Monday, September 28, 2009

Sally...A Draft and Simple Story

I got on the 
Stamford line train
paying for my ticket at the kid's rate. 

I made up frivolous stories to pass the time. I pretended I was French and spoke with a heavy accent to generic men in suits about my life in France. I wished I was from some where else, other than New Rochelle, on Wilmot Road, living in the woods, in a small red house with pot belly stoves covered lids  made of a cream colored porcelain. 

I yearned to stink like a French woman on the Metro with hairy armpits. I pissed my mother off when i began smoking Gitanes--later Exports-- and watched cult and French movies on the VCR. I smoked from a silver mouth piece, and sat upon the couch like a diva from a Charles Adams novel. 

I hated the cold and I loved the summers spent lying out on the dock with are tenant, Sally who worked for the government, doing what I'll never know. 
She was a drunk or at least my Mom told me so. On summer days, we lay side by side on the dock,  tanning and listened to the oldies but goodies station. Occasionally, she would walk up the hill and make another drink, a scotch over ice, sometimes it was a bottle of Smirnov. 
Sally was as obsessed with tanning as she was collecting empties. She spent hours a day running up and down Wilmot Road, wearing a pair of shorts, the kind that had the seam up the sides and were then, back in the early eighties what one might sporty. No matter how long she jogged, her thighs were thick and cellulite dimpled. They jiggled up and down. I hadn't noticed until one day my mother said,

"If she stopped drinking, she might loose the cellulite".

I wondered why Sally didn't have a man in her life. It made feel sad and lonesome for her. During the week, I never saw her. She must go to work behind doors that close fast, the kind where you need a special plastic card to enter. It must be top secret and I never asked her about her work.

I couldn't understand how someone might live alone in that guest house.

I can't remember how old she was... just the freckles, her far away look upon her face, and the sound of ice cubes against a rocks as she poured another in the kitchen overlooking our backyard.
Please bare with my technical issues...such as type is too tight. I'll be back in Jersey City on the 16th and will deal with it then. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pic of the Day

"Celia Behind Locked Door", Sete, France, Juliana Beasley 2009.

Less than one week left, I'm working ahead towards the 30th of the month. Than a lovely vacation with Victoria on the Canal du Midi. Wow, how long has it been since I took a vacation. Although, right now I would prefer prefer lying on the beach! Wouldn't you after the chronic photographer's ailment: the backache. 

I took the photograph above in the Arab quarter of Sete. Celia is part Algerian and French. She was a real tough girl and the oldest in her family. They live in a converted attic. Celia, the young "ado"(adolescent) lives in her own room locked behind a close door across the hall from the main living area where her mother, sister and baby brother live.  She didn't like smiling for the camera and stared deep into my Rollei lens as if she owned it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Vulnerability Of Men

Nice Photographers Wear Dresses Too!
 Juliana Beasley written up in local Sete Newspaper in France, September, 2009.

I thought I would throw up this post. I was written up in the local newspaper of Sete, France where I am working on a photo art residence....if you are catching up on prior entries. I am making a book in a month which I believe should be a reality show for photographers called the obvious, "Survival Photo Book in 4 Weeks".

I am not happy with the part in my hair. It was one of the sweaty days when I pulled my greasy hair back; hence, the zig-zag part was not intended. Where was my stylist. At least, I got the dress right! Who says women photographers don't where dresses and cannot get the job done? All lies!!! 

I can actually read this piece that was written by Laurence Laden who was kind enough to take a morning to hear me blather on in circles about what I don't know. And she made sense of it in French. Problem, now is that the type is so small and I am too busy that I will not be able to translate it. But, heck, I'm happy with the title. It seems to suit me more than any of the subjects here.

Well, I'm in the final stretch, y'all. Got some lasting photos to show before I call it quits and hopefully a flip video.

To look at the article in larger form just click on the newspaper article and voila, all in francais!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Photo of the Day! Out on the Camping Trail.

The summer months of caravans and camping is done. Children and the Ados (short for adolescents) are back in school.  Walking down the hot stretch of a two lane highway,  all that is left now is a file of campers filled with retirees and the occasional child during the weekends. The single strand of campers line the beach front, an easy descent towards the hot sand and aquamarine water.

Last weekend, I made a day of it. I had my backpack on my shoulders and clasped around my waste, my Rollei around my neck and a hanging side pack which contains my Quantum battery, flash meter and film, shot and unshot. That orange side pack, should I regret to add, I bought from Walmart around a decade ago in Tampa. I tied its band in a not and used a safety pin to make it fall on my hip, instead of drag along the ground.

