May 18, 2013
I remember when the Salvation Army had that warehouse in Hell’s Kitchen, way over by the water, and honey over here had the fake Visa cards. He was generous and rather stylish so good times were had by all for two months during the Fall of 19 Ninety Four. That was the season of Salsoul classics on cd, dance your ass off in the apartment before heading on out to Factory. And while once upon a time I had been wearing Timberlands, Levis, and crop tops, after I had seen Nadja Auermann on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar getting her dragon, her drag on, honey child I had never seen such glamour for all my life and I was—
enraptured, enamored, enthralled, entranced—I was en too deep and it was just me diving into a pool of turquoise shimmering aqua du jour only no, it was not, it was stumbling drunk into Barneys back when it was on Eighteenth, a shelter from the darkening skies that came earlier and earlier each day. And I had to, I needed color like nothing ever before I was, yes, I was and I had to have it like give it to me and it was electric pink and neon orange glosses from the Prescriptives counter like my candy store like the best place on earth, and I slid those precious liquids across my lips and slipping and sliding wild, wet and wild colors like my 80s dreams and I was blonde, was I blonde? Mmaybe not. But I was up in stilettos and baubles from Coco Canal and that was back when dudes had there wares spread out on sheets along the streets like Twenty-Third and Sixth, and we’d be walking along when a marvelous belt called me out my name: Girl take me home and I’ll dance along your hips all night and day and night. Whatchu say, baby girl?
I took it home and my closet was most grateful for the times I’d take it out and make it twirl. I think—but I am not sure—I was wearing it that day back in Two Thou, summer was it, and I was in Chicago, yes, I was and there I had been, staying on the campus of that school not knowing a single person or where to get food so I took it to the streets. And it was all big hair, big curls, and a fingerwave around my hairline, and it was me floating along like a butterfly in a grey jersey Margiela skirt that dusted the pavement as I swept along. And a black tank top, really more a muscle shirt, and it had long sleeves that I snapped off and It sat like black canvas, a simple sheath, a satiny shield along my chest and yes there it was my faux Chanel belt belly dancing as I strolled down the street.
Mighta been distinct, obvious, oblivious, I could be. It’s rather yes so I pay it no nevermind and when honey rolled up all on me, I had the strangest feeling things were playing out from a script I had not yet read like the days pages from Another World back when it was on NBC. He was stringy, stringbean, white boy with a British accent, and he had been up, up like Dracula haunting the night, and the eightball was gone and now he, could he bum a smoke, and I said, “Take me to get something to eat.”
And so we proceeded, well he proceeded to lead me and I was pleased, see how helpful men will be, and me he took me to this little boulangerie that had seats in the piazza outside a red brick church with white accents that gave it a birthday cake kinda vibe. And we sat there, him telling me how he had some weed and we should get up after I get done with me day and I’m smiling saying, Suuuure maybe, sounding like I don’t know just yet, but you know I never had any intention of checking honey ever again.
But why ruin his day? It had just begun, and he sat there smoking my cigarettes, eating nothing, smoking away, and the day would just begin and it would become nothing so much as a vague haze of beige in my memory, lots of white folk, lots of books that were handmade, making the book something of a craft, reminding me of where it all began, right, like I was ten and I—
had decided it was time. I would write this book, a collection of short stories about Mr. Crocodile, who had this B&B, and all the characters that came and went, went and came, and I decided to illustrate it with colored pencils. It was done on looseleaf paper. And the covers were made of cardboard, which I then wrapped in sea blue tissue paper, and I drew the title real big: THE HOTEL IN SOUTHHAMPTON on it, and I bound it with gold pushpins that ate away at the tissue paper.
I had it for awhile, and then like everything else ~ bon voyage. And I sent it to wherever these things go, maybe a portal through another dimension. But it’s always happening, whether I know it or not, and it occurs to me that means there are countless opportunities to jump frequencies, vibe from one dimension and the next, go across time and space and be this vibe, this vibration, this feeling, this energy, this source, this voice whispering in my ear and I smile like oo you know, and you do and thas what makes it worth alla every thing in the end.
The End, it’s true.
