Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Driving Ms. Levitt

Helen Levitt passed away this past weekend. She was 95. I had the pleasure a few years back of driving her to the school I was attending so that she could lecture that day and discuss her work. I eagerly volunteered to meet her at her home in New York and return her there that same evening even though it meant a total of 8 hours of driving in one day. I wish I had a dramatic story to tell about our drives. That we got a flat and she helped change the tire or something like that. In fact it was a series of fairly ordinary and pleasant 2 hour drives. She talked a bit about her childhood and how she often vacationed with family and friends during the summers in the Catskill Mountains. We discussed photography and Walker Evans and James Agee and it was evident how proud she was of her association with them and how committed she was to the kind of work that she did. She was flummoxed by still life and staged photography and bothered by the idea that artists would mistakenly waste their energy trying to make things up when this extraordinary world existed right outside their door. "The world is a better artist then any one person could ever be." The idea of being open to the world and making pictures as you experienced the world in front of you was something that was being greatly challenged in the early 90's. It still is. And I imagine that some decades from know, when all the best photographs of the last one hundred years are sorted out, there on the top of the pile, will be the great and greater pictures given to us by Helen Levitt.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Eye Phone

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sea Horse

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sotheby's To Sell Upper West Side Fixer Upper

Sotheby's wants to sell you this charming little place on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This rare, Handy Man's Special is believed to be one of the earliest photographs of New York City. The half-plate Daguerreotype is estimated to be worth between 50 to $70,000. At 4.25 by 5. 5 cozy inches this baby will be selling for about $300,000 to $420,000 per square foot. Well over the $1000 per square foot asking price that is typical for this neighborhood. Does this seem unrealistically optimistic considering today's plummeting real estate values? Discuss.

Sotheby's catalogue notes are reprinted below.

"This half-plate daguerreotype of a country estate is believed to have been made in Manhattan in the 1840s and, as such, would be among the very earliest photographs of New York City extant. The daguerreotype shows in the foreground what is almost certainly the old Bloomingdale Road, referred to as 'a continuation of Broadway' in the city directories of the day. In the deep well of the road, to the left, is a horse-drawn carriage with passengers that has come to a halt for the photographer. In the middle ground is the lawn of an estate, planted with young evergreens surrounded by a fence. Beyond the rise of the lawn, in the background, is the top story of an unidentified house, with a rooftop balustrade and double chimneys on either end.

The date and location of the daguerreotype have been taken from a manuscript note, signed 'L. B.,' which was folded and placed behind the daguerreotype plate in its original leather case. Written in a neat, cursive hand, in dark ink on pale blue paper, the note reads as follows:

'This view, was taken at too great a distance, & from ground 60 or 70 feet lower than the building; rendering the lower Story of the House, & the front Portico entirely invisible. (the handsomest part of the House.) The main road, passes between the two Post & rail fences. (called, a continuation of Broadway 60 feet wide.) It requires a maganifying [sic] glass, to clearly distinguish the Evergreens, within the circular enclosure, taken the last of October, when nearly half of the leaves were off the trees.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tatoo Me

I know I've railed here against tattoos but I have to confess that I love this sweet "piece" that my son created with Magic Markers on my arm. Although it will wash off the next time I shower I know that it will have a longer life, suspended in a state of semi permanence on a server at Google, than it would have if it was an actual ink tattoo suspended in my flesh.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's a Zoo Out There

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Pictures From A Day

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Today marks the official first day of Spring! So go outside, plant a flower, take your clothes off and take a picture!

Eugene Atget

Alfred Stieglitz

Walker Evans

Robert Frank

Joel Sternfeld

Diane Arbus

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Few More From Miami

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spring Broke

On a whim, and against our better judgement, we packed up the kids and headed down to Miami Beach for a few days of sunshine.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Bernie Madoff Looks Like George Washington

Just saying.... It was driving me nuts! I knew he looked like someone but it took me the longest time to figure out who.

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