First, I stumbled upon a group of pasty Anglos taking in the sun. I turned to take a photograph of their burnt flesh until I climbed down the rocks and began a conversation that lasted an hour.  I was with a group of Irish retirees, in couples of two. They smiled and laughed at my banter. Freedom! Alas, no searching for words in French. We talked about Dingle and the County of Cork where they reside. The husbands were brothers, one taciturn the other full of questions.  After an hour, I knew that my purpose of the day was to take photographs and to return to the world of French speakers.

Three campers down after a man shook is head at me as if I had come to torment him. 

The next camper down, I meet a French retiree couple from Grenoble. She loves the mountains. He jests with me. Would I use the photograph to incriminate him....well, most of us doc people have heard this one time or another...this was my first time in French.  And if it needs to be said, he did look a little squirely. They offer me two glasses of a kind and lukewarm dry rose which under the heat of the still day is better than none.  We said our good-byes as yes, again it was time to move on and for me to work.

Snap, snap...I think I must be happier to sit on tarps that day laid out in front of side camper doors shaded with rolling canopies than to actually shoot.

A very blonde and burnt bosom strapped in a black bikini top peers from behind a black car...could it have been a Camaro?  No, probably not, although it appears to bare the semblance of the stereotypical mid-life crisis paraphanelia of sitcoms from years back.
I turn the corner to meet her on the other side of the door swung open, shielding her, I suppose from harsh afternoon sunshine. I reached to grab her hand and she refused. She has a look of fear upon her face hid behind a protective nervous smile.

I speak in French.

"Est-que je peux parler avec vous". She was sprawled back on one chaise and her husband on another who doesn't lift his eyes from a magazine. 

I reach to shake her hand instead of the three kiss southern kiss credo. She shakes her head several times and holds on tightly to a gossip magazine.

"No, thank you", she responded in a accented English.

I take the most blonde route...hmm, they must be German. She does have the doll face and plumpishness of a Marianne  S├Ągebrecht I try this time in my shakey German, now befuddled with weeks French speaking, thinking and now dreams. 

She turns around, as if I were a irritating ghost.  

Then I say the magic words, "Gratis". It works wonders around the world. I remember when I learned it when I was 16 and living in Italy. Latin is just so precise and still has a magical power to it.

From a prior experience, I made note on the camper trail that many people think that I am a vagabond traveler with camera in hand looking for handouts. Terror!! 

"We are Swedish," and then still, "No, thank you."

I reach to take her hand and she shook her hand. I ask her why? She says she doesn't want the sick. She doesn't want the "flu", in other words, I can only assume she doesn't want the Pork Flu. 

"Oh," I said. And walk towards a older and shockingly blonde Dutch couple who offer me a coffee, a step stool to sit on and philosophical conversation. At the end, the woman with dark sun glasses covering the wrinkled skin around her eyes, offers her hand and holds on dearly and tightly, her face close to mine and says like a platinum orb, 

"You must have a good life, live life strongly. I know you will."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fee Fi Fo Fum

Another, cultural moment of yesteryear. I found this awesome video of past days and couldn't resist! Yep, I am proud to say that I was a white girl who could double dutch in the school yard and in the middle of the street. 

Who out there can still Double Dutch and how did it get it's name. Hmm....trivia quiz.

Back to France and work in progress.... all aboard and move down to entry below.

Pick of the Day- Sword Fish

"Fish Stocker", Sete, France, September 2009.

I was happy to spend the day at the fish auction at the port in Sete. On a hot day, there is nothing as refreshing as standing in the ice locker with a bunch of dead packed fish. I must admit to all of you beloved fish eaters...I haven't done much of it. 

I am cooking amarith pasta at home with buckets of delicious virgin oil that I bought from the local market. Why no fish? Why am I not eating more chocolate and eating more fish. 

Maybe some of you out there might understand-- I just would destroy it. Every kind of fish that I cook ends up tasting the same.

Photography is going well and now, I am in the home stretch and like the 67 woman from Holland told me the other day.... youth is wasted on the young-- I too feel that now that I am getting a grasp on what I am doing here and what it takes, my time is limited. 

Photo Booth Self-Portrait #?, Sete, France, September 2009.

Morning sitting on my stool. Finally, I have a way to get photographs taken of me...and it's too easy despite the worst grain and lack of possibilities for enlarging. Lost like most images of the digital age.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pick of The Day

"Two Girls, One on Rocking Horse, The Other Still", Sete, August 2009. (remember folks these are flats scans from contact sheets.

Just a photo.