May 17, 2013
Photography records what we forget, offering a map back into the past into lives we would never otherwise know, if not for the camera to record their existence. We are all anonymous, until we are not. We keep records to prevent the inevitable erasure as time slips through our grasp. We are fortunate not only that the photographer was there to record what was, but that historians exist today to dig through the rubble of time and unearth the forgotten.
Nostalgia: The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II, Captured in Color Photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (Die Gestalten Verlag) takes us back to the turn of the twentieth century, during the final years before the final days of an empire that spanned several centuries. Prokudin-Gorskii was a pioneer of photography in Russia, and a pioneer in color photography itself. As Dr. Stelle Blasche writes in the book’s introduction, “Very little has been written about his life history. Like so many of the artists and architects of pre-revolutionary Russia, he has been forgotten, leaving a blank space in photography that remains to this day.”
With the publication of Nostalgia, we are treated to a long-overdue retrospective of the artist’s work, a story of so many lives that would be changed forever in a matter of a decade’s time. Prokudin-Gorskii studied chemistry in Russia before traveling to Berlin and Paris to learn about chemistry, photomechanics, and spectral analysis. He returned to Russia in 1901 to study color photography in a country where the medium of photography itself was little known. Driven to compete with the developments in Western Europe and the USA, Prokudin-Gorskii presented his work to the Imperial Technical Society with the aim of garnering financial support for his project. By 1908, he had reached Czar Nicholas II, presenting color projections of photographs that included a portrait of celebrated author Lev Tolstoi.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 16, 2013
For life is the best thing we have in this existence.
And if we should desire to believe in something, it should be a beacon within.
This beacon being the sun, sea, and sky, our children, our work, our companions
and, most simply put, the embodiment of love.
Vowels are the most illuminated letters in the alphabet.
Vowels are the colors and souls of poetry and speech.
The French poet, Rimbaud, predicted that the next great crop of writers would be women.
He was the first guy who ever made a big women’s liberation statement,
saying that when women release themselves from the long servitude of men
they’re really gonna gush. New rhythms, new poetries, new horrors, new beauties.
And I believe in that completely.
In art and dream may you proceed with abandon.
In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.
For nothing is more precious than the life force
and may the love of that force guide you as you go.
Where does it all lead? What will become of us?
These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed.
It leads to each other. We become ourselves.
Quotes by Patti Smith
Artwork by Lady Aiko
May 16, 2013
Books and photographs. Photographs and books. The historical record reflects the times as they were lived by those who were there. And here we are, some four decades later, reflecting on punk as it first came up on the streets of New York, along the Bowery, at CBGBs, a mélange of artists, performers, and personalities making for great photography, for stories that are shared and collected, for memories rediscovered and truths being told. For those who were there, and those who missed it, Just Chaos! takes us back to a time and a place where you damn sure better do it yourself, cause if you don’t ain’t no one else.
In the windows and intimate niches of BookMarc, New York, now through May 23, Roberta Bayley has installed selections from 13 photographers of the era:, many which have not been seen before this exhibition. Featuring the work of Bayley, Janette Beckman, Stephanie Chernikowski, Lee Black Childers, Danny Fields, Godlis, Julia Gorton, Bobby Grossman, Bob Gruen, Laura Levine, Eileen Polk, Marcia Resnick, Chris Stein, and Joe Stevens, the photographs featured here are curated with an eye towards style, inspired by the energy of the era as it manifested in the world at that time. “It’s all based in poverty,” Bayley reflects. Everything was D.I.Y., do it yourself.
Fashion, music, style, photography—all of it came as an expression of the truth: after the hippie movement sparked, it became mainstream and lost its edge. Punk came out of that void, all claws and fangs and guitar strings, spikes and torn clothes. It was street, strung out and sexy. It was the artist as anti-hero, a Romantic poem at the end of the second millennium AD. It was about the absolutes of individualism, of speaking your own voice and saying F the system.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 13, 2013
We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us
something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.
Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight
or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
Quotes by e.e. cummings
Photographs by Landon Nordeman
May 13, 2013
I ain’t been here long but I been coming and going all my life. Worked here for a couple of years too, as Dumbo became Monaco, a city-state, a country in this brave new world. Since I been out here, I’ve seen things change. But it’s like the rest of this city: the Imperialists came.
