Posts Tagged ‘photo

10
Aug
11

Congratulations to Philip Levine, the 18th United States Poet Laureate

I met and photographed Philip Levine in 2001, when he was teaching poetry at New York University, where I was a grad student. Levine is one of my favorite poets. His books What Work Is and The Simple Truth are terse, readable monographs that use plain language strikingly.

In the classroom, Levine had a reputation as an honest — simetimes harshly honest — critic. When a friend of mine submitted a poem to his workshop for critique, several of her peers took turns praising one particularly beautiful line. Levine listened patiently to all the congeatulationd, then offered his own blunt assessment: “It’s a fine line,” he said. “Why don’t you put it in a poem?”

I asked Levine if I could photograph him, and he agreed, on the condition that it wouldn’t take long and wouldn’t be overly complicated. I followed him around the Village while he ran errands. We talked while I shot one roll (16 frames) of medium-format black-and-white film with my Contax 645. Here are a few of the resulting photographs of Philip Levine:

This image is available for license: info@mattvalentine.com

Levine succeeds W.S. Merwin as US Poet Laureate. The two men are both outstanding writers, each with a totally unique style. I had the opportunity to photograph Merwin in 2005:

01
Jul
10

Congratulations to W.S. Merwin

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner W.S. Merwin was today named United State Poet Laureate. My photo of him was used in the Library of Congress press release, and has subsequently appeared in lots of media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the London Daily Telegraph, the NPR website, CBS News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, PBS, and um . . . elsewhere. A few places credited the photo as “AP”, although I did not shoot it for the Associated Press. When I have some time, I’ll write at a little more length about wire services and photo credits.

My photo as it appeared in the LA Times

My photo as it appeared in the Washington Post

02
Dec
09

Being Seen: Photographing the Blind

Check out my article about photography of blind subjects. This is my first contribution to Viz, the online journal of visual studies for the Department of Rhetoric at UT Austin.

30
Oct
09

Happy Halloween from the pets

Sometimes pets have to confront the harsh reality of their station in life. They exist mostly for our amusement. In a local big-box superstore, Suzi found a whole aisle of pet costumes for Halloween. We discovered that if you dress Murphy up like a chicken, he is so confused that he will not move. You can even offer him a treat and call his name from across the room, but he will just stand there sadly and whimper:

Murphy as a chicken

Murphy looking confused in his chicken costume

He tolerates the hotdog costume better, and he’ll wander around the house in this outfit. It’s hysterical to see a big hotdog walk by:

Murphy as a hotdog

Murphy as a hot dog

Our male cat, Dexter, is scared of his costume, so he purrs incessantly, hoping his affection will save him:

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Dexter in a chicken hat

Sophie, on the other hand, is more articulate in expressing her displeasure:

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Sophie in a pumpkin costume