Saturday, 5 March 2011

Portraits: 9

Noam Chomsky, linguist, philospher, political activist, London, 1989
Many times I had only a few minutes with a "portraitee". I took this portrait in a corridor at his publishers as people milled about us. With only those few minutes I chose the corridor for the very simple contribution that the stairs could give: Chomsky is, in part, a thinker, and with little else to play with, I took some close-up and some with the stairs behind him, where they just (very) vaguely suggest somewhere where his thoughts could go! For City Limits.

Marilyn Crispell, pianist, Woodstock, NY, 1988
Marilyn Crispell is a great pianist and a very warm person. This shoot was for a cover feature for The Wire. I think the magazine wasn't happy with the shoot – it made the cover, but not the feature – though then-editor Richard Cook said it was one of their most "human" covers. This was a nice compliment – and reflects Marilyn's personality – but also meant I probably hadn't met the stylised demands of The Wire's artwork at the time! Nevertheless, from that cover shoot this other shot appeared inside the magazine in a later issue, and there was some surprise as to how much they liked it when printed up: possibly old-style contact sheets hadn't revealed enough of the overall impact of the full-size image. Marilyn was staying in a friend's house in Woodstock, with her keyboard and cats, and this was taken in the garden of the house. Update: now scanned from original negative, and the Wire cover shot found and scanned below:


For more on these portraits, see here, and the Portraits tag at right.

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