They call it gentrification but it has older, more familiar word. Colonization. Been going on for centuries, and we know how it look. Whitewash. You know how they do. It’s the way of the world. Ain’t no stoppinn this thang they call “progress” and they tell us, they sell us, they make movies and shows and call it “history.” But, I mean, that’s not the only way it’s gotta be…
Thank God for photography. For the artists and the musicians and the writers and the poets who take us back to yesterday. I can’t be that person who complains, who be talkinn bout “back in the days” no how—I mean, I caught quite a bit of it, and whatever I missed, they got photos and stories and books and I—
am grateful to be here, now, today. Yesterday, I was walking along Fulton Mall for the way things used to be. It is what it is. It was what it was. If you caught it, cool. If you missed it, well, there’s always The New York Times…
May 10, 2013
“In a world of con men there is nothing lower than a publicist,” The New Yorker wrote in 1944, harkening back to the days when the Fourth Estate was populated by flacks and hacks. But the more things change, the more they remain the same, particularly now, when the artist as brand has been unwittingly elevated to the international stage.
Adam Nelson, Founder of WORKHOUSE, an arts-based publicity firm operating in New York City that was instituted in 1999. Workhouse has represented photographers David LaChapelle, Albert Watson, Roxanne Lowitt, Nigel Parry, Pamela Hanson, David Drebin, Oberto Gili, Billy Name, Bob Gruen, Jean Paul Goude, Patrick McMullan, and the Horst P. Horst estate; galleries including Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Staley Wise Gallery, Photographers Limited Editions, Symbolic Gallery, and Rubin Museum of Art; and publishing houses Rizzoli, teNeues, Random House, Skira, Universe, and Assouline Editions to name a few. In each case, the agency was tasked with putting the fine art images or photographic books in the forefront of public consciousness.
How is it done? The publicist’s trick is to make it appear effortless, as though waving a wand and—POOF—a New York Times feature magically materializes above the fold. But the hard truth is, publicity is a thankless job. In a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, the publicist must continuously produce news and innovative results.
Nelson reveals the tricks of the trade in his new book, Art Pimp: Tales of FlimFlam, Fixes, and Fornication, which has just launched on Kickstarter. The book is one part personal history, one part primer centered upon the art of the fix. It details the way in which publicists work to engineer iconography for the media and the public alike.
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 10, 2013
Twelve by twelve inches. A cardboard slipcase for a twelve-inch album. Vinyl. The way it all began. When turntables were the way music was orchestrated in the era of mass reproduction. And so it was, and it had been, that the photograph was part of that experience, the sleeve being the perfect place upon which to project, a veritable canvas, a movie screen, a silent and simple place for a single image upon which to consider the songs recorded on A and B sides. And once upon a time, not so long ago, the music pressed was a thing to behold unto itself, perhaps the height of the era being the jazz albums that had been produced.
Jazz Covers I and II by Joaquim Paulo with editor Julius Wiedemann (Taschen) Is an impressive compendium, taking us back to the way it was, when you could gaze upon the photograph, the way in which the artist designed to complement the energy of the album, each cover design being a distinct in the way it sets the tone through the visual iconography of the creative director, who integrated the image into a larger frame, using line, text, and form to produce a visual rhythm all its own.
Read the Full Review at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 9, 2013
White on White on White on White. I didn’t even mean to write any of that, but the words came tumblinn out after I looked—but could not find—a scan of the photograph I’m wanting to write about. So I hear Malevich in my head, Russians chanting in tongues and paint brushes stroking along reminding me of the Invisible Man, but that’s another story, for another time.
This one is begins, last night, speaking two men in from Mexico City, and they’re looking at the photographs on the wall, lined one after another after another in rows, becoming a lyrical poem, an ode, a sonnet of Shakespearean proportions only it’s all in photographs. Still images flickering at eye height. One after another, each like chocolates on a candy box and you think but you don’t know and you feel and you ask so I go, I flow into a reverie, the way it happened to me, it’s like poetry and I’m on stage and I like it like this because it’s natural, I hear the words and I am charged to write or to speak and if I could sang, lawdamercy but no, best I can do is dance .. but thas an aside.
