Friday, October 17, 2008

William Claxton

One of the sad aspects about admiring older styles of photography, and coming to this appreciation only recently, is that I'm often unaware of famous photographers until I read their obituaries. William Claxton, for example, who died this week aged 80, and who was best known (I now learn) for photos of jazz musicians and film stars.

He had that wonderful ability to improvise the situation and the light. When I was reading about him in The Guardian and looking at his photos - bearing in mind they were taken in the late 50s - I did wonder if he'd been using a Leica. And so it would seem. That's him in the mirror in the photo here of Dietrich. You can't really see it in this wee jpeg, but the from bigger version of the same picture in this morning's printed Guardian, I'm pretty sure that's a iiif he's holding.

So, we have the technology... Now I just need to be in the environs of someone with Marlene's bone structure, smoking a cigarette. Which is the crux of the biscuit: I didn't have a Leica in the days when I went to parties where everyone was smoking all kinds of things. Now I've got one, and I'm a 100% nuclear family bloke. Such is life.

I sold the FED2 and Kodak 66 on eBay - foolishly underestimating the cost of postage, but getting more than expected in the final bids so it's san-fairy-tab-nabs. This means the Summitar 5cm f2 fund has had a bit of a boost. I should be able to afford it by Christmas, without causing any domestic disharmony. Then, I just need to get some invites to some parties with famous and attractive people smoking cigarettes, and that'll be me.