09 Jun Pulitzer Prize-winning photo editor, Stella Kramer, has a few questions for NYC photographer, Michel Delsol
Michel Delsol Q&A with Stella Kramer
A New York born and bred photo editor, consultant, and curator, Stella is a woman who I was introduced to by – my then husband-to-be, HJF Gallery photographer, Jason Florio, on one of my earlier trips to NYC, before relocating there from London, UK. SK has since become a great friend.
When it comes to all things photography, this woman certainly knows her stuff. Over the last few years, and countless early morning coffee meetings, photo exhibition openings, and dinners Chez Florios’, I have garnered much from SK’s years of experience in the often mercurial photo industry.
Therefore, I have a huge respect for her both as a person and in her profession, particularly in her encouragement to both emerging and established photographers, who have the good fortune to have her ear – and her eye! For consulting, editing, and curating services, contact Stellazine
So, thank you, my lovely friend, Stella, for agreeing to my request to come up with the questions for the HJF gallery photographers. Next up, we have Paris-born, New York-based, photographer, Michel Delsol.
S.K. : How did you get started?
M.D. : In university I had majored in Film Semiotics and Linguistics, however, I had also taken two photos classes, one with Roy DeCarava and one with Mark Feldstein. My University also had an internship program for which I applied during the last semester, I was fortunate to have been accepted by NY portrait photographer Arnold Newman and then later on by NY based still life photographer Michel Tcherevkoff.
S.K. : Who is your biggest influence?
M.D. : Mostly literary, Gaston Bachelard and Roland Barthes. In addition, music used to be a source of energy and meditation, from Glenn Gould’s Goldberg variations, Iggy Pop’s ‘Funhouse’ and Miles Davis through his various expressions. Although now, I prefer silence when preparing and producing photographs (more to come soon, in Blogging It, on this subject with Michel and his printing process). I am also inspired by the arts of pottery and the moss and stone gardens of Japan.
“A photograph is a photograph, a picture, an image, an illusion complete within itself, depending neither on words, reproductive processes or anything else for its life, its reason for being.” Roy DeCarava
S.K. : How do you promote your work?
M.D. : One set of phone calls every 3 to 5 years .
S.K. : Do you use social media/how?
M.D. : Not yet, although I recognize its importance and understand that I should be playing with it as well.
S.K. : What work have you seen that has blown your mind recently?
M.D. : I was in Tokyo, October 2015, one Sunday morning, when I walked by an unassuming sign that read ‘Photo gallery’. My wife, Haruko, and I walked up 4 flights of a narrow old staircase to a landing opening on a small gallery space with an adjoining office.
On the walls of the gallery, I totally fell in rapture with a color photograph of a long metal and rusted factory wall in winter, with icicles on its top rim. The wall seemed to be 10 feet tall and perhaps 70 feet long, the color originally of a forest green had been largely taken over by the orange rust color… at the bottom of the frame, the street was covered by thick snow and the sky was overcast gray. The street was empty and no birds were flying in the sky. The wall was most probably straight, but it felt like it had a soft undulation to it.
This photograph made me dream like some of Atget’s photographs – particularly the ones with the less easily beautiful subjects – because of its resonance of memory of a harsh melancholy, of life passing and gone, by revealing the essence of the material (earth, air, water, wood) and of time/weather.
Wonderfully, the photographer happened to be in the office (apparently, he usually not there on Sunday’s, in this Co-op gallery. But, the gallery attendant had called in sick that morning). We talked for close to two hours and he showed us a few of his earlier work in books … earlier work that is quite different, as it was a “Provoke” style of photography, with a subjective documentation of people, often marginal, outcasts or artists, photographed in a black/white grainy, quick, instinctive, soul deep manner.
The photographer’s name is Keizo Kitajima.
Upon our return to New York, I saw much of Keizo’s earlier work (70’s to 80’s) at the joint photo exhibition of Japanese photography, titled: ‘For a New World to Come‘ by the Japan Society and the Grey Art gallery of NYU.
Before leaving him on that Sunday, I asked my wife if she would take an iPhone photo of Mr. Kitajima and myself together, something he was not that keen on, but he said yes, probably due to my teenage-like-just-born-fandom for his work and personality!
Header image © Michel Delsol – ‘Les Crimes de L’amour’