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Friday, 24 January 2020


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William Gibson! My absolute favorite author! If you haven't read any of his work, I recommend starting with Neuromancer, and working forward from there. But his pre-Neuromancer short stories are amazing, too.

It's interesting how people who proclaim their coolness by their oddities all look and sound alike. Like hell's angels who are such outlaws but you can't tell them apart. This guy has all the cool artist speak down - marijauna and masterbation. How cool is that?

What the heck does this even mean - " He has the ability to intrude easily in the authentic life of people to wreck and corrupt their traditional habitat with technology." Sounds pretty damn arrogant.

To me, this portrait is off-putting and I would not want to read this guy's books. I found the photographer's bio to be even more off-putting. But I am allergic to artist statements so there is that.


[What I intuited from his biographical material is that he might be a guy who has certain deficits (athsma, for one, which we get from the quote I used) and is bravely trying to forge a meaningful life despite them. But from such slender evidence, either of us could be right about him or either of us could be wrong. --Mike]

Speaking of color and Sci-Fi:


Benoit has another portrait of Gibson on his Instagram feed that’s equally appealing. Elizabeth Renstrom is the Senior Visuals Editor at the New Yorker who worked with Benoit on this assignment.


For what it's worth, I hated the shot when I saw it, and as a fellow author, felt sorry for Gibson. Again, for what it's worth, I assumed all of the little green dots were a star field photo placed on top of the portrait image. No? Although I once had a darkroom and I set aside, and then forgot, a photo still damp from the wash, and when I found it again, some long time later, the entire surface was covered with black fungus clumps that also look somewhat like the green dots in this photo.

Ah, I only notice now: part of why it looks unusual is that it’s taken with two flashlights, one with a green filter and one with a red filter. Together it’s white light, but the shadows become green and red...

Gibson has been one of my top favorite authors since the eighties. I particularly love the first three books (the Sprawl trilogy) and Pattern Recognition, and All Tomorrow’s Parties.

He made anInteresting picture out of a mundane one.
I always get the urge to 'deconstruct' as a learning exercise for myself.
Here is my guess:
I would say there are two lights in this picture, one flash low and gelled green, and one higher with a snoot illuminating Mr Gibson.
There are a couple of 'tells'n the picture, Mr Gibson casts a shadow behind him that we can see, so the main light is camera right, and the horizontal fence rail behind him is deep green in the shadow, light green beyond the shadow. The main light is probably a stop hotter to wash out the green from his face. You can also see that the green light dissipates progressively toward the top of the picture.
The snow gets less green, the eaves of the house have a green cast on the bottom, look whiter on their front.
Great Picture

"I keep going back to it and it looks more imperfectly perfect every visit, like a jazz piece that is opaque at first and reveals itself only on repeated hearings."

That's the true "magic of photography".

Sorry. This is another off topic comment by me.

Just before I read this post this morning I read an article in the NYT "The Photographer of Choice for Influencers Is Everywhere". It is about a photographer who photographs famous people and is famous himself as a result. Like Richard Avedon I thought. (And he uses film would you believe! And gives photographic tips to his hordes of admirers). However, I had never heard of the photographer – Bryant Eslava – or any of the 'famous' people he has photographed. Also, there were entire paragraphs that seemed to be about filters and such that were completely unintelligible to me. I felt like Rip Van Winkle and I had just been awakened in January 2120 after a cryogenic sleep. Can you confirm it is still 2020? Thanks.

The fourth image of this set implies how this was done. Yes, filtered lights, and the "snow" is actually droplets from a spray bottle.


I’m not sure the guy takes himself too seriously and looks to be having fun, though he clearly seems serious about his photography. If you look at his Instagram you can see that he uses a good old Ricoh GR, jerry rigged to a green gelled flash. He had an assistant with a garden sprayer spray water droplets into the air.

Some of his stuff reminded me of Viviane Sassen’s slightly surreal fashion work. I liked it.

I like the photograph; it's ok. It's just one idea from one photographer.

My takeaway from seeing this image is that there’s hope for me yet. Lots of it, actually.

According to his Instagram account Benoit is running a print sale currently. https://www.instagram.com/p/B7wE1KhB5kj/?igshid=mf80ekp3o8ga

I have been following Paille for a while and enjoy the inventiveness of his work. His gelled flash technique appears simple, but has clearly been honed over a period of time (he uses a Ricoh GR and a large custom flash bracket).

Paille does not really conform to norms of bourgeois society and seems to live at the edge of it. Obviously some people will dislike that, but it also means that he is more open to radical ideas in his art.

I noticed that photograph in the New Yorker. It is a striking photo.

Your post here prompted me to view the rest of Paille's work and contact him through Instagram. He has many interesting photographs. I arranged to purchase a 13" x 19" print of one for a reasonable price. He was quick to respond and very friendly.

The print was mailed to me today. I look forward to seeing it.

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