Sunday, February 21, 2010

Man from Jamaica

Shot twice in the stomach in a drive by shooting in Minnesota. "Just standing there on the sidewalk as we are now." We are in Newburgh, NY. where many, including him, have told me the same thing. "The poor are not looked after; the money comes in for us but we seldom see it." He worked in construction but never recovered enough to continue after the shooting.

His father wanted him to go to England with him when times were very bad in Jamaica, but he said no as he heard it was cold there. "And look where I landed up."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jonathan Winters

Jonathan Winters said he'd like me to collect him from his house in North Hollywood and drive him to my Holiday Inn where I had pinned a piece of gray paper to the wall of a suite and put up a light. My assistant stood in for a test shot (recorded on Polaroid) so that we'd be ready on my return.

When I got to the house Mr. Winters answered the door wearing a dark blue blazer and an English schoolboy cap (the one worn by virtually every English schoolboy from the late 19th century up until the 1960s.) He showed me into a room where hundreds of hats of different kinds hung on the walls. He tried many of them on and an hour later we were satisfied with the English school cap, a tam o'shanta, together with a silver topped ebony cane, and a stetson.

On the run back to the hotel Mr Winters sat in silence bolt upright in his seat with his hands in his lap. Suddenly I heard a police siren. I looked in my mirror but saw nothing. Then a second later I realized what it was. The inspired Mr. Winters had begun an imaginary commentary between myself and a policeman who had pulled me over for speeding. Brilliantly he seized the contrast between the rough LA cop and the staid Englishman. His perfect mimicry of the two accents had me in helpless laughter.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Canal lift operator

His name was Charlie and he operated the Anderton Boat Lift. He was brought up on a barge on the canal where his father operated the lift before him. He had pneumonia three times because of the damp, he said. The lift provides a 50 feet vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal in north-west England.

The picture was taken on the best colour film Kodak ever made: Kodachrome II, the sharpest, the most natural saturated colours under any lighting conditions, and you could expose it for half an hour and it wouldn't change colour.
This is a recent scan from the original.

James Biederman

Difficult to find looks that the camera likes as much as his. James Biederman, artist; sorely missed by many in Garrison. He went to Williamsburg and found a job as artist in residence at UNC Pembroke.

Upstate street party

Sometimes I go to events that I have a particular dislike for; a place I would never go to or a function I would never attend. Street parties and barbecues are on this list. But there are people at these events, and you never know where you are going to find subjects.

Carroll Gardens barbecue

I handed the camera to Caroline because I was sitting to her right and did not have such a good view of the tired girl against the pillar as she had. I whispered, "Put the camera to your eye and press the shutter, just press it gently, don't jerk it."

Museum lovers

A place to put your feet up, have a decent sandwich and argue about the exhibits: the café at the National Gallery, Washington, DC. So absorbed with the business in hand was this couple, they would not have noticed a film crew, leave alone a photographer with a small camera. I stopped for a couple of seconds as I past them, and in case they had half an eye open, took the shot from waist level.