Segundo Noche en Madrid

It’s great being here. NO humidity. Excellent coffee, lots of walking around. Met Spanish friends and artists Luis Montoya and Avel Bello for an exhibit of Italian photojournalism from the 50’s, part of Photo Espana, and then walked to one of their favorite spots for papas bravas, pulpas, and calamari. Happy en situ.

Luis is a renowned Spanish sculptor based out of West Palm Beach, and a good friend of Cristina Garcia Rodero, my favorite Spanish photographer. Rodero has photographed religious life in Spain for probably the last thirty years, and her books are well worth acquisition.

Cafe LifeCafe Life

Just striving hard to be happy here in Madrid.  Not so challenging.

Viva Espana!

Am currently in Madrid, for PhotoEspana, where as soon as I get some gazpacho, anchoa, y tapas down my gullet will be posting early and often.

Inspiration Boards

Oprah Winfrey keeps vision journals, but she didn’t start this trend ladies and gents. I’m only giving her credit for coining the term va-jj. Let that be her cross to bear, but I digress.

Elvis fan and talented midwest photog Kevin Miyazaki posted recently about a series of artist bulletin boards, a la Peter Beard’s journals. I myself keep a rotating bulletin board of inspiration. A small detail appears below.

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On it I keep notes from admired jurists, whom while perhaps misguidedly excluding me from some honor, are kind enough to send the coveted post-it- note of encouragement, “Nice work! Keep going!”

On the yellow ribbon you will see a souvenir from my once every decade excursion to a Chinese restaurant, where I received a fortune cookie whose fortune read “You will be awarded some great honor.” Perhaps I should step up my frequency to such restaurants because THAT SAME YEAR I received a yellow ribbon of merit from the Iowa State Fair for participating in the rubber chicken throwing contest. Coincidence?

Above the yellow ribbon is a cyanotype I made in school of my grandmother and uncle on the Jersey Shore in the 1950’s. The black and white photograph next to that is a Steichen portrait of Alice B. Toklas, lover to Gertrude Stein. To the left of this is a recent portrait I picked up in Cuzco of the Virgin of Lima. I wanted a replica of the Last Supper painted by artists of the Cuzco school which features Jesus eating a guinea pig, which was the way that the artists represented their culture in art commissioned/mandated by a largely absent Spanish Catholic hierarchy, but unfortunately, that work is not made in Cuzco today.

I often gaze at this collage of ephemera whilst performing some mundane chore on the computer and I tell you, it’s better than a shot of B-12.

Be inspired!

What Were They Thinking?

Does anyone remember that the NY Times Magazine used to have a sweet little photo column called, What They Were Thinking, or something like this. How great would it be if they revived the column with a tongue in cheek air, and put these types of photos in instead?

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“If I Throw a Stick will you Leave?”

Nice sentiments for any engagement picture, truly. Stuff like this makes me want to shoot portraits in a Sears portrait studio. Eat your heart out August Sanders – this is an unvarnished portrait of America!

And lest y’all think that I’m reading too much newspapers for my own good, this was submitted by my friend, the talented Wa Post editor, Jill Karnicki.  Thanks Jill!

Look underfoot!

In praise of civilized society

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Boy that L.D. is one angry mamma. What starts off as a lavender-scented paean in praise of bonnets, becomes an angry cri du couer on the nature of modern society. If my experience at the MD Renaissance festival is any indication, clothing wasn’t exactly modest in the 15th century either. To wit:

Helping Hands, Crownsville, Maryland, 2005

Helping Hands, Crownsville, Maryland, 2005

BTW, I’m more with you L.D. My therapist is still making money off the PTSD from the above experience.

An Effortless Life

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

I often tell my wife and son that the best life for me would be to get up in the morning and go to a cafe and have coffee and meet friends and read the newspaper.  But you can’t do it every day, because if you did, your life would be effortless. And an effortless life is a meaningless life.

-anonymous clipping from interview in New York Times Magazine, recently culled from my bulletin board of inspiration

Enjoy your Saturday. It’s beautiful here.  I’ll be at the cafe drinking coffee.