Back to my point of alla this is yes, it was a photograph. I drew pictures in the spaces between the words, stringing along a little song that never spilled its secrets. Felt like it was a trailer, a preview, a fan dance, smoke and mirrors, except at one point i said something or other, and I saw the men draw their collective breaths ~
And oo ahh, success, yes it was mine, I could taste it, and I had forgotten how it had been only it had never been as good as this. Yes so I told them, how I heard the words, “Pull up a chair and sit down” as I felt myself like Alice going through the looking glass and standing at the kitchen door, and it was my moment, but still the story spun gold from my lips and I continued on, never finishing but I circle back to that photograph, and then I turn around, and there it is, right behind me on the wall, punctuating my sentence like an exclamation point.
And it’s this, of course. Of how it shall be, that you cannot see, but it is always there when you look ~*~
May 8, 2013
Let’s bring it back to the BX. That’s where it began, and where it is today. I don’t know any other way to say it but the Bronx is never bothered, especially in this city. Stay doing it’s thing, never following nobody. So yea, here we are, 40 YEARS after Zulu Nation began, and I once again have the great pleasure of speaking with my sister, Rokafella, on the art and soul of the world from which we come, as we spin round once more, Full Circle style.
On May 17 at 8pm, Full Circle Productions will host a complete evening of dance, theater, poetry, and music as performed by past and present core members at BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance in Hunts Point. Having been to several shows over the years, believe you me, when Rok posts up in Facebook today: “I will be rocking with LIVE musicians.. so you can best believe you will get up and dance with us!!!!!!! Bring a towel–for your forehead lol..”
Girl! Now I got C+C Music Factory running through mahh head.
I have the great pleasure of speaking with Rokafella about her life and her work, and undoubtedly I’ll be in the house May 17. Gonn make me sweat. No doubt bout that ..
Miss Rosen: Talk to me about what it means to rep the Bronx round the world, then come on home to perform in Hunts Point for the people. #patriotism
Rokafella: It always feels like its harder to please my hometown when I perform. Most of the shows I do in NYC are live and so most people rather go see a movie or stay home to watch TV, so you see the challenge of getting the community to go out of their comfort zone is a tough one.
Yet once they are in the theater or club they usually are very excited and impressed with my latest performance so I know I can touch hearts. The Bronx is still very rough and yet happy to be left to do its own thing. It doesn’t bother us that our apartments are not listed in any online apartment search sites or that people are not really trying to move in either since we mostly have family filled neighborhoods anyway. We have our own cycles of exodus and influx. But I will admit some of the new buildings and Walgreens look nice—oh and all the bank/ATM’s are good too cuz they save us the trip to Manhattan.
The South Bronx has redeemed itself from the indignity of being subject to “benign neglect” as the government let it burn to the ground. And yet in 2013, it is the poorest congressional district in entire the United States. It stands in stark contrast to Manhattan, which ain’t nothing like the city we from. Please talk about what you think it is that gives the Bronx its resilience and power.
As I said whatever the ethnic dominance of a neighborhood, they always bringing in the cousins, aunts or grandparents to the hood so there are always new people related to the ones already here that have grown used to how it works here so we replenish the vacancies rather quickly.
Unfortunately that also usually means they bring their hometown social norms and philosophies here so that is why there is a delay in getting with the modern-ness of NYC’s other boroughs. But its ok cuz who really wants to switch up completely?
It is good to be reminded of how it is in our countries so we don’t get deluded into thinking we are so high and mighty. it sometimes feels like we all acknowledge that we are all frustrated and going thru hard times so why hurt each other more. Only desperate people under the influence of drugs whether doing or selling damage each other… everyone else is just trying to get thru another day.
Like the land it was born, Hip Hop has transformed. And yet, there is no way to shake the foundation, which is what keeps me hooked. “I do realize Hip Hop is now a form of showbiz but this is something with which you have to be true.” That just came on as I was typing this question and honey is talking about 1992. So there it is. We four decades in. Please talk about what it is to keep close to the roots, and how this feeds you as an artist.
Breakdance will always be a very complicated dance genre. We stay on the floor and yet rise to meet people’s expectation of impressiveness. We do not learn it in a studio yet are always asked to teach in dance academies and universities that we could never afford to attend ourselves.
We were that original movement that gripped every young person alive in the 80s yet everyone except Europe and Asia dropped it so fast once the media said it wasn’t cool. Breakers still can travel the world to places where they don’t speak the language yet receive brotherly/sisterly treatment.
