Monday, April 20, 2009
I’ve seen an awful lot. Some great stuff, and some stuff which really bothered me. Mostly, it was what I saw, and opted not to photograph, which bothered me the most, and stays with me the longest. A dead woman covered in a yellow tarp beneath a yellow “Cross Here” street sign, her feet sticking out from under the tarp. Someone’s mother, sister, wife. Not me. Never. And I’ve gotten into lots of trouble (LOTS) for photographs I took which I thought were completely harmless.
And I’ve won many awards for my photographs; even took photographs of Miami Beach which accompanied a story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize-winning Polish-born American author and one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement.. I’ve had “self-indulgent bullshit” (to quote my instructor Tony Golden at Syracuse University) on exhibit in museums, my work downstairs, Arbus, Avedon, Penn, Cartier-Bresson and Mapplethorpe upstairs (Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale).
But to some people, a photograph is dangerous.
What is really dangerous is a gun in the hands of a child.
Which is exactly how I feel with a camera: armed, dangerous, incisive, insightful, invincible and very invisible. Especially in a crowd. And by the time you notice me, the damage is already done.
And some very smart people (at least I thought, for the moment they were smart) have refused the opportunity for me to photograph them, when I expressed an interest. I think they knew I didn’t like what I saw in them. And truth be told, you never know.
Until it’s over, and you see what I saw. “You don’t know what I fear.”
There’s a lot more, a great deal more, to be posted.
And in the words of the immortal, “I’ve only just begun to scan.”