Rudy Van Gelder by James Estrin
"Nothing is simple and everything is complex": You might recall that during our Christmas song countdown last year one of the songs featured was a Coleman Hawkins' jazz rendition of "Greensleeves," and in that post I linked to a rare photograph of Rudy Van Gelder's legendary home studio in Hackensack, New Jersey. Very sorry to report that Rudy Van Gelder left this world a short time ago, on August 25th, age 91. If you're not a jazz listener, try Sonny Rollins' "Saxophone Colossus" for a sample of what Van Gelder could do back then. He was miles ahead of his time during the '50s and '60s when he played an essential role in documenting the music's greatest era.
Blogging back: I wrote about reader/photographer Dave Levingston's visit to TOP Rural Headquarters, and now Dave has returned the favor on his own blog. (Warning: other material at Dave's site is not workplace/school safe.) Dave's picture of me in the parlor of La Belle Vie is better than the picture of him I took of him in the same spot. (Have you ever done that? It's an interesting exercise: walk around with another photographer and try to take the same shots. The differences in what you each come up with can be very interesting.)
At the World's Best Photography Magazine: Alex Webb's Mexico. And here's Sally Mann and Cy Twombly. Here's how you get to the page with the photography articles: at the New York Times website, go to the "sections" list under the main title header. Click on the word "ALL" at the far right-hand side. When the complete list of sections appears, click "Photography." The current lead article might fill your page; scroll down for more articles. At the bottom of the thumbnails, click "View More Recent Posts" (um, ambiguity alert) for older articles. This actually doesn't cover the whole range of articles pertinent to photography; it doesn't include obituaries, for instance. But it's a good start. The NYT has particularly rich coverage of photography and it's almost always possible to find something interesting. The only problem is that I'm never confident that I'm aware of everything there is.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Lorenzo C.: "Rudy Van Gelder/jazz! Sonny Rollins/Saxophone Colossus! Alex Webb/Kodachrome!
"Three awesome, classic people/things in one post!!!"
Chuck Albertson: "Agree that the New York Times Lens blog is always worth checking out, but isn't it behind the Times paywall? I pay (subscribe to the 'Weekender' print edition Fri-Sun, which gives you full-time access to the digital edition), but many people can't afford it."
Mike replies: Oh dear, I forgot entirely about that. Very sorry not to have mentioned it. Thanks Chuck.
Michael Matthews: "Rudy Van Gelder was so far beyond his contemporaries in talent and skill that his name on the back of an LP was a selling point. When I was a high school kid in the mid to late '50s in that celebrated poverty pocket known as West Virginia, money was scarce. If I had put together enough cash to buy an album and there were, say, three of equal interest I would turn to the back of the album sleeve and check where it was recorded and by whom. (We had no opportunity to listen before making the commitment.) If Rudy Van Gelder was listed as the recording engineer on one there was no question: that was the choice."
david stock: "I highly recommend seeing Alex Webb's Mexico photos on the walls at the Aperture Gallery in NYC. Just went to the opening tonight, and was stunned all over again. Masterful, almost impossible images, beautiful large prints. Didn't study the book yet, but it looks well crafted."