One of my favorite interviewers of all time is James Lipton. He always ends his interviews with his list of Top 10 Questions. As part of our 25 year gallery celebration and exhibition What I Was Thinking, I thought it would be great to ask a few photographers to answer his list of 10 questions. Each week we will post a different photographer’s response to the list of questions. But I will start us off. Here is my response to James Lipton’s Top 10 Questions:
1. What is your favorite word? Facacta
2. What is your least favorite word? Curate
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Intelligence, passion & honesty
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Ambivalence and ignorance
5. What sound or noise do you love? Silence
6. What sound or noise do you hate? Cicadas
7. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Lawyer
9. What profession would you not like to do? Gardener
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You should have believed in me
lauren e. simonutii (1968-2012)
It is with great grief, a heavy heart and profound disbelief that I find myself writing this email to let you know that Lauren passed away last week due to complications from her illness. As many of you know, I found Lauren’s work to be the most honest photography I have ever seen. She gained my respect instantly, as she welcomed me into her home, where she created small intricate tableaus that invited the viewer into her imaginary world, laying bare her fears, hopes and pain.
Through her photography, Lauren gave a voice to those that suffer in isolation. Her life mattered, and her legacy has yet to be written. She will forever be in my heart, and while she may have felt alone, she always believed that her photographs would be her lasting memory – the one gift she would leave.
My heart goes out to her family and the people whose lives she touched. She was a brilliant writer, with great clarity. She wrote often about her struggles, and it would only be fitting to give Lauren the last words:
Sometimes the difference between living and dying is just a little bit.
Sometimes the difference between living and dying is just a sigh.
Over (five) years I have spent alone amidst these 8 rooms, 7 mirrors, 6 clocks, 2 minds and 199 panes of glass. And this is what I saw here. This is what I learned. I figure it could go one of two ways- I will either capture my ascension from madness to as much a level of sanity for which one of my composition could hope, or I will leave a document of it all, in the case that I should lose. — Lauren E. Simonutti
As some of you may know, Herman Leonard passed away on Saturday, August 14, in Los Angeles, at the age of 87. I first met Herman and showed his work in 1990, as part of his traveling exhibition “The Eye of Jazz.” Over the past twenty years we have shared many laughs and countless stories. While Herman was a fantastic photographer whose images of the golden age of jazz are permanently seared into the public’s conscious, he was also an amazing person, who smiled easily and always saw the good in people. My last visit with Herman was in April. I wanted him to know how much I loved him and how important he was to the gallery. I have been very fortunate to know Herman and can still hear his amazing voice. He will be greatly missed by people throughout the world who came to know him through his photographs and by those of us who had the good fortune to call him a friend.
There have been many beautiful pieces written about Herman. I hope you will take the time to read the following two. My heartfelt condolences go out to Herman’s family and friends. We lost a great photographer and a beautiful man whose joy for life was infectious. May we all learn from his example – Catherine (or Cathy baby, as Herman would say)