Thursday, 5 July 2012

Portraits:36

Emma Tennant, writer, at home in London, 1991
I'm ashamed to say, I've not read any of Tennant's work (or that of William Trevor, below), which was unusual for me when photographing a writer. Perhaps now is finally the time to start…! Did it affect the portrait, or did I get an aspect of her through just that moment of meeting her? I can't say, but for this shot, I went to the extreme of cornering her in the frame, and I quite like the result. For the Village Voice – and another shot was used by Bomb magazine, from which accompanying article you can learn more about her and her work.


William Trevor, writer, at home in Devon, 1991
An Irish writer who has lived in England since the 50s – and who has a most English-rural home. Such definitions wouldn't be of pertinence, except he considers himself a very "Irish writer", and as an Englishman in Tokyo, I'm curious now as to how rigorously you can define yourself as of your first country after years of living abroad in a second. I didn't know at the time that he was considered borderline reclusive when it comes to publicity – according to a much more recent Guardian interview. This was for the Village Voice.

David Tronzo, guitarist, on the steps to the roof of his apartment building, New York, 1988
One of the rewards of this shoot was that Tronzo said to me of the earlier accompanying interview that he had had prejudices about the quality he expected from an interview with a guitar magazine, but that the conversation and informed questions had dismissed those qualms. And that this photo shoot similarly was a better and more engaging experience than he'd thought. Since I've always believed that a quality magazine interview can be those things, it was good to exceed a then-doubter's expectations. Tronzo is a slide guitarist of be-bop and experimental music, and now also a teacher at Berklee. (Coincidentally, and irrelevantly, he was also a player on the album Apothecary Rx.)

For more on these portraits see here and the portraits tag on the right

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