ChatterArtists February 2011

Continuing on with this month’s theme of individuality, it won’t come as a surprise that this month’s photographers are showing portraits of “unique” individuals!

David Partner

Starting us out this month is photographer and long-time friend, David Partner. We have known each other for a great many years that began as far back as our teens, but the reason I’m showing this particular portrait this month is because I thought it perfectly represented the idea of “unique individuals.”

Here we have a portrait of Lois Maxwell, the Canadian actress who originated the role of “Miss Moneypenny” in the early James Bond movies, and wouldn’t you know it – she just so happened to be born on Valentine’s Day and was therefore an Aquarius herself! Perfect! This image was part of a retrospective exhibition of David’s photographs held in July of last year at the Rook Lane Chapel & Arts Trust, as part of the 10-year Anniversary of the Frome Festival in Somerset, England.

Lois Maxwell © David Partner

Chris Casaburi

Chris Casaburi is one of my favorite people and I have always been a fan of his work. But what he sent me for this month’s theme is more about the story behind the photograph and the man in it, rather than Chris’ specific photographic style. Meet John Dunford, a woodman, whom Chris had photographed some 15 or so years ago while he was traveling around the South of England. Some years later and now back in New York, Chris was contacted because John had died and the family for which he had worked on and off for 40 odd years was looking for photographs of him to have at his funeral. So Chris went back into his archives and found this particular portrait he had taken of John at the bottom of their garden. Chris said that he was sweet and hard-working man who reminded him of his own grandfather who had built the subways in New York City. The family was delighted, and reiterated their own fondness for John by saying: “He was one of life’s reliable people who just enjoyed helping others, without a thought for himself. He was a great character, and will be sorely missed. After a heart attack, he achieved his life long ambition of owning a sawmill, but he was not daunted by what he took on – just achieved his ambition. He leaves a great legacy of true loyalty and hard work. His face was etched with the way in which he spent his life – in the outdoors.”

John Dunford © Chris Casaburi

Kristofer Dan-Bergman

I have known Kristofer Dan-Bergman since my days at the Black Book and Watson & Spierman, and have always loved the fine art quality to his work. I knew he would have something interesting to send us, so here is an image we chose from a portrait series that is still a “work in progress” but certainly fits our theme, and we move from “John the woodman,” to a wooden backdrop for photographs of shall we say, unusual pairings. Kristofer says the series will become a gallery show this April/May. The 1st installation generated a movie, which was based on the images as they were, without any Photoshop. Now he has taken the series a step further by photo-shopping in people next to one another, who weren’t there in the original frame, thus creating another new story. We chose this particular pair as they illustrate the unexpected dual nature of the Aquarius, who can be quite conservative, and yet completely eccentric all at the same time.

© Kristofer Dan-Bergman

Brad Trent

It was really hard to choose just one image from Brad Trent because there were so many great candidates, and not only did he send us a lot of images, but he also gave us the caption and story behind each and every one! Nice! In the end, we choose this wonderful portrait of a man called Peter Lewyn Bernstein who was an American financial historian, economist and educator whose development and refinement of the efficient-market hypothesis made him one of the best known authorities in popularizing and presenting investment economics to the public. Sounds like someone who is concerned with the masses, wouldn’t you say? Not surprisingly, I also discovered that Bernstein was an Aquarius himself, making him another perfect fit for demonstrating the altruistic leadership ability of the Aquarian. Peter died less than a year later after Brad had taken this portrait of him in August of 2008.

Peter Lewyn Bernstein © Brad Trent

Ian Bradshaw

Next up is my friend and photographer Ian Bradshaw. Both of us are British, but ironically we met in the States and discovered that we grew up not far from one another in England – small world. Ian began his career as a newspaper photographer in London and over the years has photographed just about everyone from Presidents and Prime Ministers, to Royalty and Celebrity – you name it! Currently he is considered America’s leading education photographer and now brings his years of training and talent to the universities and colleges of this fair land. The portrait we selected is of Raymond Bard, PhD Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Portland, Oregon, who somewhat resembles the notion of a “mad professor” does he not?

Raymond Bard PhD Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Portland

© Ian Bradshaw

Brian Smale

And last but by no means least, when Seattle-based photographer Brian Smale emailed me about an assignment he recently shot for People Magazine – I was so excited, because it was a perfect fit for this month’s Aquarian theme – remember, Aquarius “dances to the beat of a different drummer!” So with that in mind, meet Dyson Kilodavis, a young boy who happily expresses his authentic and unique self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink!” and who was the inspiration for the book “My Princess Boy” written by his mother Cheryl. What began as a personal process and a book about acceptance for both children and parents became a movement of acceptance for every child who has ever felt left out or misunderstood just because they’re different. The mission on their website says it all – “To accept and celebrate the unique person within us all.”

Dyson Kilodavis © Brian Smale