Posts Tagged ‘writer

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:

30
Apr
10

Lopez on Woodruff: The final episode of Bill Moyers Journal

Tonight, PBS will air the very last episode of Bill Moyers Journal, the end of a more than 30-year run. I was honored when the program contacted me to request permission to use some of my photos on this final broadcast. The show will include an interview with the National Book Award winning author, Barry Lopez, who I visited and photographed in his Oregon home in 2007. In the interview, Lopez will discuss the ideas and influence of the philosopher Paul Woodruff, particularly in the book Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. Woodruff is my dear friend and mentor, so I’m really looking forward to watching the interview.

One of my photos of Barry Lopez, at his home in Oregon

Lopez's home is surrounded by old growth forrest

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.

13
Jul
09

USA Today

I made some portraits of Irish American novelist Colum McCann last year when he came to Austin to give a reading. His publisher (Random House) bought the rights to use one of the photos on the jacket of his new book, Let the Great World Spin. Subsequently, the photo has also been appearing alongside reviews of the new book, like this one in a recent issue of USA Today.

I’m not sure whether it was the book publisher or the newspaper that decided to crop off the sides of McCann’s face, but somebody (not me) decided he would look better with no ears.

I haven’t read the book yet, but his previous novels and short stories have been great, so I am eager to get my hands on this one.

Tech info: Contax 645 with Fuji C 220 film. 140mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss lens with Contax extension tube. Photographed with natural light.

My photo of author Colum McCann

My photo of author Colum McCann