I took this at the last Junior Joutes event of the year.  These girls were not team players but on the sidelines like the rest of us not competing in Sete that day.

One week and a couple of days left before yours truly puts down her Rollei Twin Lens and picks up her Canon 5D and heads out to the Canal du Midi on a expected fabulous bike trip through southern French countryside.

This girl needs a vacation and possibly one without a camera. It's been too too long. And why not here in France since I'm already here. By the way, got a great photographer's tan yesterday trolling the caravans along the highway yesterday. I love the sun!

Friday, September 18, 2009

I've Gone Divine

A residency, btw, is not a vacation or even a working vacation in the South of France. It's a darn hard's hard to put a smile on the face all the time.

So, I thought we could all smile in cyberspace back to a time when even the most crude behaviour had a sense of innocence.

I know I'm feeding my favorites from YouTube. This is the cultural contribution while I work my ass off on the working holiday.

Yes, the water is aquamarine and tomorrow will be in the mid 70's and when it rained today, it might have lasted a half hour.
These are the fab perks and no complaints here! And truly, i'll make my next blog deposit when I get to Paris....or even sooner.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just for Free Entertainment

Fro with this!

Excuses, Excuses....

"Claude in Kitchen", Sete, France, 2009.

Please, excuse this long hiatus. Whomever said a residency was a working vacation forgot to delete the work vacation.

Of course, no complaints here. Hmmm, would I rather be in the sunshine on the French Riviera or would I prefer to be in the dismal constant rain of 2009 in NYC?

So, just to keep the ball rolling here, I am posting one photo from my residency. Notice how pixelated it is....No, worries here, it comes from a low res contact sheet and it is oh so professional to present it in this form.

You all deserve a good entry, one with gusto, one with spirit...but JuJu as some dear friends call me or others whom just call me Julie is intensely immersed in the process of making a book for the 2010 Images Singulieres in Sete, France.

Excuses, excuses. The next two weeks will be a reality show in which yours truly must undertake 20 or more photo shoots of various subjects. With a Rollei Twin permanently lasooed around her neck, I will undertake the ultimate challenge with a smile on her neck.

Peace, Ommmmm!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For All Of Us

I'm not in the USA....but, I am hoping the best for all us who desperately need health insurance.

The following, I found on Facebook from my buddy, Paul Kopeikin owner of the gallery of the same name in LA.

Good going Paul! And thanks for bringing this to attention....

Super Bis, Bis From Sete, France!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Images Singulieres Team in Sete, France

"Ms. Beasley as French Intellect in Caffe", 2009 summer, Sete.

So, here I am two weeks into my residency in Sete. Everyday, I am learning more and more. And what I have learned is this: it is hard to make a book in a month...difficult, but not impossible for the mentally sane. And since your's truly is not dealing with a full deck, she works a little harder and sleeps a little longer.

The days are spent approaching possible subjects. Telling them over and over again my purpose here in Sete. They can hear my foreign accent: sometimes, they think I am Spanish and other times that good ol' choppy American accent comes through.

People have been really open here and I have met others through the Ce Ta Voir organization. A couple of days ago, I photographed a young Joutes player preparing for the last tournament of the season. It felt joyous and fun to tap into the energy of a child so happy to be in front of the camera.

I have a schedule to make and hopefully, the time to afford to let in the spontaneous things that happen per chance while walking down the street. Yours truly has never been the photog with the camera on body at all times. Here this has to change. And man, sore back is part of the agenda.

I went to get an amazing Cranio Sacral Massage and some acupucture. The doctor was amazing and at the end told me that I would finally sleep...yes, some might notice the facebook remarks coming through at 3am my times. 

She said in a soft voice, "you will sleep now". 

And all I could think was, lady, you don't know me. I don't sleep right. I got home after a visit at the local museum Valery where my work will be shown in May, went home and fell asleep for 15 plus hours. I could have slept more but I had to do an interview with the local newspaper.

I am enjoying my time away. But, of course, I miss my friends and Moishe and Howard soo much. I feel lucky to have this chance. If anything maybe I might learn how to make a book in less than 8-10 years. Or does it even matter how many books are made anyway?

Here are some photographs from the digital of the organizers of the Festival Images Singulieres in Sete.

Voila! Sunny days still prevail!

"Yann as French Boy-Man Assistant in Caffe", Summer 2009, Sete.

"Gilles Favier very seriously looking over my first contacts", Summer 2009, Sete.

"Valerie LaQuittant, The Hard Worker and Sweet Smile Behind Images Singulieres", Summer 2009, Sete.