color study #47
A couple of weeks ago I gave a short talk on some new work that I've been making. It both is and isn't a big departure from the photos I have been making since I began taking pictures 20 years ago and I am really grateful for the opportunity to have to put those thoughts together and discover connections that I didn't know were there until I started to line these images up and put pen to paper.
Here's a link to the talk where, thankfully, you see my photos and not me!
1. It seemed like every Christmas for my entire childhood, and beyond, my dad would give me a card that said "happy hollandaise!" He must have bought the lot of those cards and my brother and I came to expect, and even look forward to, them every year. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate an actual card for this post and I can't quite remember now if it was a photograph or an illustration but you can imagine...
2. The whole way asparagus makes your pee smell is crazy. Even if you eat the tiniest bit.
3. And most importantly, asparagus announces spring and makes me think of my grandfather. We moved to Beacon because we wanted to have chickens and a vegetable garden, though I had no real experience with either. I would have never thought to plant asparagus because it seems so exotic but ,after we arrived here, my grandfather (who, as far as I knew, had never touched dirt) told me about his childhood in New Jersey, and how they had a patch of asparagus growing in their front yard that he would pick from, liberally, every spring. Only a couple of years after we moved back east, my grandfather passed away and I, sort of unofficially, named our garden after him. Only a few people know it as the Clarence Arthur Heuer Memorial Garden but that's what it is to me and I cherish the opportunity each year to begin planting and using the time working the soil to think about my grandparents and conjure up their voices in my head. Now that I have known the frustrating failures of gardening, I really appreciate anything perennial. The asparagus comes up like magic every year, just before the weather seems friendly enough for anything to grow. Delicious aliens arriving in our front yard.
I never forget a face. I mean really, I don't. I can't. I am not sure if it's why I became a photographer but I often find myself haunted when I pass someone who I know I have seen before but can't quite place where or when it happened. On a recent trip to California I made my whole family wait at 5:30AM in JFK for me to accost a man who I was certain I had met at a wedding a year ago. I am regularly stopping people on the street to ask if I know them and, most often, I do, if only in passing. So recently, when I started watching Transparent, a really beautiful show about identity (both of self and within a family), love, dysfunction, etc., I felt twitchy because the character of Ali, played by Gaby Hoffmann, seemed familiar to me. Since my celebrity photography is limited to a few vaguely recognizable white men and Sarah Koenig, I assumed that my mind was playing tricks on me. But then it came to me: GABY HOFFMANN! Of course. One day, around 15 years ago, I spent the day with her and some friends in upstate NY. She was fretting about whether or not to continue to pursue acting. I am so glad she did!
And I happen to have the photo to prove it. Voila a younger Gaby Hoffmann (on the left) circa 1999.