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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman 1925-2008

I always feel a bit odd commenting on the death of a celebrity. After all so many people are suffering or simply dying every day.
But I think famous people are one way we relate to one another and the world. They can be symbolic for parts of our feelings. Just like the arts provide analogies to the human condition and beyond.
In any case I mourn the passing of Paul Newman, a true 'Mensch' in my book, beautiful inside and out, that lived life vigorously it seems, could admit failures and who also cared deeply about others.
Robert Forrester, the Vice-Chairman of Newman's Own Foundation, issued a statement that spoke about Mr. Newman's understanding of how much luck plays into the outcome of one's life and how random life can be. And that, as someone born with fortune, Paul Newman felt the need to help those who were less fortunate.
I could not agree more.

TV or Nor To TV

Ah, that old b&w TV, lends itself to so many quips in the context of this election.
But things are too serious to joke. ©Nina Buesing Corvallo

We don't really do TV and above is a picture of how I watched the debate last night -- retro style.
Using this old TV reminded me of my childhood, balancing the antenna, trying to get a clear picture of the channel (only Channel 13 came in well last night - brilliant!).
Back in the 70's & early 80's (West) Germany only had three channels. Commercial breaks - if any- were in between programs, not during programs. And because the programming wasn't designed in 30 minute times slots & to accommodate advertisers, programs would have starting times such as 20:15 (8:15 p.m.) or 19:35 (7:35 p.m.).
I enjoyed watching television as a kid, I watched Sesame Street, The Muppet Show and, as I got older, the news & on Sundays I would often watch Tatort with my family.
(Tatort is a German crime-drama series and a weekly 2-hour event and its watching is tradition for many Germans.)
Otherwise I watched occasional movies on TV (which left me with a love for Cary Grant & American Films from the 70s ) and not much else.
I think that is plenty of TV watching. I consider myself lucky to not have grown up with endless channels and TV on demand. I spent lots of my time as a child drawing, reading, exploring, horseback riding, or playing -- alone or with my friends - friends I am still close to today. The weekends I spent with my parents sailing on a small boat, also no TV on board.
I am grateful for my outstanding & blessedly happy childhood (thanks Mom& Dad), one that gave me an inability to be bored and nurtured my imagination, something I think more TV could have stunted.
When I moved to France and later to the US as a teenager, I watched a lot of TV. Which was ok in the sense that it helped me learn French & English quicker. I saw endless re-runs of the Cosby Show, A Different World, Redford Files, Hart to Hart and many other shows (first dubbed into French, later in their original English versions). It became a constant companion and influenced me visually somewhat (see my interview with Patrick Romero).
Today, I practically do not watch any TV. If I hear that something is worth watching (like 30 Rock, Weeds, The West Wing, an interview, the conventions, etc.) I'll see it on YouTube, Netflix or perhaps at a friend's house. I still watch a fair amount of entertainment (Netflix is genius), but always on the computer, mostly while retouching. But more and more I turn to NPR now for company while I retouch or scan.
I like life without television or with little television.
When the husband and I travel we encounter TV, and sometimes it is a treat to watch news channels or PBS all night or find out & get sucked into something outrageous like Rock of Love, but then we return home, serenity returns. I know it is not for everyone, but if you suspect that life without TV might be for you, try it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Darling !

It's one of my favorite people's b-day today: Happy B'day, Andrea! ©NinaCorvallo

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Susanna Raab Interview

Please head over to the Nymphoto Blog to find my interview with the engaging Susana Raab.

