Sun 13 Jul, 2003 06:50 am
Your my 880th post...Miss ya dearly...
I saw a book of her photos at Book City about a month ago. I couldn't figure out why her name was familiar.
A striking woman.
I have certainly brought justice to her portrait. Most people have just made her look like a sorry old sort of lady when she is and was one of the few Doyennes of Photography. I actually think my portrait is the best. She came to see me in Montreal by propeller plane. I took this as she was prepairing to return home to Maine.
why don't you have any uploaded public photos?
Algis, I agree, this is wonderful. Did she work in Ojai? I seem to remember photos of her in very striking outfits. I like yours better too. Tell us more about her..(although I think this already tells us a lot).
Thanks for sharing this portrait! It's in one of my fav photo sites, too, http://www.photo.net
It's wonderful to see that Algis' photo of Berenice is appreciated.
I'm a little embarrassed about my out and out plug for my own shot but let me tell you about Berenice. Having done most of her work with large view camera's Berenice always had back problems late in life. When living in Paris she said she shot maybe 5 shots doing an official portrait and that was really pushing it. Usually you had things prepared and the important thing was to elicit the portrait.
She was so umimpressed with todays modern photographers. Esp those with 35mm camera's sent by fancy magazines or what have you, to take portraits.
She would squint her eyes and glare how little personality many of these practitioners had and they took pictures like a pesky mosquito. Snap Snap Snap Snap SNAP , not a thought in their heads. Just hoping to come up with something ,anything and perhaps they'll even crop the little negative too.
"I simply do not know what these youngsters are thinking." A real portrait was something of intuitive and intellectual communion between Photographer and Subject"
"And they just don't care, you could be rubbing your nose and they just keep on snapping away, hoping..... just hoping for any thing, unaware that hair might be sticking out of your nose, and then when you say hold on, they want just that...
Flashes of lighting lite the room as the Doyenne admonished me not to follow in those others steps.
So as you can imagine picking up any Camera to take Berenices picture took alot of guts. She'd say" I've had so many frompy pictures of myself published by people who really should not be taking these images. I don't want anymore bad shots of myself out there. Sorry", Either you approached Berenice with the appropriate cameras or forget it.
It's true to, I always keep my 35mm camera around but never really dared to take Berenices shot and beside I was nothing more than a want to be photographer and had only taken travel pictures so far travelling around the world.
Thing is, after travelling around the world for almost 2 years taking photographs so I could show National Geographic I was worthy . Well turns out when I returned home I was offered the chance of working for Berenice and grabbed it immediately.
In the end though Berenice was amendable to most with a camera or a story to sell but you'd leave her clutches with " It has to walk on it's own, if it's any good.
Berenice used to spend hours trying to bring out the best in peoples portraits.She wasn't interested in wrinkles of moles or bags under the eyes.
People do want to look their best and it's your job, to do just that .
So if you took Berenices Picture you then had to show it to her and that would be another matter all together . You could fall into the fire or even into her frying pan.
This image here happens to be a scan of the original one Berenice held in her hands. After I presented it to her, She just looked at it in her big armchair there beside the flickering fireplace.
Seems like she went somewhere in that brief minute... but I never asked ...
After a minute she just put it down softly on her side table and not the coffee table which would have been a failing mark.
She then said oh! Butch must be at the door let him in would you.
Well, silent praise was what I got and Boy Berenice you'd have a good laugh at whats happening to the medium now.
Berenice Abbott liked Schlitz Beer.
Berenice Abbott is my 888th post . Who would have guessed it ?
Exactly. Berenice used to say wait till you get older then you'll really enjoy a beer.
For me it is a scotch, but I take her point.
Glad to hear all this.
OK, I see I have screwed up completely, I was thinking of Beatrice Wood..
and I wondered if she did photos too....
sigh, you can never underestimate my understanding. I see already I will be satisfied by BA's photos.. Uh, that is not a knock on her, that I might like them.....