There has not been any dance created after the 80s that rivaled that powerful fusion of African and Latin American evolution that promoted non violence yet encouraged competitive aggression. Breakdance easily lends itself to show business yet finds it hard to sell its soul since how can you sell something that takes a lifetime to excel at and that requires true knowledge of its history.
People still think it is about the 80s yet Breaking is big worldwide! You are in control of how your style will stand out, yet you have to comply to the fundamentals in the very beginning of your study. I do many styles of dance yet this one I have particular love for since it helped me prove myself as a woman that has intelligence, physical and creative strength. Breaking not only jump started the Hip-hop culture movement but it resurrected it in the mid-late 90s to remember the elements and stay true.
The underground could not exist today were it not for how Breaking proved you didn’t need the industry to survive. Society has always had two faces since humans do too.. so there will be schemers and those who earn their keep. Hip-hop is no exception. You have to see which one resonates with you.
I earn my stripes.. Adidas stripes.
Dance. Body Language. Storytelling. Choreography. The Stage. All of these things set me aflame. You live the life and I salute you, mujer, cause this ishh ain’t easy.
“Someone said to hell with the fight, aight, I’m through. It’s not what our ancestors did for you. So we inherit their strength and go the length.”
Where does you dedication, above all, come from? How does it feed you, teach you, and inspire you to give back to the land where it all began, to this generation and the next. Much love. Much respect.
My parents worked real hard once they got to this country. They faced so much resistance because they found it hard to conform to American culture. They held onto their culture and they hoped I would get farther.
I didn’t, not in a financial way. But through this dance, I have proved that we—conquered/colonized people—are closer to nature and far more joyful with out the weight of material possessions.
Breakers aren’t wealthy yet we inherit the earth. My longtime husband and best friend Kwikstep kept breaking even when nobody cared to see it.. that type of defiance made me want to jump in and hold the torch as well. He reminded me of my parent’s solid footing.
I feel very successful because after all I have been through, I can still use my talents to move mountains while others live a life believing they are powerless. I am not perfect yet when I dance people don’t see my gap tooth smile or short stature or impossibly curly hair etc etc.. they only see the fruits of hard work and passion. They can feel it.
I try to share the stage and the spotlight as much as I can with my students and peers. People need to SEE someone making it happen so they can be motivated to create possibilities in their world. That is what inspires me to always take it back cuz there may be someone who is in doubt cuz they don’t see any options. You CAN give up, but you still have to wake up to the next day cuz life goes on and so does the beat. So I just stay creative and trust that the next chapter is going to be great.
Come Rock With Us
May 8, 2013
We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth
at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know
the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.
Photographs by Stephen Mallon
Quotes by Pablo Piccaso
May 7, 2013
Summer is just about here. I know this because as soon as I publish this post, I’m going to hit tar beach, lay out in the sun, and soak up that good old Vitamin D. I’ve been thinking of summer as the full flush of rebirth, of a kind of freedom that comes from the completion of a cycle when it hits its heights. It is a time when we can be most alive, as Nature and the Universe intend us to be. It is a an energy that we feel when open the window and let the sun shine in. I was reminded of all of this as I perused Angela Boatwright’s website, newly relaunched and conceptualized as chapters from the pages of her life.
Miss Boatwright has graciously agreed to vibe with me on the work she has created for the pages of Summer, a few photographs featured here—and you best believe there is more where this came from!
Summer. It’s the season of full bloom, of when life is at its most alive, and the re is a freedom we feel to live out loud. Please talk about what summer means to you, about how it makes you feel…
I love the ability to go anywhere without a jacket, honestly. When I lived in NYC it would get so incredibly humid – you would go outside and see people barely wearing anything at all. I loved it. And everyone from everywhere would come to NYC in the summertime to visit. New York is the absolute best in the summer. The best.
Your Summer series is captivating. There is a feeling of energy, a vibrancy, a luxuriousness that I cannot fully articulate. Please talk about your inspiration to shoot this series. Where did it come from? What moves you to pursue it as a subject? How do you articulate this with these images?
