From January to March of this year, Michelangelo’s David/Apollo, normally resident in the Bargello museum in Florence, was on loan to the National Gallery of Art in DC. Being a huge Michelangelo fan, I had to go see it. The last time it was exhibited here in the US was during Harry Truman’s presidency. In fact, there are only three known or attributed works by Michelangelo in the United States (a drawing and two sculptures, one of which is in a private collection), so it’s a rare day when you can get to see something from his hand.
One of Michelangelo’s “unfinished” sculptures, much speculation exists around the entire series of the “unfinished” carvings – were they unfinished because Michelangelo was always biting off more than he could chew and didn’t have time, or did he deliberately leave them “unfinished” because he was making an artistic statement about the relationship between the image, the stone and the carving? Either way, they make for a tantalizing insight into the mind and the technique of one of the world’s greatest sculptors.
I’m almost as fascinated by the people who come to look at art as I am the art itself. Sometimes (frequently, actually) I’m very annoyed with museum patrons because they’ll blithely traipse right between you and a work or the wall label for it that you’re trying to look at, rented headset on, completely oblivious to the fact that you now cannot read or see the exhibit. But when they’re not blocking your view, the way they look at art is endlessly interesting. Some will point, some will stand back and appraise, some will “print-sniff” and get close enough the guards have to warn them off. Some will ingest silently, others will pontificate to their audience of friends (and anyone else within earshot), often as not with art history textbook opinions and/or not entirely accurate “facts” about the artwork and/or the artist.
Traffic Control Box, 14th Street
Rolleiflex 2.8E, Kodak Ektar 100.
Taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E, on Kodak Ektar 100.
Traveling To Montana
I love all the ironic details of this image – the modern-day hippies panhandling with their massive shisha pipe and their puppy dog, in front of a bank and the Sysco truck (“People and Products You Can Count On”). It was serendipitous that they were posed in front of a bank and a food service truck is behind them when their sign says “broke and hungry”. A poignant clash of cultures. I wanted to get closer to fill the frame more with the hippies and their puppy, but I didn’t want to engage them especially on a negative level (I could see them reacting with anything from suspicion to hostility if they knew I was photographing them, since on a day-to-day basis I appear the very symbol of upper-middle-class conformity and public officialdom – it’s khakis or slacks and a dress shirt while at work). So I popped inside the Pret-A-Manger in front of them and took this from inside the window. I think the person sitting at the bar next to me was a little wierded out by having this guy with a Rollei walk up next to him and take a picture – I suspect he wasn’t entirely sure what kind of camera it was, if it was even a camera.
Mueller Hydrant, K Street, DC
Just a simple photo of a fire hydrant. It’s possible to make portraits of things, not just people.
Taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E, Ilford FP4+, developed in Pyrocat HD.
Anonymous, by Hanson, Chittenango, NY
The CDV itself is rather unremarkable – in average condition, anonymous subject. What caught my attention, though, was the notation by Mr. Hanson in the lower left of the verso – “Formerly with Brady, New York”. This is the first CDV I’ve seen where the photographer marketed himself as having worked for the celebrated master, Mathew Brady. I don’t know if any of Brady’s other camera operators/studio assistants ever marketed themselves this way, but it’s a fascinating find.
Exit, National Gallery of Art
Security Bollards, Greene Alley