Wednesday, September 30, 2009

autoportrait: willy ronis

willy ronis, autoportrait, 1951.© willy ronis, rapho eyedea via

i love willy ronis' self-portrait.
is it me, or is his shoe on the wrong foot?

i hadn't heard of mr. ronis, until i read of his passing in the new york times. but the images he's captured are very recognizable. there's definitely a population of new york girls, of a certain age (mine), before email ruled the way we wooed, that has wishfully penned a ronis postcard or two (or absent the nerve to send it, taped it to a wall or mirror somewhere in her apartment).

le petit parisien. 1952.

les amoureux de la bastille. 1957.

ah, those were the days...


i appreciate his inspiration and his intent:

“It is my contemporaries who most interest me, ordinary people with ordinary lives,” he told The New York Times in 2005, when a retrospective of his work at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris was drawing enormous crowds. “I have never sought out the extraordinary or the scoop. I looked at what complemented my life. The beauty of the ordinary was always the source of my greatest emotions.”

“I never took a mean photo,” he told The Associated Press in 2005. “I never wanted to make people look ridiculous. I always had a lot of respect for the people I photographed.”

link to the full nytimes piece here...

and a very nice video, via france 24....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a way of seeing...

helen levitt
new york, c.1939
i visited a museum with a cousin of mine (i can't quite remember which one--museum, that is) but i do remember the distinct moment she strolled through one of the galleries, barely looking at what was on the walls and said plainly that photography didn't do much for her.
she didn't appreciate it on the level of "art."

i didn't really pursue this with her--seemed to me, like any art, photography moves you or it doesn't. but it stung me that an entire discipline could be so easily dismissed. i also didn't have the language to defend it, and i was disappointed with myself on that score.

recently, i interviewed a comedian, who is also a photography enthusiast, and i asked him a very basic, but perhaps unkind question. the kind of question he's either been dying for someone to ask, or that he's been avoiding: what is it that you love about taking photos?

he told me it was a legitimate question, but tough, and that he'd get back to me a couple of days. i was on a deadline, so it turned out i wasn't going to be able to pursue this with him. i was disappointed, but completely understood. how do you explain photography? the things you see and feel that compel you? for some of us, if you haven't been forced to articulate it, and you care to get it "right," it doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

last night, i was reading the introduction that james agee wrote for helen levitt's collection of lyrical photographs, a way of seeing. and he gives me some of language that i've been looking for, speaks to some of the questions and feeling i've been trying to sort through, and offers much else to consider. if you are so inclined...

here are a few snippets:

"In every other art which draws directly on the actual world, the actual is transformed by the artist's creative intelligence, into a new and different kind of reality: aesthetic reality. In the kind of photography we are talking about here, the actual is not at all transformed; it is reflected and recorded, within the limits of the camera, with all possible accuracy. The artist's task is not to alter the world as the eye sees it into a world of aesthetic reality, but to perceive the aesthetic reality within the actual world, and to make an undisturbed and faithful record of the instant in which this movement of creativeness achieves its most expressive crystallization...

It would be mistaken to suppose that any of the best photography is come at by intellection; it is, like all art, essentially the result of an intuitive process, drawing on all that the artist is rather than on anything he thinks, far less theorizes about.

Almost no photographer whose work is preeminently worth looking at has managed to produce more than a small fraction of the work he was capable of, and the work, as a rule, has remained virtually unknown except to a few friends and fellow artists. This is true to a great extent, of course, of artists who work in any field. Yet distinctions, standards, and assumptions exist and have existed for centuries which guarantee a good poet or painter or composer an audience, if generally a small one; and these are not yet formed in relation to photographs..."

read the full essay here...

Monday, September 28, 2009

music (tuesday)

daru oda, via her myspace page...

i want to go to a bar and listen to a little live music.

i haven't heard live music at all this year--not one show! i was on a nice little tear last year (the feelies, sondre lerche, lani hall, shelby lynne, sondre lerche, she and him, sondre lerche) and had to pass on a couple of good ones this year (m ward at the apollo, maude maggart). i feel the need to get back.

i will be heading down to the rockwood music hall tomorrow night to check out daru oda's set is at 11pm. i heard her perform a few years ago with her pals, norah jones and sasha dobson ("the sloppy joannes"). she played bass and sang mostly backup/harmony (and did so beautifully. you can hear her singing lead, though, on hawaiian love song. bad video quality, but you get the gist). to be honest, i'm not loving the solo tracks that i've heard on her myspace page, but i am hopeful things get kick-ier at the hall. the dred scott trio goes on at midnite, and if i'm also feeling kicky, i may stay for that.