The images were taken over a period of about 3 years. During that time I was honestly just hellbent on hanging out with my friends. I was working a lot but my friends were my priority, hands down. I would follow them around and do whatever they did, it was almost co-dependent. I absolutely adore every single person in those images. And we partied quite a bit and then at some point I quit drinking so the camera became my vice.
Miss Rosen: Where and when were these images shot? How does the time and place speak to your idea of Summer itself ?
Angela Boatwright: They were photographed between 2005 and 2008, mostly. A few shots were taken in 2011 and 2012. As for locations, I’ll flip through them right now – let’s see… ahh, there’s a lot of NYC/ Brooklyn and Rhode Island. There’s also Los Angeles, Connecticut, Albany and one shot taken in Orlando, Florida.
Summer to me is fairly obvious – swimming, camping, hanging out. Beer, too. Cigarettes and weed for some. I went to Rhode Island so, so many times during those years. And all those Rhode Island kids, they’re water babies so there was a lot of swimming and cliff jumping. And skateboarders are always free-spirited, photographing them is just so easy and fun. I can dissect it all in hindsight but again at the time I was just following my friends. I used the camera as a way to get to know them better. Everyone I photographed – I thought they were so incredibly cool in one way or another. I still do.
The photographs in this series appear to be of teens and young adults, those who have perhaps the greatest freedom of summer—two months off ! Please speak to this age, about how you were drawn to it, and how do you think it, itself, is a manifestation of Summer’s energy.
I didn’t come up with the idea to photograph summertime beforehand. It was simply what I was doing at the time. When I was putting together images for my website I came up with the title ‘Summer’ to showcase all of that particular work. And it’s very appropriate!
If I were to analyze it now I would say that I desperately needed to understand the concept of ‘freedom’ and was therefore attracted to the people in my life that could afford it. I was having a hard time un-crossing all the live wires left over from my adolescence. And while I was photographing the ‘Summer’ series I was also documenting heavy metal bands on tour, all over the world. It’s only in the past year or so that I’ve started to settle down, so to speak.
I love talking about photography, about the ephemeral made eternal, about three dimensions flattened into two, about how we are becoming an increasingly visually literate society. Please talk about the way in which the photograph preserves the moment, perhaps not only preserving it but translating it into something that is at once a mirror of the world and a new means to consider it.
Personally, it’s hard for me to actively think about my work while I’m creating it, it’s probably that way for many artists, so I need to trust my gut. Preparation is key but once I begin I get completely k-holed into my experience. You do need perspective and a general understanding of what’s happening around you. If you can combine raw emotion with that perspective and a basic understanding of your surroundings then you’re really onto something.
Visit ANGELA BOATWRIGHT
May 7, 2013
Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting.
The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.
People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live
because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.
I never fall apart, because I never fall together.
They always say time changes things,
but you actually have to change them yourself.
Photographs by Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen
Quotes by Andy Warhol
May 7, 2013
“The dress is the last thing that goes into the photograph. It must be like it was already there somehow. The photographs are of real families, realistic situations. It is not the fabulous, perfect, rich, pretty, successful—this is not contemporary. That is 90s, 80s, for the galloping economy. GREY makes sense today. It is younger, fresher, up to date,” Valentina Ilardi Martin says of her vision for Grey Magazine, a sumptuous compendium of fashion photography, fiction and poetry that has been published in a hardcover periodical every spring and every fall since 2009 and features photographers including Martin Parr, Nan Goldin, Sarah Moon, among many more.
The photograph comes first for Ilardi Martin, whose native Roman passion for the grandeur of everyday beauty belies each story produced in the book. She is nothing if not a womanist by nature, honoring the power and influence of the female mind, body, and heart.
She explains, “I wish to educate people on how to improve their dressing habits, what to choose to buy for the next season, how to style it with their own wardrobe and how to wear it for the best result. Every styling seen in GREY magazine is meant to be analyzed from the viewer and eventually reworked on an individual base. It’s meant to be an example that can be modified or adapted as a realistic suggestion for the upcoming season. I am not interested in a bizarre appearance. GREY is a magazine for a real, contemporary woman.
