April 07, 2002 - 10:42 a.m.
i'm stuck at the computer, waiting for washington mutual to fix my online banking. honestly, my mom and i have had nothing but problems with them since opening our accounts. the errors haven't been large in scale, but they're enough to make you mad, especially when you live in another country and can't settle the score with a live teller.
simon used to work with a girl named romy, and her parents called last week to see if simon could fix their printer. he actually makes money helping very computer illiterate people with their computer problems, but this time it was free. i went along because i'd heard good things about her parents, and i was glad i did. we ended up staying there two hours longer than we had intended. romy's dad, ray, is a freelance artist/designer/photographer with the biggest photo-book library i have ever seen. he also works extensively with lonely planet (jealous!), has an in-house darkroom and framed prints all over the walls. i sat in library #2 (yes, they have more than one) and pored over expensive photography monographs while simon tried to fix the printer and install some other software he thought might help them.
romy's mom, kay, brought me green tea, and ray put on some miles davis. then kay made bruschetta ("it's vegan!" she excitedly proclaimed) and homemade donuts, and we ate outside while listening to madam butterfly. all in all, a very good day.
probably the most notable thing i read/viewed was a martin parr retrospective. i didn't necessarily love all of the pictures, but it was just another kick in my side that i should be doing documentary photography and not selling out.
gregory's was just not for me. i think i was duped - scratch that, i know i was duped - into thinking their wedding photos were documentary in nature. i was in disbelief at all the posing that went on. mind you, i don't care if a certain amount of regrouping and moving around takes place in wedding photos, but in this case, events were created for the sole purpose of having a picture taken.
example #1: darren (the photog i assisted) asked the groomsmen if they had sunglasses, and would they please put them on. it was a GREY day. he then got them all on the balcony, in their sunglasses, to pretend to mingle.
another common gregory's theme (which i discovered after darren and i got back to the studio and i had a browse through the wedding books) is the thumbs-up pose. equally popular is the grip-and-grin, as it's called in journalism, meaning the forced photo-opportunity handshake, usually for the purpose of accepting an award of some sort. bernie had actually posed a random uncle with a random groomsman (or whomever he wanted) and made them shake hands. they were obviously uncomfortable but went along with it anyway. the really sad part is that the lighting was gorgeous. and i saw at least four separate occurrences of the grip-n-grin! sigh.
darren mentioned two photographers who actually use a more documentary style, and i went to visit one of them last week. he doesn't stage a single thing unless the bride and groom request it (and even then, begrudgingly). his pictures were fantastic and handprinted (all of the gregory's film is processed at a lab and never even touched by the photogs). the bad part was that he charged at least $1,000 more than gregory's. OUCH. i asked if he had a barter system, but he doesn't use assistants. so simon and i will really have to think this whole wedding thing over. (as a sidenote, he photographed hugh jackman's wedding.)
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