My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Thinking About my Father

My father died in a mountain accident in 1996, he was 60. He fell from the trail. It was the first summer of his retirement. He worked a lot until he retired and he talked about all the things he would be able to do once he'd retired. He did not get the time.

I realized I needed to do the things I wanted to do (even more than before).
I decided to go to the places I had meant to go to for years. I was an artist and a freelance graphic designer, and I could organize my time. I was 34, I had no children. I spent almost everything I earned at the time in travels. I went to places by myself, I met the people I wanted to meet.

Since then, I believe I live more in the present (I guess I was already on that path before). I enjoy my choices. I have no regrets.
I left Paris after spending more than 20 years there, without dwelling too much on what this separation would mean for my artistic career and what it would mean to start over far away from what I've known for years.
I left, that's all.

After Paris, moving to Texas...

...and then to Virginia

Shenandoah National Park, VA

I do not think years ahead.

I am truly enjoying what I have, my family, my friends and the fact that I am lucky enough to do what I absolutely love to do: working on my images and participating in interesting exhibitions. I am healthy enough. It is a miracle.

The best friend of a very good friend of mine, 40, is fighting a nasty brain cancer right now. She goes to the hospital every other day. Her daily life completely shifted almost overnight. Me, I can go see exhibitions, walk in the streets, take pictures.

When I was 28, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to be the creative director of a team of 20 people in a large corporate design company, Landor, in Paris. This great experience gave me the chance to see what power means from the inside. And how power was such an important ingredient. I saw and learned a lot. The relative power I had at that time - and the money - did not bring any more peace or happiness to me. I quit after two years, and I had no desire to look for anything like that again. Being freed from the race for power rather early, I spent my time doing other things.

For example,
during the following summers, I spent some weeks in the mountains at 6000 feet, with a team of archeologists, helping to catalog scattered engraved rocks. I was not paid for that work. But I totally loved it. There was no goal in doing this, only the pleasure to be in that mountain I loved and to be part of an exciting adventure for a period of time. Learning, seeing, sharing.

Bandelier National Monument, NM

Las Golondrinas, NM

Shortly after that period, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for three months. I was interested in seeing petroglyphs and Anasazi dwellings. With maps, good shoes and water I visited quite a few sites (sometimes helped by a ranger giving me some advice about being alone in the middle of nowhere). About the petroglyphs, I knew that an extensive research was conducted by Polly Shaafsma, a research associate of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology of the Museum of New Mexico. I called her and met her. She proposed to me to come with her and she showed me beautiful petroglyphs in remote canyons. Those are amazing memories.

I knew that in the College of Santa Fe there was a very good printmaking center. I went there and they liked my work enough (I brought some images with me) that I was able to come every day for quite a long period of time, and I just paid for the material (paper and ink). There, I met very interesting artists, like Stan Berning, who, at the time, was working on giant prints - on a giant press. I very much enjoyed the experience. And I went back the following year.

Three Rivers, 17 miles north of Tularosa, NM

I also wanted to go back to Arizona (an area I went to a few years before with my sister). I exchanged some house sitting in Santa Fe for a free borrowed car. I went South, via Albuquerque. I got lost in White Sand Dune at night, spent an amazing evening with the photographer Bernard Plossu and his wife in their house in Las Cruces, went to Cochise Stronghold, and Bisbee, and a few ghosts towns, was stopped several times by the border patrol ("What are you doing alone around here?"). In Roswell, where I saw the most amazing storm skies, I inquired about an artist residence and visited the place.

I did all this just because I wanted to and because, amazing luxury, I could do it.

I have no plans. But I try to make each day count. It does not mean I am always doing stuff. It means watching a lot, too.

No comments: