|Irving Penn's camera, Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2017|
THERE ARE FEW PHOTOGRAPHERS THAT I'D GET ON A PLANE TO SEE. Irving Penn and Chris Buck are the only two I can think of right now, so last week I took a quick trip to New York City to see the Irving Penn Centennial show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my old friend Chris Buck.
It was a pilgrimage - a follow up to the one Chris and I made just after he moved to New York, over twenty-five years ago, to gaze upon the door of the still-living-and-working Penn's studio. Appropriate to a pilgrimage there was a reliquary - Penn's Rolleiflex, on display in a glass vitrine - and a shroud of sorts in the shape of one of Penn's studio backdrops, helpfully available for Instagram and selfies.
|Chris Buck in front of Penn's backdrop, Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2017|
|Rick in front of Penn's backdrop, photo by Chris Buck|
It was the most purposeful trip I've ever taken to New York; my only objectives were the Penn show and an extended hang with Chris in his adopted hometown. So no shopping, no business, and no visits to any of the attractions I still haven't seen yet for some reason, like the High Line, the Cloisters or the WTC Memorial.
It was a good thing that I'd set aside time for two visits to the Penn show, because I learned that my old friend Chris takes gallery shows at a gallop and does a running commentary while he does. The Penn show was crowded, so our visit there together ended up being like a scene from a French film where subtitles rattle past like a news crawl. No matter - I'd have the next day to take in Penn at my leisure.
|Upper East Side & Central Park, NYC, June 2017|
In the song "Venus de Milo," Tom Verlaine of Television (one of my favorite NYC bands) sang "Broadway looks so medieval." I wasn't near Broadway for this trip, but Central Park and the neighbourhood around the Met certainly looked medieval on the morning I went back to see the Penn show.
The Met was quiet when I arrived, the Penn show almost deserted. I took out my camera and set about one of my favorite camera pastimes lately - shooting people as they look at art. As an aside, New Yorkers - and people visiting New York - are for some reason less self-conscious when a camera is pointed at them than Torontonians, who require more stealth to capture unawares. Also, the Met is a bloody fantastic museum.
|Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, June 2017|