Blog #174 9/8/16
For many happy years, Beverly and I lived and worked in a 5000 sq ft loft located in Manhattan’s SOHO neighborhood, at the corner of Prince St and West Broadway. Our neighbors in the co-op building were all working artists (a condition of ownership), the most famous and distinguished of whom was Alex Katz, the great American painter, who, with his wife Ada – a frequent subject of his work – occupied the top floor of the five-story building.
On occasion, Katz and I met going in or out of the building, and one day, on an impulse, I asked if he would “sit” for a portrait. Without any hesitation, he said, “Sure.”
The first thing I needed to do was to “scout” his studio in order to figure out if I could make something both creative and meaningful there, or if we needed to shoot in my studio where I had complete control.
Alex Katz in his studio
I went upstairs and saw that he was working on a few different things, one of which was a series of nudes. PERFECT! I proposed that we photograph him in his studio with paintings of nudes and a living nude model in the background. He said he thought that concept was a great idea; I hired a model and we set to work.
I photographed pages from a book of his nude paintings and overlaid those pictures onto canvases he had in his studio. Then I made portraits of him sitting in a paint-encrusted chair and directed the model, Alyona, to walk casually around the studio.
When I delivered the finished print (below), he was very pleased with it and donated it to the Colby College Art Museum in Maine, where he and Ada vacation in the summer.
Alex Katz in his studio with his works and the model, Alyona, prowling about.
During the shoot, Katz, turned around to have a peek now and then (how could he not!?) and she caught him once, and burst out laughing.
Encouraged, I asked him if he would work with me on one of my “Beauty/Body” projects. A key concept for this project was to use the model’s body as a canvas. I invited him to participate in the project, to paint a model and the background.
And he agreed—next weeks’ Blog is devoted to that day..
Alex Katz places his first “dot.” See next week’s Blog for the others (dots).
Glitterati Incorporated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14” print of the buyer’s choice.