if you're similarly in the mood tomorrow night, or another, here's a link to the rockwood site.
and if you have better ideas, please do send them along.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

shoot (me)

at the armando corral salon in the meatpacking district...
hope they will be happy with the (other) photos....

worth noting?

brooklyn. may 23, 2009.

thought for the day...

photo by erstwhile model and jewelry designer, michele quan (need i mention that i've been a fan of hers, for just about ever?) . via
and thank you to my sister for sending the link my way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PIYM: lumberjack flapjacks...

thinking about making pancakes from scratch this weekend? seems like a nice way to start the fall season (aka, football season), no? cold mornings, warm kitchen...

jess has a
new recipe and video for "lumberjack day," and even though accuweather is telling me the weekend will be a little summery here in nyc, i may try it out. i am a hungry girl these days. we ate the stack that jess made for the shoot--they were substantial, yet light, and a touch sweet. we ate them cold (!), with real butter and some exceedingly tart pomegranate syrup, the kind of tart that sends you a-wincing. the contrast (inspired purely by and for the photo shoot) is the right idea. but i'm sure a more traditional pairing, with a sea of maple syrup (and a side of crisp bacon) will be very good, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

see a fine picture: simon roberts

camel estuary. padstow, cornwall. 2008.
photo via klompching gallery.

devil's dyke. south downs, east sussex. 2008.
photo via klompching gallery.

salcombe sands.devon. 2008.
photo via klompching gallery.

i will have to head out dumbo way, to see simon roberts' photographs at the klompching gallery. the thumbnails on the site are a pretty introduction, but i want to see the details and feel the effect of these in their proper, large format.

if you're interested in seeing them too, the show will run through october 24.

the klompching gallery
111 front street, suite 206
brooklyn, nyc 11201
gallery hours: wednesday — saturday, 11am—6pm


more about simon roberts via
his site...
more images from his "we english" portfolio here

Friday, September 18, 2009

court couture...

i picked up the october issue of vogue today, because of the michelle williams cover story and layout. love her style, top to toe. and i love her new 'do.

i was happy to also find a photo spread featuring a favorite tennis player of mine, monfils, photographed by none other than arthur elgort.

i actually don't love this idea--why is monfils wearing tennis garb, when she's in couture? he'd look great in slim-cut frenchy 3-piece. but he photographs nicely.

i like anna wintour about as much as i like roger federer, but i will say that her friendship with federer does have its benefits. the monfils spread represents, i believe, the 4th feature/spread in 5 months to include a top tennis player. starting with rafa in june (photographed by bruce weber)...

a classic bruce weber photo...
this is a little too gatsby for my taste

this too, but i was happy to see both...

and then in august, ana ivanovic! (bonus: article quotes mfw, and his is the big pull quote in the print edition.)
photographed by norman jean roy

and then federer in the hyped september issue, and monfils this month.

tsonga and wozniacki are bound to make it in there soon. here's hoping, anyway.

extra, extra: rafa behind the scenes video

weekend watch: bored to death

photo via

programming note for this weekend: bored to death premieres on sunday, september 20, at 9:30 pm. the series stars jason schwartzman, zach galifianakis, and ted danson...but look forward to appearances by parker posey (love her, party girl), heather burns (am i allowed to still love her from you've got mail?), kristen wiig, oliver platt (am i still allowed to love him from the west wing?), and olivia thirlby.

friend, film snob, and commissioner of the only fantasy league i belong to (premier league they kick you out for being so consistently in last place?)--richard short--is guest- starring in the first episode as "vincent."

if you are like me and are HBO-free, you can download the episode (gratis!) on itunes.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

visual acoustics: the modernism of julius shulman


walking up sixth avenue to the office today, i started thinking about a radio program on kcrw that i fell in love with over the summer: DnA: Design and Architecture, hosted by frances anderton. i have a crazy nostalgic love for los angeles (not ever as a place to live, but as a place to visit) and every so often, i'll listen to LA radio, just to amplify my daydreams.

there was a recent podcast dedicated to the life and work of julius shulman, who passed away this summer at the age of 98. i've listened to it more than a few times, i admire his work so much. a few of his books (a constructed view, photographing architecture and interiors, modernism rediscovered) have been on my wish list for too long.

anyway, so i had it in mind that i'd listen to a little DnA today, maybe bring a little LA sunshine into this grey new york day. and then i received the news about the us theatrical release of the documentary, visual acoustics: the modernism of julius shulman. this is a must see for me.

it will open ny on october 9, at cinema village. in la on october 16, at the nuart theatre.

more cities and dates, here.

check out the trailer and the podcast. perhaps you will be inspired to see it, too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

us open rewind: labor day, on the grounds

kuznetsova on the practice courts...

i didn't recognize her right away. she's a little blonder that i thought...

i recognized hot sauce in a hot second...

