I know that I use the word wonderful a lot. Still there is a wonderful set of images on MSN showing artists and writers in their studios at work. It is absolutely delightful! So I felt that I had to share it with all of you. And apropos of our discussion of how the photographs gives you admittance to another time and place, where you feel at some level to be interacting with the artist, here you feel like you are meeting these people in the flesh – despite the fact that many of them are long gone to us. Such is the magic of photography. (Psst! I say that a lot too!) I’ve got several favorites among these. First is a portrait of Ansel Adams working in his studio on a print in 1968. Second, is an intensely personal picture of David Hockney painting on the floor of his studio in 1967. And finally, out of deference to a certain reader Hunter S. Thompson in his studio in 1996.
We learn that these geniuses are just like us. Some are neat-niks and some are slob-niks. In some cases the studio is austere and nearly empty. In other cases it is cluttered and reminiscent of what Joseph Campbell referred to as mythic ruins. I have included as Figure 1 a similar type of picture of American Sculptor Daniel Chester French in his studio in 1920. This image is more posed than the images in the series, but still presents and intimacy with the artist and places him among the relics of his own creation – relics that mimic the monumental and the classic.