And Gordon, Ernst, Margaret……..
Had a terrific week in Santa Fe. Great class. Nice bunch of folks who produced some pictures that were much more than nice. We rocked and rolled all week with big and small flash, in the usual collection of fascinating places, working with the unusual, interesting and beautiful faces of the Santa Fe Workshops model community, many of whom are my dear friends, and populate numerous pages of The Hot Shoe Diaries. I’ve got a great relationship with a bunch of the folks who pose for the workshops. Like Deidre. She called me last week and said, “Hey, I shaved my head! Wanna shoot me?” Answer below.
More on D in a future blog….
That’s always the fun stuff. Every week long workshop, I host what I call the business breakfast to talk about the un-fun stuff. It’s generally a long meal, peppered with nettlesome questions about how to survive as a photog, how to make it, construct portfolios, find clients, price jobs…..the grist of turning our passion into pictures that make money. I do this during the daylight hours. If we met for dinner, it would most likely become something of a religious drunk, with many tequila laced epithets, confessions, admonitions and apocalyptic descriptions about just how wrong the business of photography has gone. The entire conversation would simply degenerate into a bunch of extended vowel sounds, kinda like a set of James Brown lyrics.
I attempt to be coherent, and thoughtful, though it’s hard. When you hear about a recent cover of Time magazine being bought off Istock for $30, it’s easy to just think about reaching for the sawed off and giving them sumbitches what for. But this whole numbing process has been going on for so long it would be difficult to sort out the most deserving sumbitches, and truth be told, some of them be us.
So you know what saved the day? What elevated us all? A visit to Sid and Michelle. The Monroe Gallery of Photography currently has a show called “A Thousand Words.” Walking into those four walls adorned with those pictures is to leave all the other crap behind, and be lifted up by the most beautiful breeze you can imagine. The images cut to the chase and the heart. You get goose bumps. Your eyes sting. You remember why you picked up a camera in the first place.
Sid and Michelle are so knowledgeable, and for them, the pictures on the walls are family, just like the people who made them, though a fair number of those shooters are gone, which makes preserving their legacy all the more necessary. They told my class stories and a bit about their wonderful philosophy, which is, simply put, that pictures are important, and have value.
Bill Eppridge’s pictures from RFK’s campaign are on the wall, and Sid showed the class Bill’s book. In A Time It Was, Bill’s visual record of Bobby’s campaign, is the charred master print of the busboy cradling the senator’s head. It was damaged in the Laurel Canyon fires that swept through Bill’s home, but the core of the image is still there, and the charred edges make that moment all the more searing and painful to look at.
The lead photo of the show is Eisie’s famous drum major shot. I used to bump into Eisie all the time as he padded the hallways of the 28th floor of Time Inc. “Hello McNally,” accompanied by a fairly dismissive wave of the hand was generally as far as the conversation got. As the story goes, Eisie was waiting at the elevator on 28 with a bunch of other photogs. The doors opened and they all crowded in, the diminutive Eisie found himself in close quarters, surrounded by younger, taller photographers.
He looked around. “I used to be just as tall as all of you,” he said in his German accent. He made a couple dramatic shrugs of his shoulders, the kind of motion you would make if you were carrying something heavy. “The equipment, the equipment,” was all he said.
Driving through the desert. Damn hot. Blogging from the van. 10 hours to San Francisco, where Drew and I do two workshop days at Google, and then a stop for Kelby Tours. After that, we disappear into the land of the yellow border.