(and venus in the background).

tsonga, in action in the grandstand. i forgot how much fun it can be to scramble around for a seat in this arena.

after an afternoon of watching from the promenade, it was good to see shots hit from this vantage point...

tsonga defeated his countryman, julien benneteau, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4.

party in your mouth...

one of the projects i've been working on in recent weeks is finally live. "party in your mouth" is an online food program hosted by jessica hullett; each of these short, themed segments is accompanied by recipes...i take the still food shots that you'll see on the recipe page and in the videos.

this particular segment was conceived to coincide with the season premiere of gossip girl (which i don't actually watch). but i can vouch that the waldorf salad cups are excellent-- great crunch from the nuts, celery and endive, with refreshing pops of juicy sweetness from the apples and grapes. and it's not too creamy, which is key for me...

also excellent: the horseradish-chive sauce. but i don't recommend it for date night. at least not a first date. but i do recommend it.

here is the premiere video: mmm red velvet cupcakes...i think we're pushing to have two segments live per week. i will likely post new ones from time to time... if you're interested, you can also become a fan on facebook, or follow the show via twitter...

"party in your mouth" is a phoebeworks production...

us open rewind: labor day in the promenade

nadal's loss to juan martin del potro yesterday in the semifinals took the steam out of my plan for today (us open happy hour at my place). but still--i am here at home with the TV on, hoping del potro has a safin (circa 2000) kind of afternoon in flushing meadow. i won't be watching this final with the same intensity as i would a nadal vs. anyone match, but i can't resist the sounds of the open. i'm going to keep this broadcast on for as long as i can stand it (if fed locks up the first 2 sets easily, i head to the gym).

i have been able to get a very decent amount of tennis-watching in during this slam (a lot more than during this year's french and wimbledon)--and i did manage to make it out to queens for a little live action. here are some photos from my first day out there: day 7, sunday, september 6.

everything was aligned to ensure a perfect day: sunny and warm in the morning, with an occasional breeze (clouds joined us for the afternoon, no rain). nadal was to play in the stadium. ferrero, tsonga and del potro were scheduled, too. i was going to be with my cousins, who were just happy to be there. and i knew some friends would be attending that day, and we would meet at some point...

and so it was...

from what can't rightly be called "the cheap seats" (312 in the promenade),

the view is pretty good. i've seen many matches from the z seats before and still managed to have a great time.

when i go with my camera, i really don't see much of the actual match. too busy hoping for a particular shot. i've got an 18-270 mm tamron for my canon--it's a pretty big lens, certainly bigger than any i've taken to the open before--and i was really curious to see how it would compensate for my distance from the court. i was clicking away before i knew what was happening here with nadal... at a certain point, with his shirt pulled up, and his shorts rolled down, i actually felt a little dirty snapping photos...

but it didn't stop me...

and the next thing i knew both almagro and nadal were down on the ground, the ER theme song was playing, and my cousin reports that women were swooning all around the stadium...i believe he counted me among them.

and then things got really cheesy when nadal changed his shirt..."i'm too sexy" became the soundtrack in the stadium. i do love the expression of the woman, with the short brown hair, sitting behind nadal's chair.

action shots...not bad, all things considered...

nadal defeated almagro in 3: 7-5, 6-4, 6-4

v for victory, and vamos.

mary jo actually asked him about the "i'm too sexy" bit...i'm not sure how he's really supposed to respond to something like that, except by smiling and hoping the applause will last long enough that the interviewer will move on to the next question.

and then he signed about a hundred autographs on the way out, which i loved to see. smiles all around.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

see a fine picture, or three: sophia loren

these are for my sister...(happy, happy!)

publicity shot from el cid.

oh, a plain old glamour shot...

and, from the key, with william holden. very nice pajamas.

all high-quality images via
doctor macro

Wednesday, September 9, 2009