”When I plan a fashion shoot I start with the choice of the photographer. The idea will be constructed around his style, which at GREY is very precise and recognizable. I tend to keep the same contributors when possible to strengthen our visual direction. I choose photographers who are already GREY. Deborah Turbeville, Erwin Olaf, Todd Hido—they all have different styles while keeping a very defined identity and a very correct approach towards the woman. I like photographers who can understand emotions and portray the subject in front of them for what it really is. We show a great woman as an inspiration, we know them as human beings, not just as subjects for photographs. In accordance with the photographer we develop the story, the location, the casting. Sometimes the subject comes first, sometimes the place.It depends on many factors, mainly inspiration. When everything is in place, then, we think about the ideal clothes, the appearance, hair, makeup, mood. Only then. My aim and focus is now to bring to the reader something they can relate to, accept, love and be driven to, something they’ll try to emulate, because that is a selection of real, amazing, nowadays situations.”
Read the Full Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
May 6, 2013
It was two summers ago: 2011, to be exact, when I first saw the photograph. It was an image of an older woman laying in bed, her hand reaching forward and clasping the hand of the photographer.
With one hand he managed to take the photograph while being in part of the image itself. The intensity of the image, the skill it took, to the power that transcends the moment, it drew me close. I could feel her hand clasping my own and somehow I was drawn into the photograph like Alice through the looking glass.
And so it began. But I did not know. Where it would go, for the circle has no beginning or no end once we set forth. The photograph remained in my memory. It’s effect could not be forgotten, undone. Months later that I re-approached photographer Eric Johnson about writing a story about his grandmother, Mrs. Idell Marshall, for Le Journal de la Photographie.
I didn’t know what or why; I just needed to know more. My curiosity can be insatiable and journalism is nothing if not a license to ask questions that polite society might otherwise ignore. To ask questions is to express interest. To listen and to learn and to consider from where the fascination stems and what truths can be discerned.
And so it was that we began to talk, and as we spoke, stories began to surface. From the depths, they came alive. Little by little, from memories that had receded into the distance, things untold. Justice to be served. Truth to be spoke. It began in death, as so many things do, only this was not death as I had thought death was, but a revolution too.
The completion of a circle as it spins round, the snake eating its tail, no beginning and no ending but it is here that I entered and I—
—saw it. Heard it. And I knew.
“Pull up a chair and sit down,” the voice told me as I looked through the doorway at the kitchen table. I was inside the photograph, here, in this space. I was returning to from whence I came: Books. That’s all it has ever been.
It had been years, long enough to forget. Long enough to remember that I never thought of making a book again. Never thought of it until it called to me: “Pull up a chair and sit down.”
“Eric! This is a book!” I gasped through a hazy glow of rose.
Eric is cool. He smiled and said, “Okay.”
And so it began.
Just like that. In his grandmother’s last days, Eric stood before her with a camera. She, who never liked being photographed, became so powerful she transcended the planes of reality. Three dimensions into two and then back into three. Through time and space, she called to me. Maybe not to me, specifically, but I cannot help but listen when I hear things.
It began a year ago. Photographs and stories and stories and photographs were like puzzle pieces without a cover image. It began because it never ended and there was work to be done. And there was no intention, except love and respect, patience and trust. Patience as I have never known. Trust in being able to not know, being able to listen.. to the space in between the words.. so that I could begin to write them down. And, now, one year later, the circle turns once more.
We come to this. By way of faith. By way of belief. By way of an understanding for which there are no words but in the photograph, the spirit remains. Forever eternal. Forevermore. Grandmother Power. Power as the dictionary defines it first and foremost: the ability to act or to produce an effect.
Transcendence is beyond the rational, as well it should be. Transcendence is not a thing of the mind but the connection to a higher plane. It speaks through the soul, and it is heard in the heart, and finally, ohh finally, it reverberates in words that give it physical form. But it is not physical, nor rational; it is beyond our ability to comprehend through logic. It is meaning without reason and it calls to me and to it I answer and dedicate my life to it.
To this. To something I cannot full express. But it begins with gratitude for each and every breath. For the darkness that has brought me into the light. For Eric Johnson, Mrs. Idell Marshall, and the entire clan.
And for Paola Gianturco whose commitment to the magnificence of the female spirit I honor with these words. Grandmother Power. I thank you.
Read Eric Johnson’s Story at
Le Journal de la Photographie
More about Grandmother Power,
the inspiration for this post