Outstanding portrait in pretty much every way. Clean yet rich, formal yet revealing. Good light, good tones.
And a cat. ("Cats are catnip to photographers," and you may quote me.)
See more of Graeme Mitchell's personal and editorial work at his website.
And should Leonard Cohen himself be new to you, the best places to start are probably Jennifer Warnes' audiophile favorite, "Famous Blue Raincoat," consisting entirely of songs written or co-written by Cohen, including the maiden recording of "First We Take Manhattan;" and next the recent "Popular Problems" from 2014—a gorgeous album, Cohen undiminished at age 80. Its richer, more accessible instrumentation will be a good bridge for you to Cohen's sparser, sparer, stripped-down earlier sound on albums like "Songs of Love and Hate" (1971) and "Songs of Leonard Cohen" (1967). Another standout for Cohen neophytes and fans is "I'm Your Man" from 1988 (if purchasing the latter, beware of conflations with the sountrack covers album of the same name).
(Thanks to Paul De Zan)
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Featured Comments from:
Michael Gowin: "I read that article last week and was struck by the portrait as well. The mop in the right corner seals it for me. And if I were composing the same shot, I probably would have said, 'Hang on—let me get that mop out of the scene.' But it's a stronger image by keeping it in."
John Krumm: "That's my kind of portrait too. And since you brought up cats, here's my favorite cat photo book, called The Cat In Photography, by Sally Eauclaire. It includes a good sampling of well known and less well known cat photos through history...."
Mike replies: That's the same Sally Euclaire who published a book called The New Color back in 1981 that caused a lot of fierce disputation, unto the rending of garments and the tearing of hair, amongst color photographers I knew then. And that's Tony Mendoza on the cover, who created the actual greatest book of cat photographs ever published. Ernie immortal!
Yoram Nevo: "And Talbot's broom in the background."
Mike replies: ...Mop or broom, it does do some good work in the picture, doesn't it? As John Szarkowski once said—in a public lecture, I'm paraphrasing—this after showing several of his own pictures which each included ladders: "I'm not sure what it is that makes any particular picture good, but a ladder never hurts."
Ed Hawco: "Interesting that on TOP, Cohen follows Dylan, because that's the story of Cohen's life. There's a well known story here in Cohen's home town (Montreal) that in 1966 Cohen—already an established poet—showed up at a party attended by the city's then pre-eminent English poets (Irving Layton, Louis Dudek, Al Purdy, etc.) and put on a Bob Dylan record. He made them listen to it all the way through, and it impressed none of them (they were all considerably older). But Cohen was adamant that it was great poetry and that music was the best vehicle for it. He declared that this was what he wanted to do and that he would become the Canadian Bob Dylan. Everyone laughed. Of course in the end he became Leonard Cohen, and not just the Canadian Bob Dylan, but there's no doubt that Dylan was the inspiration for Cohen's entry into music. (Oh, and I love the broom.)"