Sunday, March 28, 2010

Woman with straight hair

Today I launched a redesigned website with this picture on the contact page. The URL of the new site is the same as before:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Woman at a party

I cannot remember the occasion that I took this picture. It was almost certainly a wedding or a dance somewhere in England in the 1970s where glasses were constantly refilled, and that this woman had an unusually un-English face. I also wonder if curly hair was the fashion then or her own statement.

I remember that it was taken on Ilford 800 ISO HPS film with
a Leica. 800 ISO was comparatively high speed for those days and HPS had excellent grain structure and shadow detail.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Kiki Smith

The interesting bits of New York then - Lower East Side, Soho, Tribeca - had no door bells. Neither were there cell phones, so you either shouted or rang from a pay phone. I can't remember which I did but I remember that that was the easiest part of taking the picture.

I remember being silently furious because I saw at once the picture I wanted to take. In a flash it was destroyed by Ms. Smith tidying up her unmade bed that she had plonked herself down on after greeting me. I said, "Don't do a thing." But she did. She straightened everything out.

After that, I sulked about wondering what to do, and landed up with this.

One of my regular commentators on this blog is a great fan of Ms. Smith's (especially now, for reasons she might disclose, that my friend is considering branching out into the performance art world). I think I would like this post to be a joint effort. "Please Heather, tell us what you have to say."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Boys in outsized jackets

Couple number one. Bleak day in Newburgh - two boys with no hands, owing to jackets being larger than they were, but, they kept warm. Taken late in the afternoon on our way home.

Bulgarian and Russian partygoers

Couple number two. Leaving a party given by the Russian Department at Vassar College I saw this couple and asked them to stand under the street light. I believe the Bulgarian young woman attended Vassar, but her Russian friend was not quite sure why he was there.

Milton and Nina

Couple number three. Narrowly missing them as we charged down 7th Avenue in Park Slope, hauled along by our dog on the scent of another, the man thought Caroline was an actress acquaintance of his. She wasn't, but they agreed to a picture, minding rather that I squeezed them into a corner of the entrance to a building to remove their faces from the direct sunlight. "There?" he protested, "That's rather ugly isn't it?"," pointing to the door.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Young man in scarf

He told us that the photograph pinned to his hoodie was of a buddy who passed away recently.

Kentile Floors sign

We passed the sign on the way to brunch at Bar Tano. As impressive as it was I did not want to photograph it because the detail of the light toned brick in the building was distracting. Later, returning from a stroll around Park Slope the building was in shadow. The shadows come from the elevated portion of the F and G trains that crosses the Gowanus Canal.

(History lesson: The canal was too deep for a tunnel to be built under it.

Bar Tano

Tano Bar Saturday brunch. One superb waiter not able to cope with the unexpected crowd calls proprietress for help but first she must feed her children and children's friends. Within two minutes she had her sleeves rolled up, apron on, clearing tables and taking orders. Lovely place and v. tasty sandwiches.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

William Empson in a dressing gown

He answered the door dressed like this. I said, "Please come into the garden, stay as you are, I love what you are wearing." (Writers, and others, like to be rid of photographers as quickly as possible so he also got what he wanted.) American English and English English, so different. Dressing gown? Robe?

Sid Caesar in a robe

"He's in the pool," I was told. "Go on through; you'll find him." I stood at the edge of the pool and waived at the figure treading water. "Would you mind waiting inside, I don't have anything on." He swam for another ten minutes while I put up a light and then appeared in his robe. I said that I thought he looked just right as he was.

CJ in his Sunday best

A regular churchgoer and resident of Newburgh, NY in one of his Sunday suits. He has thirteen children and opened the conversation with my wife Caroline by saying, "I knew a Caroline once."

He runs a barber's shop not far from where we stood.