Monday, January 18, 2010

So, so significant a loss.

My fingers know not where to begin touching the keys, I don't know how to begin, for today I must tell you that a friend and an historic figure in the world of Art and Photography, has passed away.

From the Obituary section of Sundays Saint Louis Post Dispatch. 

"Salinas, Marcel Charles the painter and one of the leading lithographerof the 20th century died peacefully in St Louis, MO at the age of 96. 
Born in Alexandria, Egypt of French parents; he started painting as a child.
Captivated by the masters, he went to Paris to study at the Ecole des
Beaux Arts and was a student of Andre Lhote. Mastering the techniques
of lithography, he acted as both teacher and collaborator with numerous
artists working at the various ateliers in Paris. Pablo Picasso
selected him to create his series of 29 lithographs of the: Portraits
Imaginaires. He also worked with Salvador Dali, Victor Vasserely and
Erte. After delving into the art of photography, Henri Cartier Bresson
referred to Marcel as, My Guru. Residing in many fine collections, this
prolific artist created several thousand works of art including:
paintings, drawings and lithographs."

You may remember my postings on a couple of different occasions 
regarding Marcel.  He was truly my most prized Portrait and it was 
such an honor and experience to have been in the right place at the

right time to meet and know this legend. He was not an especially 
cheery man, at least not during the time that I came to know him. 
But you could tell that he bore the enormous frustration that came 
with failing hearing and sight.  Here was a man, a mind, that was 
full of the past and had little or nothing go forward with over the 
next few years. After our session we talked at length about his 
background and the fond memories of those that had steered him 
and in turn those he had mentored (Henri Cartier Bresson among 
them, holy crap). He was still edgy about the politic of his birthplace, 
Egypt. What the obituary failed to mention was that before he began 
making his mark in the Art community, he was a lawyer and that 
part of his mind was still ripe with angst over the history of his 

The last time I saw him, I took him a promotional piece that I 
had created. It was his portrait that truly graced that small tome.  
I had the audacity to autograph it and inscribe a brief thanks for 
allowing me the privilege of photographing his being. He hadbeenmoved to a place, a home if you would, that would allow for someone 
to be around when he needed help. His room was lacking for 
anything of family or even any style or amenity that might say, 
here lives Marcel Salinas. They shades drawn because the bright 
light hurt his eyes. When I handed him the book, he stared hard 
so that he could see what images it contained and then he took 
his hand, rubbed and caressed it, look me in the eye and said, it 
is now the only book I have. I'll put it right here where I can see 
it best. 
 If I were to quit photography today, I would be satisfied 
that I had done something, something significant in my career, 
something thousands of others cannot say. 

Rest in peace my friend.

Shooting Stars

If you have lived in Saint Louis within the past 30 (at least) years, you probably have said at one time or another, "Did you read Berger's column this morning" or "Did you see who was was in Berger's column today?" Jerry Berger is truly an Icon here. For years he not only rubbed elbows with the significata but was the ultimate bestower of glory on the lot of wannabe recognized, citizens of this burb.  He used his own literal dictionary when writing his column and his style was unique among his kind. Plagued by the dreaded "C" malady, his writing days had been curtailed and only recently has he begun making a comeback on his own website/blog, It's a bare bones site that already has thousands of hits every week and the folks around this town have begun to embrace his work once again. I must confess, more than once, has he shown his light on my reputation and I'm greatful.  Here's to continued good health my friend.