Posts Tagged ‘poet

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:

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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

19
Feb
10

H.L. Hix photo in Boston Review

Look for my photo of the poet, critic, and philosopher H.L. Hix in the March issue of the Boston Review:

I photographed Harvey Hix in 2007 at his home in Laramie, Wyoming.

22
Oct
09

Photo of Poet Dean Young in POETS AND WRITERS

Check out the Dean Young article in the November/December 2009 issue of Poets and Writers magazine. That little photo of Young was cropped from this image:

Poet Dean Young, from the creative writing faculty at UT Austin

Poet Dean Young, from the creative writing faculty at UT Austin

As is now common, the photo credit was buried deep in the gutter between pages. I don’t quite understand why the production staff for magazines think the names of photographers are so objectionable, and need to be treated like eyesores.

14
Jul
09

Texas Monthly

Here’s a screenshot fromĀ Texas Monthly (August, 2008) including my portrait of poet and memoirist Nick Flynn. I was surprised to come across this photo in TM–they ran it without communicating with me at all. I took the photo in 2001 during a trip to Provincetown, Massachusetts (I photographed Stanley Kunitz, Marie Howe, and Jason Schinder on the same trip). Nick liked the photo, and I was happy to let him use it as a book jacket photo for his second volume of poetry. I don’t think I signed away any broader rights to the image, but since 2002 it has turned up in several places (usually credited, at least).

I’m delighted to have one of my photos in Texas Monthly, which is known for good photography and good writing. But I’m surprised that a well-established magazine with a professional staff would run a photo without first securing permission from the photographer. I suppose I might be compounding the problem by running this screenshot on my blog without getting permission from TM

Tech specs? Contax 645 with 80mm f2 Carl Zeiss lens, Profoto monolight with large Chimera softbox.

Nick Flynn in Texas Monthly

Nick Flynn in Texas Monthly