Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jim Marshall

Legendary rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall died last week.

A few years ago I was shooting an annual report in NYC. The manager of the bank where I was setting up came over and told me she wanted to introduce me to a customer of her's that was also a photographer. "This is Jim Marshall", she said.

I was distracted with my shoot, but we started talking and I asked him what kind of work he did. "Oh, I shot musicians, mostly. I was based in San Francisco in the 60's."

"Oh my god! You're THE Jim Marshall?"

"Yeah, I guess I am."

We talked for about half an hour and then I needed to get back to work. We exchanged business cards and I thought, THAT was fun!

A month later a large envelope showed up in the mail. Inside was his first book with a signed inscription, "Forest, thanks for being a fan of my work, your friend Jim."

Wow. He will be missed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

SCAD Picnic at Pont Julien

On their first morning in Lacoste, we took the students to the market in Apt. It's the oldest continuously running market in France, and one of the oldest in Europe, and they all seemed to enjoy their introduction to a French institution. On the way back we stopped at Pont Julien, a bridge built by the Romans over  2,000 years ago and had a picnic. (By the way, this blog seems to crop the right side of the video frame, so if you want to see the uncropped picture, go here. If anyone reading this knows how I can solve this problem, please tell me. Thanks.)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ahhhhh. . .the sun

Four hours since my last post and it's a whole new world. I'm told the weather in Provence is unpredictable. For now- this sky, this light!

As far as the students go- bring 'em on!


It's 10:30 in the morning. It's pouring rain. POURING! Sixty students will arrive in six hours. Most will be exhausted after taking the red eye from the States. This could be interesting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jean Pierre Soalhat

Jean Pierre Soalhat is a mosaic artist with a studio east of where I'm living in Lacoste. The village of Caseneuve is way up on a hilltop on the north slope of the Luberon Mountains. The view from near his studio looks like this:

The drive was spectacular and my navigator, Dick Krepel, kept saying, "Oh, my god, that's beautiful! Don't look! Keep your eyes on the road! That'a amazing! Don't look!" Apparently he was concerned with hairpin curves, no guard rails, and cliffs. Coward! Luckily there was a turn-off on the way back so I could enjoy a little of the scenery.

Jean Pierre makes intricate ceramic mosaics using a variety of materials. Many of his pieces use shards recycled from ancient Roman ruins. Occassionally he uses things as seemingly mundane as beach glass. They are large, complex, and beautiful and he has sold them to collectors around the world. He has a quick wit and welcomed Dick and I warmly in spite of the fact that he was in the midst of preparing for a huge show that was shipping in less than a week.

This is the first image from a project I'll be working on for the next three months, tentatively titled European Portraits. It's also the first time I've used some great new equipment the good folks at Manfrotto Distribution were kind enough to let me use. The Elinchrom Ranger Quadra is a very small, light battery strobe system that worked flawlessly. It handles and performs just like studio strobes, but the entire package with pack, battery, two heads, and cables weighs less than ten pounds. I can carry everything I need including lights, cameras, stands, modifiers, back-ups, and tripod on my back. Sometime in the next few weeks I'll post a video tour of this system.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is only about 20 minutes from where I'm living in Lacoste. The drive is through farmland. Vineyards, olive groves, and lavender fields line the roads. When we arrive the small town is so crowded we have to park some blocks away from the center where a dozen streets are lined with vendors. Fresh and prepared foods, Provencial antiques, used books, clothes, housewares- the list of goods for sale seems endless. You can see the full version that doesn't crop the right side of the frame here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

As the sun goes down

I was taking inventory of the equipment and supplies at SCAD here in Lacoste, trying to figure out what I might need for students I have yet to meet. I wondered whether they would be shooting digitally or traditionally- whether they would be interested in using lighting equipment to shoot portraits- whether we should plan on using prints or projectors for critiques, when I went outside for a break and the setting sun was spilling this golden light on Bonnieux across the valley.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday in Provence

We got up fairly early after a late night at a restaurant in Bonnieux to go to the market in Isle Sur le Sorgue. It was an easy 20 minute drive and the market takes over the whole town every Sunday. Antiques, food of all sorts, housewares, herbs- it's all there. I'll be posting a video of the wonderful sights later tonight (hopefully) but in the meantime, here's three pictures inside the cathedral in the center of town. It's a baroque treasure, not particularly notable in the art history books, but a fine example of a small town's church.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The View from Here

I arrived in Lacoste, Provence, France at about 2 this afternoon. The flight from the States was uneventful, but long, and sleep deprivation is never my favorite. While my delirium is setting in, I still realize that I'm in an incredibly beautiful place. This is the front door of my apartment:

And this is what it looks like in one direction and then the other, up and down the lane past my door:

This is the wall opposite my front door:

And this is the view from the hilltop behind my house looking east toward Bonnieux:

Good God! I just realized I've been in France for over eight hours and I haven't had a glass of wine yet! This is a situation that must be rectified immediately!

(Watch for more soon.)