There is a season, turn, turn, turn. I knew the words, sung by Roger (nee James Joseph) McGuinn and The Byrds, unaware (in my then general ignorance of the Bible) that they were from the Book of Ecclesiastes–or even knowing of Ecclesiastes. But I did know that Pete Seeger had paired the verses with his music in the late 50s and that the song called for peace.
And I suppose the words, “there is a season,” are true. I shot for the Village Voice for a couple of decades–portraits, the art page, restaurants, fashion still life, and eventually covers. Legendary photo editor and photographer Fred W. McDarrah (who became a close friend) had hired me when it was unclear to me if I actually could call myself a photographer. (My long-running joke is “If Fred hadn’t hired me, I’d have a real job by now.”) But I hadn’t worked at the paper in a long time, not since a year or so after the seismic shift (the purchase of the Voice by New Times), and didn’t expect future assignments.
The Voice recently moved from its Cooper Square offices to a building near Wall Street (coincidentally my gynecologist’s office is at the same address). My old and good friend Jesus Diaz, an art department survivor, rescued contacts, negs prints and chromes that I had inadvertently abandoned years earlier in my over-stuffed filing cabinet drawer in the photo department. He phoned, we made a plan for lunch.
An hour after I got home with my big plastic bag full of history, Jesus emailed, asking if I’d ever shot Spike Lee. And if not, although the Voice had been told he wouldn’t be available for a shoot, would I like to try to arrange to photograph Spike for the cover.
I had attempted (unsuccessfully) to shoot Lee before–once for Premiere magazine, once for my show at Lincoln Center (which was part of the 2006 New York Film Festival). But there’s “a time for every purpose” and charming, helpful Chanelle James at Cynthia Swartz’s Strategy PR made the shoot happen, during the junket for “Oldboy” (which opens on November 27).
One of my portraits of Spike is on the cover (elegantly designed by Tom Carlson, editorial design director, Voice media group) of this week’s Village Voice, accompanying film editor (and friend of my dear friend Jeff Weinstein’s) Alan Scherstuhl’s piece. Turn, turn, turn.