Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘Edouard Boubat’

Moleskin Notes

In Creativity, Life, Literature, Memoir, Photography, Writing on March 17, 2010 at 8:27 pm
Journals, Diaries, Notebooks

Journals, Diaries, Notebooks

A survey of things I’ve noted:

“I tell you this not as aimless revelation but because I want you to know, as you read me, who I am and where I am and what is on my mind.” ~ Joan Didion, The White Album

“There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.” ~ Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” ~ George Burns

“Maybe at last, being but a broken man/I must be satisfied with my heart, although/Winter and summer till old age began/My circus animals were all on show./ ~ W.B. Yeats, The Circus Animals’ Desertion (about waning powers)

Robert Frank: he preferred “things that moved.” 767 rolls of film, 27,000 exposures. “The humanity of the moment.”

Waitress: “Pasta, fries, potato salad with your burger?” “Chips?” I ask. “Fries,” she states. “Chips?” I ask again. “FRIES,” she barks. “Fries, it is,” I say.

“It is the only thing we can do, Klauss. I see no alternative. Each of us must turn inward and destroy in himself all that he thinks he ought to destroy in others.” ~ Etty Hilleson (on her way to her death, at 29, in Auschwitz.)

“There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.” ~ Gandhi

“It’s such a complicated thing to understand what you’re trying to bring out of your own imagination, your own life.” ~ William Kennedy, The Writer’s Chapbook

“Altman never gave up creating his cinematic portraits of people on the margins…if only to shed light on the falsity behind his country’s seemingly indefatigable desperate pursuit of success.” Hilton Als, writing in the The New Yorker (December 2009) of Robert Altman.

“You cannot live when you are untouchable. Life is vulnerability.” ~ Edouard Boubat, 1989

Not for the coffee table.

In Creativity, Photography on February 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

A few weeks ago I ordered some photography books. Not for the coffee table. For the eye. They are:

Robert Doisneau, a Taschen “Icon” series book.

Bernard Plossu, So Long

and two monographs:

Edouard Boubat &

Lee Friedlander

Not a photography book, per se, but I also purchased Clive Scott’s Street Photography, From Atget to Cartier-Bresson. I have not read it yet, but it seems a bit pedantic. Stay tuned. I also reread David Hurn and Bill Jay’s fantastic book, On Being a Photographer. Every photographer should have this on the shelf.

When the books arrived, Carole remarked, “More photography books?” She commented on how big and heavy and thick they are. I said, “If I were a poet, the books I’d study would be small and slim. But I’m a photographer, not a poet.” (I’ve heard it argued, however, that all the artistic disciplines aspire to that of poetry. That seems correct.)

The one I to talk about, because it has been the most thought (eye?) provoking of the group is the Friedlander, properly the Peter Galassi MoMa’s retrospective exhibition book, 2005. Thought provoking because I never much cared for Friedlander’s work, to put it bluntly. Now, though, like so many things in life, I think I didn’t care for it because I didn’t understand it. Not that I “get” Friedlander. At least not everything. Much of his work is Hindemith to  Stravinsky, Pollock to Jasper Johns, if those references make any sense. (Ulysses to Finnegan’s Wake?) I know I don’t get the “landscape” work of the 90s. But here’s another reference that seems to make sense to me. If Cartier-Bresson is Dickens; and Robert Frank is Hemingway; then Friedlander is David Foster Wallace. If you’re not the music or literary type, what I’m trying to say is that Friedlander is an evolution of the discipline in a post-modern sense.

They say that there is nothing extraneous in a Friedlander photograph, which is saying a lot. His most successful work is thick and complex, and not easy. That is largely the late(r) stuff. It’s not as witty, and strikes me as more earnest. But what is to be said about anyone’s work over thirty or forty years? Just the consistency is inspiring.  What I started by saying, that there is nothing extraneous in his photographs, is startling to me–and freeing somehow. It’s as if the (apparent) randomness, at first glance, is to the contrary, order. What a way to look at life! Is that art? I think so.