“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.”
- Henri Nouwen
Those of you that know me, know my love of “Old” movies, there is something about a movie that has a plot that just makes sense. One of my favorites is “A Streetcar Named Desire” and it is truly great cinema. The whole movie is dark and brooding and there was always an image that stuck in my head, a great still life, with Brando sitting at a table in a dining room, smoking, playing poker, t-shirt wet from sweat because he has worked hard and there was no air conditioning on those hot summer nights in New Orleans. We find inspiration in a great many places and from just about anything. I recall reading an interview with Ralph Lauren and he commented that early cinema was his inspiration. How could you blame him, great movies, great clothes transporting you to a time and place you wanted to be.
So I wanted to take some photographs with a person, and have recently watched “Streetcar” set off about finding the fireplace and appropriate backdrop I would need for this photograph that was rolling around in my head inspired by that scene in the movie. My friend Matt is always a willing model although he usually wants a few weeks to tone up so he looks his best for the photo shoot. The location was the issue, there just is not many places to get that old classic interior fireplace in a dining room no less. Then I remembered my Aunt Sue has just the house I needed, an 1850s mansion with a perfect fireplace, a perfect dining room and great soft diffuse lighting that only needed a single side light to supplement. A deck of cards, a dark t-shirt and this series of photos is just what I imagined it to be.
I am putting in a few photos with this photo of the day partly because I can as I make the rules about this photo quest and partly because you need to see the emotion and the expression that comes through. My friend Matt had recently and suddenly lost his father, a recent tattoo on his forearm is a tribute to his Dad. At times in this photo series you can see happiness, and at times you can see the sadness deep in his eyes. The eyes tell the whole story as they are windows to our very soul. In all my years of taking photographs and watching people the eyes really do say everything that needs to be said. So these photographs all show some subtle differences and I could not pick just one.