As I’ve written here before, studio photography is not my favorite thing to do, especially when limited in space to use and the strength of the lights that I use. Still, I tried to do things a little differently this time. The first was to use umbrellas with my lights to avoid the harsh effect of straight hot lights and to get a more diffuse effect. It worked, but it also lessened the amount of light I had to work with. I spent most of the time using f/4 or f/5.6 at 1/30 sec, so I had to ask her to hold still quite often and had to try to be careful with my focusing. I’ll see how the photos turn out when I get the film developed – eventually.
The other thing I’d done was to buy a pair of very long black and very long white gloves to use as props. One of the digital snapshots I’m posting is of with the black pair. When I showed the gloves to Sibyl she commented that they looked like the sort that Rita Hayworth wore. I’m not quite sure if my final photos will look like her wearing them. Time will tell.
I continued my fight against inertia yesterday by going to a number of photo galleries in Manhattan. I started off in Manhattan back downtown at Staley-Wise to look at some prints, then I went to another couple in Soho, including one with a nice exhibition of photos made by Douglas Kirkland of the designer Coco Chanel during a three week period he spent in Paris in 1962. It’s just a shame that the modern prints were digital rather than silver.
At the long time Leica Gallery a few blocks farther north, there was a show of color prints, but also a more interesting show of monochrome photojournalistic images of the countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union. These were silver prints, and when I told the photographer (who was there for a book signing) that I was glad that he had chosen to make silver prints, he told me that he had had no choice. What I gathered from what the gallery manager said – that he was an “antideluvian” – was that at least one other person besides me still prefers silver.
I finished off the afternoon with a trip uptown to visit some of the galleries in office buildings on East 57 Street. Some of these had been there for quite a few years, having moved there from elsewhere, but I had never been to them in their new locations.
My first stop was Throckmorton, which was formerly located in a townhouse further north on the east side. I had been to the old location quite a few times, and still remembered the owner, Spencer Throckmorton. I hoped that he would remember me, so when I asked to see him, I saw that he did – but he also looked as though he was seeing a ghost from the past. Perhaps he was, as his assistant (if I heard him correctly) told me that the gallery had moved to its new location eight years ago! “What have I been doing all of that time,” I thought to myself.
This gallery, which still handles a great deal of photography from Latin American artists, had on its wall a wonderful show of nudes by an excellent photographer named Flor Garduno. (Her name has a tilda “~” over the letter ‘n,’ but I don’t know how to get it over the ‘n’ on a US keyboard!) I own two of her books, and most of the images on display are from the later one, Inner Light. (If you like good books, you should seek this one out.) The show is titled Mujeres fantasticas (Fantastic women), and I was happy to read that Garduno still likes to make silver prints and to print them herself.
I finished off my gallery day by visiting four galleries in another building on East 57th, the two most notable being Howard Greenberg and Bonni Benrubi. Both of these galleries generally show the classic kind of photography that I like. The former used to be in Soho and the latter also in a smaller building further north. The receptionist at Greenberg told me that it had moved to its present spot four years ago, so again I felt that I had wasted several years time by being too lazy to get around. At least it’s not too late to change things.
Of course, I still have plenty of things to keep me busy at home. Today’s photo session was the first one I’ve had in two months. I think it may be another six or seven months before I have another one.