Archive for July, 2012

“My book is a meditation on how to live. It’s an old-fashioned idea, but you should always try to do what you love to do.” ~ Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz’s recent photographic journey is a bold departure from her iconic portrait and fashion photography…published by Random House in 2011, “Pilgrimage” is a highly personal exploration of people, places and things that have significant meaning to the artist ~ a collection of handmade pastels by Georgia O’Keefe, the darkroom of Ansel Adams, Emily Dickinson’s only surviving dress…she captures their essence, their soul, without a face but with an intimate look at their beloved possessions…

Cactus and dogwood specimens pressed by Emily Dickinson as a girl

The astonishing natural power of America’s most famous geyser, Yellowstone National Park

A collection of handmade pastels in the O’Keefe Research Center in Santa Fe

A red hill behind O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, that looms large in her paintings

A glass negative of a multiple-lens portrait of Lincoln made on Feb. 9, 1864, by Anthony Berger at the Brady Gallery in Washington, D.C.

A door in the adobe patio wall of Georgia O’Keefe’s home in Abiquiu, N.M.

Emily Dickinson’s only surviving dress at the Amherst Historical Society in Amherst, Mass

Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance warehouse in Yonkers, N.Y.

Annie Oakley’s heart target ~ one of Oakley’s most popular stunts was shooting through the center of a small heart on a card from around 40 feet away

The darkroom in Ansel Adams’s home in Carmel, Calif., now owned by Mr. Adams’s son, Michael, and his wife, Jeanne, friends of Ms. Leibovitz

The gloves Abraham Lincoln wore the night he was assassinated

Sigmund Freud’s couch in his study at 20 Maresfield Gardens in London

All photographs by Annie Leibovitz from her book “Pilgrimage” ~ Resources  – NY Times, Vogue, Wall Street Journal, NPR

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Due to severe weather in my area yesterday, I lost my internet connection! So sorry I was unable to get a post published! All is well now, and luckily, we had no damage to our house or yard…sadly, the town next to us was devastated by a fierce micro burst leaving the streets and parks looking like a tornado had touched down…thank goodness for the sunshine and cool breezes today…

With thoughts of fashion and photography still fresh in my mind from Tuesday’s post, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my all time favorite fashion spreads ~ Kirsten Dunst photographed by Annie Leibovitz at Versailles for American Vogue…for me, it is a sublime coming together of talent, beauty, art and architecture…take for example the first image…my eye is drawn to the composition as a whole…not just the dress, the muse, or the setting, but to the entire photograph…it is a balanced, inventive and most importantly beautiful work of art that will surely stand the test of time…

Photographers Annie Leibovitz, Karl Lagerfeld, Steven Meisel, and Gilles Marie Zimmerman all found inspiration from the grace and elegance that is Versailles…please enjoy this marriage of fashion, photography and the one and only Versailles!

Annie Leibovitz for Vogue September 2006

Karl Lagerfeld for Harper’s Bazaar Romania November 2007

Steven Meisel for Vogue October 1994

Karl Lagerfeld for Tatler Russia July 2012

Gilles Marie Zimmerman for Paris Match March 2012

Karl Lagerfeld for Harper’s Bazaar June 2007

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These artful photographs, by Gerard Uferas, capture the creation of Dior’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 collection from concept to completion…much like the movie Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times/5 avenue Marceau Paris written and directed by David Teboul, Uferas offers us an intimate look at the creative process…his still images allow us to linger and savor the details…

To accompany this photographic journey is an eloquent interview with Uferas describing his own creative process and passion for photography and fashion

What story do your photographs recount?

The idea behind them was to follow the complete making of a collection, from the initial ideas to the final show. This common thread allowed us to recount the entire history of the house and transcribe the impression we all have that the spirit of Christian Dior still animates it, that his spirit is present throughout the collection. The lines he drew are still here, and they are a natural fit with my style of photography.

What did you see during your time at 30, avenue Montaigne?

First of all, I discovered that there is a true dialogue between the studio on the second floor and the ateliers on the fifth. Toiles, prototypes in white cotton canvas, pass between them like love letters. They are interpreted and in the end they tell a story! For me the palette was vast; I wanted to show the human element of the house. The moment when the première d’atelier (head of ateliers) places the sketches on the table and everyone chooses the one they find most inspiring. It has to be love at first sight – there is a true love relationship between a drawing and the couturière who brings it to life. And there also disappointment for those who see their dress cancelled because the color is off.