Bolivia © Susana Raab

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nolita Lunch

My sis' treated me for lunch yesterday at Cafe Gitane and the food was good and nicely presented. So in the spirit of Sandra & Camilla, I am sharing some pics from our lunch:

Danke, Schwesterherz © Nina Buesing Corvallo

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jay Maisel's Bohemian Wonderland: Corner of Spring & Bowery

Wow. I always wanted to know more about photographer Jay Maisel's Nolita home. And this week New York Magazine offers a glimpse via an online photo gallery and an article by Wendy Goodman titled The 72-Room Bohemian Dream House(Maybe the greatest real-estate coup of all time) (published September 21, 2008) into the Maisel family home - a giant Bohemian Oasis. At once humble and bombastic. It's "Momma's Man" on steroids ;)
I love the original details of the building, the old skool atmosphere in the residence and that Mrs. Maisel gardens on the roof. Simply Sublime.
PS: It's a great article, however I shook my head when I read about the supposedly downtown expert broker who expressed surprise that the building was inhabited (while having 11 Spring as a listing!) . Come on, if you know downtown you know that Jay Maisel lives there.
Expert? I think not. Probably never heard of Mr. Simpson either.
Oh if Downtown could just stay Downtown.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Conversation with Joachim Lapotre

Medicine - from the Still Life Series © Joachim Lepotre

A couple of weeks ago I received a lovely email from Joachim Lepotre introducing himself and his work. In his initial correspondence he wrote about his process and his empathy/respect for the animal that had been slaughtered and served as a prop for his photograph(s). He spoke about the "barbarism of consumerism" and cruelty of mechanized live-stock farming - and it made me keen to know more so I asked Joachim if he would be interested in an interview. In our conversation Joachim reveals his very passionate approach to photography and life.

Trash &Valentine's Day - from the Still Life Series © Joachim Lepotre

NC: Tell us about yourself.

JL: I was born in Paris in 78, I live in Chicago now.
I didn't study art at school, but my mentors continuously nourished me creatively, we often talked for hours and I also conducted a lot of research by myself.
I work for more than 8 years as a freelance art director for advertising companies mainly in the luxury domain.
I think these two "opposite" poles shape my work.

Chicken - from the Still Life Series © Joachim Lepotre

NC:How did you discover photography?

JL: I first borrowed an old Olympus reflex camera from a friend, I was fascinated by the reflections of the neon lights during the night in the Parisian red light district where I was living.
But I quit after some professional (fashion) photographers in my entourage discouraged me by saying I am good graphic designer but I will never be a photographer.
I gave up for 4 years. Then I bought a digital amateur reflex camera with a book called "learn digital photography" and I got totally obsessed with it. I shot literally night and day with natural light and garden halogen lights.
I started refusing freelance advertising work to starve, I got mad about photography, it changed my life, I felt like I should have always been doing photography.

Rotten Bread - from the Still Life Series © Joachim Lepotre

NC: Where do you find inspiration?

JL: It usually starts from the will to work around a chosen theme, then an image pops into my mind and obsesses me like a nightmare, like a ghost that haunts me. The only way to be delivered from it is to make the photo.
After this first image obsession I try to understand it and make it finer, focusing more precisely. Transform the nightmare/dream in something thought-out/controlled.

Offerings (triptych) © Joachim Lepotre

NC: How did the Offering and Still Life series come about?

JL: I try to create current day mythology through contemporary everyday life.
I asked myself, if nowadays society created a pagan cult/god, what would it be? A kind of today's golden cow, like in the bible, the first idol.
The idea that tribal societies thank nature with offerings came into my mind.
We grow pigs and cows industrially, like goods in a factory. And today's most stable value is still gold.
I chose the luxury/fashion magazine aesthetic codes to illustrate it and ended as a triptych.
A great friend of mine, a Korean artist, told me when she saw it, that traditionally in Korea, when people start a project business or build a house, they cut a pig head put money in his mouth and pray for the project to succeed. It made me feel I did something that is deeply/truly human.

NC: What's next?

JL: I am working at 4 new series but I prefer not to talk about what has to be done or I never do it. It is like a "magic" thing and I am very superstitious.

NC: Thank you so much.

You can see more of Joachim's work online at www.joachimlapotre.com. If you are in Chicago you can see his work at All Rise Gallery through October 18, 2008 - and in Paris at Studio Art and You through September 27, 2008.