For the better part of the day today, that was me. NY2-398. Apparently I can’t say much more about what this means exactly, because I signed a lot of paperwork agreeing not to. What I can tell you is that I spent a lot of time with some amazing artists in Greenwich Village for about 6 hours this morning, all of us trying to advance our careers with one giant leap. However, a little after noon, our new little group of happy artists all found out that while our work was very good, this adventure had come to an end for us.
But you know, it didn’t matter. There are so many clichés that would apply here.
You have to play to win.
90 percent of making it is just showing up.
And they’re all very true. There’s nothing better than being a part of something that could potentially be huge. And even when I don’t completely succeed, it’s impossible for me to feel anything but good about it. I know I’m better for the experience. Going through something like this gives me experience that gives me much more of an edge the next time something like this comes up.
The amount of work involved in preparing for anything that can move you onward and upward is money in the bank as far as life goes. That refining of ideas, focus and my artistic mission will continue to serve me well into the future.
But enough of this vague, I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you, writing.
New York continues to be a close second as my favorite city in the world, right behind Paris, of course. But I enjoy my time here nearly as much. It’s a great walking city, especially during a beautiful weekend like this one was. Today I walked from 29th and Broadway, down to the secret project at 13th and 8th, and before the day was over, back up 6th Avenue to 57th to spend a few relaxing moments in Central Park.
In the middle of all of that walking I managed to visit the International Center of Photography this afternoon to take in the amazing exhibit of Richard Avedon’s fashion photography. The ICP is an incredible photography resource and at least once a year they have a must see exhibit there. The Avedon show was one of those must sees. And much like the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit that I just managed to catch before it closed a couple of years ago, I wasn’t sure if I would get to New York in time to see the Avedon exhibit.
So when my day opened up before my evening flight home, I made a beeline for the ICP. And the Avedon show was… nothing short of inspiring.
The beginnings of his prolific fashion career began with his work for Harper’s Bazaar in Paris in 1945 just as World War II was ending. Paris was in pretty bad shape after the occupation and food, materials and even electricity were in short supply. Avedon’s assignment: show us the Paris that we remembered before the war as the fashion and glamour capital of the world.
Avedon lit up Parisien city blocks like a movie set, washing away the reality of what people were struggling through and replacing it with beautiful photographs. Eventually, as fabrics and other materials became more available, the designers were able to return to their glory. Avedon’s work in Paris just reminded everyone what was possible. Stunning photography and composition that hold up today.
No one shot fashion they way he did. All the way through to 2004, Avedon continued to make fashion images that were so much more than fashion. And it was all on display at the ICP. It was tremendous to see all those prints with my own eyes.
And as a companion part to the Avedon show, there was a small exhibit of photographs documenting the ingenious way the Parisien designers began to basically start from nothing after WW II. As I mentioned before, fabric and materials were almost nonexistent in Paris immediately after the war, so the fashion community used small dolls about a meter in height and invited the designers to create miniature couture with those limited supplies they had. It worked. It got the fashion world’s attention back on Paris, and before long the industry began to recover.
One of those original Parisien Dolls from 1944 was at the ICP in a display case. A literally small piece of frozen time and a fitting supplement to Avedon’s photos.
A completely inspiring day in New York City. The photos above are more of my iPhone photography. Part of the traveling light philosophy of this trip.
And one more large thank you to Team Billy for making this weekend possible.