I once told someone. That when I go to Paris , it is the only city where I am an alien where I feel that I belong there more than any other city in the world...I walk in to the city
since 1983 and always scream " I am here".
i am born bred raised and every other boy coming of Age experience As a beach person...suntanned and and drenched in the oceans wave and girls on the beach...but for me that Is not live able...it is a scene out of a movie....a good one...but...
but Paris for an hour is where I believe I am meant to be. To experience everything that life offers...it is an experience it is a visual palace...where I am as alive as my photography will let me be....
so the unexpected is my reward...photographing the artist Jean Helion
i arrive habitually late for my session with one of the last of a generation of surrealist artists
entering this world of artists it was sort of a goal to photograph as many people that sort of represented a style an idea a concept an agenda and intellectual property a game an adventure a movement to nowhere or a movement away form what what was..to something "is" ...I was after the living fathers of art history and everyone that followed them young and old...
Keith Haring was in his 20s, Basquiat was in his 20s and the world was talking about these prodigies and of course I was to photograph them as well...but history was my light force ...I want ed to capture the future past before it was someone else's recorded moment ...i wanted this to be my legacy...capturing art history
Helion was this moment this opportunity
winding the streets of Paris photographing...Cesar, Marcel Jean, Helion, searching for Dubuffet Matta capturing Andre Masson was in my mind what discovering art history should be
yes yes I could read and listen to their history but I wanted the moment where I walked into the studios of not just artists but art...I wanted to see the canvas...I wanted to be one to one`With what billionaires dealt with likes decks of cards and other collectors clammored to just have the art...to say they had the art...I wanted the art in my camera...I wanted my story
but sometimes my story...was what I expected... and then there were days where I saw the dekooning or Miro as my equal in age...I always looked forward to meeting these maestros as if we were all the same age...wow what a shake up it was sometimes when my hero was 90 or 100
so you can imagine that i was totally flummoxed but in Love when Helion's daughter still 20 years` my senior said
you know my father doesn't see but just a little...let me walk you over to him...
there he was his nose almost touching the canvas...a little many in a suit, tieless and a white shirt ...nipping and tucking art...
touching the canvase with a bit of blue( I guess) wow a bit of blue and glasses as thick as a door
i was so much in love with the moment... I was unaware of my camera weighting me down
at this moment as I write I am still the kid that impressions matter more than realities...yes these are my realities...so but so clouded in dreams...because this is the dream I wanted and it is here...I only had one wish..to be one on one with my camera with whatever stood before me...if there was more, then that might mean my life was a bit better than I expected...
apple and the iPhone never quite realized that, because they tried to give the experience to everyone...but it is not quite real...because it is a world of course but not a dream...it isn't open for debate...when you dream of the life the camera can see for you the mind's eye is so unique to the tool you are using...and here I am awash in colors life lived behind closed doors my experience my moment my capture...a life near the end a single shard of light...a cane and life's end...before my camera
he took my hand after his daughter walked me up to him...and we strolled the studio through his guidance he was my eyes into his creations...you have to keep reminding yourself that I am a kid in my eyes...wide eyes and just living a moment....there is Paris, drinks and and more just outside the studio....
I think I ended up photographing hundreds of artists...witnessing for me what it might be like to stand in front of a blank canvas and decide what is the first moment, what is it I want to play with? play at what it is... I want to say
this is not a Julian Schnabel 'hey look at me" this is something from the earliest cave men...this is prehistoric and every century after, making the most of who I am...this is my guess about the artist
Herbert Bayer once told me something like that...and I just loved the concept
after our coffee and our chat...the question slaps me across the face again...'shall we make your photograph Mr Schulman...!
for me it was always the conversation...
i snapped an image another...thinking about the light his glasses his art...but in the end
a mere 6- 10 frames later...I was even for me taken aback by why I was there...I was there to form a moment
and it was the saddest 125th of a second in my life...I just sort of looked at life disappearing before my eyes in the guise of this this fantastic little man whose 80 some odd years I cherished adored and the man himself who made me realize why I was in this moment
i asked him to follow me onto his bed...I took him by his hand and walked him to the side of the bed facing the window with his cane by his side
I delivered the saddest moment, death ...in my camera Jean Helion was disappearing into the light and beyond...I stood frozen with the thought that I would make some conjecture like that...
but it was the only moment that mattered...that life was over for him and that had to be my image...
my camera experienced death, the end of a life of an artist at the end being transported into the light and disappearing for good...an artists life at the end
i went up to him...and stroked his shoulders and told him I was done...
he whisked a tear from his eyes maybe guessing what I was thinking
he whispered..." but that was so fast...I hope you got what you wanted..."
35 years later the shot was the experience I discovered
i will never forget photographing death