I snapped this photo of a woman walking across West 10th Street while trying to capture the light hitting the facade of the building. To what purpose I planned on using that image never occurred to me at the time, but I'm glad this woman wandered by and added a human element to this wonderful spring day. Here's hoping she takes her shoes off when she gets into her apartment later.
An aspect of photography that I am drawn to, as you can see in my first Edition, is the action shot—where a subject is slightly blurred, and the grain is noticeable. This was born out of my appreciation of the work of Jacques Henri Lartigue, the French photographer whose book of photos, Diary of a Century, permanently sits on my desk. His technique always seemed to barely and effortlessly capture compelling moments.
In the following sketches, I wanted to try and push that aesthetic. I started by lifting the Polaroid headshots of some of the world's most recognizable fashion models, before they were famous, and move them to the limits of recognizability. You can see who's-who by rolling over each image; if you click on the image, it will link out to the original photo. Bonus points if you know who they are beforehand (though one is easy).
If you've never been to Napoleon's Tomb at Les Invalides, in Paris, then I highly recommend you add that as a sight to see when you are there. It was so memorable to me that, standing in front of the imposing red quartzite tomb, I decided then that I wanted to learn everything I could about the man. I started with Andrew Robert's book, Napoleon: A Life.
Napoleon's legacy is a complicated one, but one I feel isn't properly understood by my generation. He's most often associated with the term "Napoleon complex," which is used to describe a short person who tries to make up for that perceived insufficiency by trying to be dominant in their personality. Napoleon wasn't short; it was a piece of propaganda spread by his enemy, the British. He was of normal height at the time.
He was also thought to have been a warmonger—that he fought his way through Europe trying to instill his thoughts on enlightenment, costing his French countrymen dearly in both life and resources. The fact is that in the Napoleonic Wars, he was only the attacker in very few battles. The other times, he was deftly defending against the attacks of countries and empires.
He was a man who believed in the arts and the rights of humans. When he took power from Louis XVIII, he gave land back to the peasants it was taken from, and was committed to furthering French society in the arts. If Napoleon had won at Waterloo, I'm confident the world would be in a better place than it is today.
This is all to bring light to a passage I found incredibly fascinating in Roberts's book about Napoleon's invasion of the strategic port of Malta:
In his six days at Malta Napoleon expelled all but fourteen of the Knights (of St. John) and replaced the island’s medieval administration with a governing council; dissolved the monasteries; introduced street lighting and paving; freed all political prisoners; installed fountains and reformed the hospitals, postal service and university, which was now to teach science as well as the humanities.
It took me six days to rearrange my bookshelf last week.
I was reading the comments to a blog post on a lowbrow website, for some reason, and was genuinely delighted after I read this one:
I record and watch Jeopardy every night and my friends tell me it's a weird, serial killer-type move. Well, if learning new facts is wrong, I'll take "I Don't Want To Be Right" for $600, Alex! Haha I'm going through a really bad breakup.
As an art project a while back, I wanted to do a few mixed media pieces where I combined centuries-old paintings of historical figures with splashy tabloid headlines of today. The headlines would be akin to the ridiculous New York Post ones in describing a moment in the subject's life. Time passed and life intervened to the point where these only exist in the test pieces I did to see if they would work. I thought they came out great, so I am going to post them here for your enjoyment.
As I was walking down Waverly Street, in the West Village, I saw a Federal Express delivery man leave a building and hold the door for a UPS delivery man, whose hands were full with packages to be delivered.
It was very touching.