The other evening I was watching a great documentary on one of my photography heroes, Henri Cartier-Bresson called Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye. There were a few shots of him in his Paris home, when all of a sudden I realized I had been in his backyard! Well not exactly, except that his apartment overlooked les jardin des Tuileries, one of my favorite places to relax in Paris. I went back to my photographs and sure enough. I had inadvertently photographed the Master’s apartment during one of my visits.
It’s a bit behind a tree in the first photograph in the right of the frame, but I found it from another angle in the very next exposure on that roll of film. He lived on the fifth floor of the building on the far right and had an incredible view of les Tuileries until his death in 2004. Those photos were taken just a year later.
I’ve said for years that there are good ghosts in Paris. I love walking around on the same streets as so many photographers that I admire, soaking in what they saw and felt in my favorite city in the world. I always feel inspired when I’m there.
The documentary talks about how Cartier-Bresson found these incredible moments in his photography. His split second composition is simply incredible to study. A must view for anyone interested in how compelling photography is made. The world was his studio. He even spent time in Chicago and made several beautiful photographs in my home city.
Walking in his footsteps always recharges me artistically.
And speaking of Chicago, a bit of history here is in the process of being torn down. A few times a week I walk down Ontario in the Streeterville neighborhood near Lake Michigan and I saw that the old McClurg Court CBS Television studios are being demolished. The building had been deteriorating for years, even as WBBM TV continued to operate there until a few months ago when the television operation moved into a brand new facility in The Loop.
I was in those studios 20 years ago and even then, people were complaining about how old the building had become. It was built in the 1920s and was used as horse stables and a skating rink before CBS purchased the building in 1954.
But what few people remember is that it was the site of the new infamous first televised Presidential Debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon on September 26th, 1960.
Another bit of Chicago and US history, erased forever. So I had to make a photograph before it was completely gone.