I have lots of filing cabinets, crowded with 120 chromes, 35mm slides, strips of 120 and 35mm b&w negatives, contact sheets and Polaroid 665 negs. A long time ago I realized that although I had taken all the pictures, there are discoveries to be made in those drawers–it’s like an archaeological dig into my own work. Sometimes I find shoots I’d forgotten; sometimes looking at a shoot, I realize that the image chosen was not the best one and the right image has been waiting to be acknowledged, sometimes for years.
Digital has taken over and while smaller than the filing cabinets, the external hard drives are now nearly as numerous and continue to proliferate. And suddenly the LaCie Big 4 seems to hold things I hadn’t thought of or seen in a while. A few days ago, looking for something else (which is invariably the way I make my best discoveries), I came across a video shot during a Village Voice cover shoot I did with Christian Bale and Todd Haynes, prior to the opening of “Velvet Goldmine.” (Amy Taubin wrote the cover story.)
Earlier that day, also for the Voice, I had shot John Cale, infinitely famous for having been part of The Velvet Underground, holding a raven (stuffed, borrowed from the Museum of Natural History). When Christian Bale asked me about other shoots I’d recently done, I mentioned John Cale and said, “Today I’m photographing people who have made amazing work that somehow involves the word velvet.” He instantly asked, “So when will Elizabeth Taylor arrive?”
I think the video shows what a fun day it was, which ended with everyone watching a video that Todd had brought of William Shatner’s dramatic (and unintentionally comic) rendition of “Rocket Man.” And there were lots of great people, including my friend Meg Handler, then photo editor of the Voice, Julie Tustin (who worked for Miramax and is now SVP Publicity at Paramount), and makeup artist Efrat Acharkan.
Of course I have a “will win/should win” list for tomorrow’s Oscars, but the only prediction I’ll make here is Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actor, for “The Fighter.”