Many of your photographs are in black and white. Why did you choose this format?

When I started taking pictures, the ateliers were working on toiles : everything was white and I just couldn’t imagine working with an inexistent color. Black and white photography is a slight abstraction; like the toile, it is a bit removed from reality. So one focuses on structure. Color came into the story gradually, just as fabric replaces the toiles. Red made an appearance at the end of the collection, and it also appears toward the end of the exhibition.

What is the relationship between couture and photography?

Photography and fashion are cousins. Both are an applied art: even if the world around it is creative, the ultimate purpose of a dress is to clothe a woman. And that of a photo is to reveal a world. Good photography is a vehicle for emotion. Like a dress, it must be well-constructed. It must have a sense of proportion, a graphic concept and a sense of elegance.

photography by Gerard Uferas, interview from Dior

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classic dior

“Elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care and simplicity” ~ Christian Dior

Transparent fabrics, such as gauze and chiffon, feel lighter than air…50’s inspired silhouettes re-imagine classic Christian Dior…think fantasy, think romance, think beautiful…champagne anyone?

Highlights from Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 ~ designed by Bill Gaytten

photos from Christian Dior and by Alexis Dahan via W Magazine 

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summer wind

nothing compares the sight, scent, sound and feel of a summer wind…wishing you soft gentle breezes this weekend

July in VT ~ Wolf Kahn, 2012

Summer Wind by William Cullen Bryant

It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk
The dew that lay upon the morning grass;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervors: the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven–
Their bases on the mountains–their white tops
Shining in the far ether–fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer’s eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays his coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life! Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now
Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes;
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves!
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumbered sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,
And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring in his breath; a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and the borders of the brook,
Nod gayly to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break
Into small waves and sparkle as he comes.

The Tall Poplar Trees II ~ Gustav Klimt, 1900

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Ethereal brushstrokes bring long shadows and flowing water to life…take a relaxing stroll down a shady garden path or cool off next to the beauty of an ornate stone fountain…a taste of summer as seen through the eyes of John Singer Sargent

Spanish Fountain ~ John Singer Sargent, 1912

Florence Fountain, Boboli Gardens ~ John Singer Sargent, 1906-1907

Fountain at Bologna ~ John Singer Sargent, 1906

Shady Paths, Vizcaya ~ John Singer Sargent, 1917

Bologna Fountain ~ John Singer Sargent, 1906

Boboli Gardens ~ John Singer Sargent, 1907

A Marble Fountain at Aranjuez, Spain ~ John Singer Sargent, 1912

Villa di Marlia: Lucca ~ John Singer Sargent, 1910

Vase Fountain, Pocantico ~ John Singer Sargent, 1917

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On the heels of yesterday’s post, I thought you might enjoy a more intimate look at Robert Couturier‘s Connecticut garden…landscape designer Clive Lodge, of Cornwall, Connecticut, rose to the challenge of creating a miniature Versailles on ledge and in a cold climate…Lodge brought in 2,000 winter beauty boxwoods to create two parterres divided by an allee of clipped hornbeam…

“The challenge here was to run it into the woodland…it’s a blend, a complete contrast between ultra-formal and natural woodland…” ~ Clive Lodge from an interview with Luxe Interiors and Design, Winter 2011

“I love being here in the country…the dogs running around, the cozy fires, and the smell like wet ashes when you come into the house…I walk in the garden with the dogs all day long…” ~ Robert Couturier from an interview with House and Garden, June 2012

 “I use urns because they remind me of my grandfather’s house, which had a lawn that sloped down to a big lake. At the end of the terrace, where the lawn started, he had large marble urns that would frame the views. His white peacocks liked to perch and show off their beauty to whoever was around. To me, the image was of such perfect beauty, peace and timelessness that when the time came to punctuate my gardens with ornaments, urns were a natural choice. I do not use them in an orderly fashion. They are a personal decision based on my sensibilities and what I feel my gardens need. My inspiration throughout was French gardens. In France, our gardens are peppered with garden ornaments—they help civilize nature, and they tell stories about us.” ~ Robert Couturier from an interview with Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, June 2012

photos and resources from Luxe Interiors, House and Garden, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens and Veranda via Robert Couturier

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