Sunday, January 31, 2010

Couple at Margate

I remember my excitement at seeing this couple. The contrasts between them: thin and fat, stylish and traditional, angular and roundness. He so nonchalant and she wanting to play. The couple lived in the North of England and had been coming south to Margate every year for twenty-five years.

A man and his greyhound

When nobody could have told you where Benidorm or Palma were, this was the place where happy holidaymakers in England came to sun themselves (or rather shiver) on the beach in late Victorian and Edwardian times - Scarborough, Northumberland. This was taken in 1980 long after the English any longer took holidays in England. But there, perched on the cliff, is where you would have stayed one hundred years ago. Is it still standing?

In this photograph all six legs, by chance, are off the ground. In the same way, also by chance, all four legs are off the ground in the photograph of the horse, posted on October 25th, 2009. I remember in this photograph, setting the focus on a 28mm lens to about 10 ft and keeping the dog and its owner that distance away from me.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brooklyn Barbaque

Firm stance

You can't ask people to stand around while you fiddle about with camera settings when it is 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Dogs don't seem to mind so much especially when there is a person there feeding him treats. This is Nicholas's dog Louis who we have adopted while he works from his snowboard keeping things shipshape on the mountain in Okemo, Vermont for the winter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rainer Fetting

In a comment about my photograph of Roald Dahl (posted December 3, 2009), Heather recently asked me if I would say what was the most flattering and the most offensive remark made to me when a subject saw the picture I had taken of them. Here is my answer:

I liked the German painter Rainer Fetting's comment on seeing his picture. "Some kind of sexy," he said. Or from Stanley Kubrick on the set of "Dr. Strangelove" after I had been there a few hours taking pictures of him for a magazine, he asked me if I would like to work for him. He had not actually seen any of my photographs but said, "You seem to stand in the right place."

Then the withering ones: "The carapace of an aging turtle - sub Avedon," from the British actor Dirk Bogarde. On second thoughts this is not actually offensive, just a description from a good writer.

Offensive? What about this from the writer William Styron? "I do not care for the photograph." (Now in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian.)
But the most offensive answer I have received to a request to photograph somebody was made at a London tennis club in the mid seventies when I asked John McEnroe if I could photograph him. He replied, "What's in it for me?" I don't think McEnroe is like that now. (Except he is still funny.) I am a great fan of his commentating and playing.

Dirk Bogarde

See above for commentary.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Waiting out the winter

In the summer we live out here from seven in the evening until we have eaten and drunk enough. I put up lights that reflect off the surrounding trees and the pale yellow walls of the house. The logs act as tables for plates, glasses and bottles. The chairs are wintering in the garage. Had to use a very small aperture, f/22, to get the depth of focus, so I put the camera on a tripod and held an umbrella over it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Young man with basketball

I thought, what is he wearing? Is it a uniform? What a hat! Sometimes I am so happy that the subject allows me to photograph them that I forget to ask.

Tarot reader

The sisters-in-law took it in turns to do the Tarot readings from a portable table and chairs on the corner of Bedford Avenue and North 5th Street in Williamsburg. Whilst one read the other hustled. She liked our dog Louis and asked if we would like a reading done for him.

Breukelen Coffee House owners

I spotted this couple in the window of the Breukelen Coffee House in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. When they told me they owned the place I thought the more time they spent sitting in the window the better their chances of survival.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hands on Hips 3

I heard that Mary swam the Hudson River annually to raise money for schools. The event was over for the year but she agreed to come out in her swimsuit one Sunday morning to have her portrait done. It was November. She even got into the water but this shot was my favourite.

At first she smiled and struck a pose not far from a nineteen-fifties pin-up. But as I struggled with balancing myself on the rocks, and tried to find a place to plant the tripod legs firmly between them, I noticed she was just simply standing there while she waited. I said, "Please, don't move from how you are."

Hands on Hips 2

Mike had a garage and parking lot across the street from our loft on Lafayette Street, New York. We used to watch him from our window on the ninth floor as he parked the cars. One day I went down to the street with my camera and asked him if I could take his picture. As usual with busy people they always have time.

Hands on Hips 1

The Cold Spring restaurant, Riverview, is run by Jimmy. Actually it's a partnership with his wife.This woman is Jimmy's mother. He is a man who has inherited his mother's strength and presence. When I saw her as I walked by she was gardening with her grand-daughter. But I knew at once that I must take her alone. She planted her feet astride, put her hands on her hips and said, "Like this?" I said, "Exactly like that."