find a subject as we arrive at Fairway, it gets me out of helping with the shopping. Here is a young woman on her break from Fairway checkout with her friend's arm.

Baker at Bakeri

I did him standing, sitting, straight on, and in profile, full length and close up. This was the one though, sitting, behind the fence, finishing his cigarette.

We were looking for bread, but Con Ed had not yet put in enough electricity for the ovens. Caroline was not , however, going to leave without a brownie. Delicious, she said.

Leopard hug

We're talking to Carly (see July 5th and June 9th posting) in Goodbye Blue Monday and this lovely girl with a glowing complexion and tattooed forearm, plonks herself down on a stool and beams at us out of the gloom. She's followed soon by her friend who beams at us too. (Most of the beaming directed at Nicholas who was with us last weekend.)

I think they are both there to help keep the place running smoothly, a bit of waitressing and clearing up etc. Although the whole atmosphere of the place during the day seems more like home to the people there, with Carly doing the work of coffee making and keeping in touch with Matthew,
the manager, by cellphone, as to the comings and goings. (See posting June 9th.)