Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Thing about William Coupon, Signed Autographs and meet me at the Corner of Spring and 5th at 3:30 am

I'm in LA which means models which means costumes which means no sleep.  Sleeping and not now snoring in her own bed is Audrey and we're west of Banning and its been a long long 26 hours. She's a light brown skinned beauty that can do anything (and knows she can do anything). I've known her since I first moved to LA and she had broke apart from Mr. X. I met her through Scotland Bob, the large format people photographer. And now, five years later, after Paris, after Indonesia, after... Audrey is again downtown LA. First time I saw her she was sprinting through her job at the Wine Bar next to Pete's in 2007, saving people's lives (in a sense).
I always wished to capture on film her animal- like nighttime behavior but have only gotten snipents. Watching old time movies during a series of rainy days, sitting on my brown leather couch and she in high waisted white cotton underwear from the waist down. But she's not a "model". Or not only a model.
This time I suggested tortoises and she told me to pick her up after work at 3:30 am Tuesday nite.
My friend Robert Villa helps run a tortoise preserve north of Mojave and east of California City. We started out eating Denny's near Palmsdale before dawn and ended the day eating at 9 pm at Denny's near Banning with a man named Manuel, a truck driver originally from Costa Rica. Both times, fried egg sandwich with a slice of cheddar on rye toast and fries on the side with mustard.


I love to cook outdoors. Here we are in Jawbone Canyon cooking sausage lunch





one sausage wasn't enough




note the realistic looking fly


Pat (parking area tortoise) raced out her hole at about 2" per hour. It was beautiful...it was zen but very different from swimming with the turtles in Hawaii. Underwater they were huge and displaced water and moved at the speed of the aliens in Fifth Element.  Pat was in no hurry and currents weren't moving her. I enjoy waiting but the pressure of the everyday world was great.

When we arrived at 6 am (Robert had said the turtles come at when its cool and go back inside when its hot so its best to get there early) Robert wasn't stirring. When he opened his trailer door he smiled and gave me the finger.



We walked out from the trailer headquarters and met Pat.



Robert was busy coaxing by patting the earth with his open palm.










Audrey and I waiting patiently for Pat to crest









I decided to wait until Pat's broke the surface. But that never happened. when I was driving back from Key West last month I saw a turtle crossing the road. I stopped and saved its life by taking it by hand across the road.


when I did my "Way Out West" room at the Monticello, Robert Villa brought into my desert diaroma 
2 baby tortoises, 2 rattle snakes and 2 gila monsters. Here are my two friends Gino and Angie Balasari


Robert helped me greatly on the "Way Out West" desert room and at one point 
me, Heather and Robert went for Mexican nearby dinner.




turtle time




we humans retreated to our vehicles




The thing about William Coupon is can shoot. We had kids about the same time (mid 1980's) and kept running into each other at Loy Taubman, a color lab near my studio on Park ave and 28th st. He reminded me of Clarabelle and dressed characteristically. He was an extremely successful commercial photographer and I was not. He has an uncanny ability to be THE perfect distance from his subject. He was renowned in the 1980's for his square format portraits against his painted textured cloth backgrounds. Besides distance, he was a master at dealing with clients. I never was. Once he hired us to be a "typical" family for a Westinghouse ad. It paid our way to weeks in Wales one summer. I watched him turn slightly the client in order for the client to accept the way he was going to shoot us.
My point is he came to visit but not to stay and we explored the desert and he shot with his 1phone and again his shots were distinctive. He shot inside my crazy house-details and long shots thenas we were pulling away he stopped and did a shot of the placid exterior remarking that no one would believe or know what was inside. He is very right about that.



(copyright William Coupon . www.williamcoupon.com)


my breakfast nock succulents 


George Clooney



above my kitchen table some of my mom's things, some of mine


2 sides of one living space






































Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Your Typical Bus Station Javelina*

That's a fine line from Denis Johnson who has kept me company for thousands of miles in the past month. Either from his "Nobody Move" (2009)  or "Tree of Smoke" (2007) read by Will Patton. (I did Denis Johnson's portrait for some NY downtown publication 30 yrs ago. I got nothing from the man. Nothing like the power I hear from him mile after mile.)
Anyway last week I got an email from someone wanting information then wanting some prints from me but it never felt right. He wanted to have me send him more and more jpegs until finally I said unless he bought then..."he exploded that I was pressuring him....that he intended to buy 20 or thirty prints then hung up. A typical javelina move and I don't know this guy from Adam.
Today a former border guard came by and spent some money and that kept the lites on, my grin back on my face, and some chicken wings at Pho. Life is grand in the desert.
Brenna is a beauty I have known since coming to Tucson but never spent time with. She struck as someone cautious and weary. At one point I told her about the Yaqui Indian Easter 40 festival that happens in 4 villages in and around Tucson and a year later she called me and last week I took her. She's half Yaqui and had never seen any of this extra ordinary pagan ceremony. A week later we decided to shoot. We had plans but she's got a fab 8 yr old daughter, Anastasia and lives with her boyfriend and daughter at the opposite side of town and the sun was going down. She suggested we shoot in a nearby river bed-arroyo. Brenna is a former Arizona pole dancer champion and we wanted a tree for her to hang from.
We went under the bridge and the place was littered with funky sleeping bags of the homeless but no homeless. Reminded me of Dylan's line "When you got nothing...you got nothing to lose". The homeless were unafraid to leave their things open and available and go "out". Brenna climbed and balanced and stood on her head and held herself up with her strong arms and then into the arroyo rode two chicanos. Without consulting Brenna I asked if she could sit on one of the horses NAKED. She had done very little riding but got naked and got up there and even STOOD up there. My favorite shot is the horse rider politely taking a shot while hiding his face. They were very nice. She was spectacular in her '50's pin-up look. It helped that she had a black bush and not baby bare. One never knows what one will collaberate on from one minute to the next.





one knows about the way women are with horses. The way she loosened her bra and sauntered over to him.





Then she stood up. what a (beautiful) show-off. I was willing to try it but the sun was going down.


beautiful but

I prefer the headless guy with camera.


If the headless photographer and his buddy would email me their photos I won't id who took the shots but put them up on this blog. thanks kroll@well.com