David Bruce: The Coolest People in Art ‚ Photography, Possessions


• When photographer Rose Eichenbaum wished to take a portrait of choreographer Lar Lubovitch, he was uneasy, so she asked him, “Why are you avoiding me?” He explained, “If you really want to know who I am, you have to see my work.” He had explained his work to her by saying, “My work is curvaceous because there are no straight lines in the universe. All of space is curved, and so are all of my dances.” Therefore, Ms. Eichenbaum decided to take a portrait of the choreographer that would reference his work. She put Mr. Lubovitch in a stairwell, and then she photographed him in such a way that his face was framed with the curliques of a fancy banister. She then showed him the portrait. Mr. Lubovitch looked at the portrait, seemingly without emotion, then looked at Ms. Eichenbaum and said, “Yes!”

• Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh is famous for his portraits, and he has inflexible ideas involving portraits. For example, he believes that anyone who has recently had a haircut is an unsuitable subject for a portrait. Mr. Karsh was once scheduled to take a portrait of Sir Charles Portal, but he was disappointed when he saw that Sir Charles had recently had a haircut. Fortunately, Sir Charles understood and said, “I always believe that if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly. Let’s wait until it grows again.” They did wait, and the portrait appears in Mr. Karsh’s book titled Faces of Destiny.

• Photographer Jim Marshall once took a photograph of bluesmen B.B. King, Albert King, and Bobby “Blue” Bland laughing together backstage. The photograph is black and white, and Mr. Marshall says, “Thank God I had black-and-white film loaded in my camera that night, because the color of the walls, the carpet, and the couch were the most atrocious sh*t color I’ve seen.” He also says, “Why they’re all laughing should be left to the imagination.”

• Fred W. McDarrah, long-time photographer for New York’s Village Voice, enjoyed taking photographs of the double-chinned movers and shakers of the predator class at fundraising dinners. He would take a photograph, and if the subject of the photograph angrily waved him away, he would take another photograph. Mr. McDarrah had a satiric streak; in 1960, he even started a small business known as “Rent-a-Beatnik.”


• Before World War II, Lucy Carrington Wertheimer ran an art gallery that championed the work of modern artists; however, earlier in her life, she knew little about the work of modern artists. In her home, she owned and hung paintings by such artists as Zoffaney, Géricault, and Sickert. Her younger sister, Fanny Wadsworth, who was married to a cousin of modern artist Edward Wadsworth, looked at her collection, then asked, “Lucy, have you never heard of Picasso?”

• When Amy Schwartz illustrates children’s books, she will often include favorite belongings. For example, in her book titled Oma and Bobo, a painting is hanging on the kitchen wall. The painting is titled “Rainstorm,” and she created it when she was in the 5thgrade. In real life, the painting hangs in her mother’s kitchen.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved



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