It’s a strange thing how we play along here on the web with our personalities and anonymity. Over time one develops a kind of internet alter ego, this figura or persona may be close to the real existing person or not, that’s an individual thing. Like an actor and his role.
Ed O’NEILL (Ger., Eng.), better known as “Al Bundy” (Ger., Eng.), once said that there is something of his own personality in the artificial persona (pretty much in fact), but it would be totally wrong to identify them. O’NEILL’s crux is – as it was and is for many other actors – that he always will be “Al Bundy” in the public eye. Whatever this “public eye” may be ; possibly a bored gossip writer in a sleazy newsroom … Would it be more convenient to imagine this writer awfully drunk or badly hung over ?
Of late I was trawling some gossip sites and looked at youtube and stuff, and always some person wanted to stick their tongue at me or hold their arse into my direction. Yes, I may be terribly behind and out of date – it’s all so last February.
But nevertheless,  the columns of the Daily Gossip for example are full of big arses of women, who are famous for having big arses. And other people, stars, starlets or F-celebrities, stick their tongues out. Or take photographs of themselves with other people in the picture (not so much, it’s only distracting, innit?) displaying body parts, trying desperately to be “sexy”, “erotic” or “interesting” – basically it’s just a cry for attention: I am here ! I am alive ! I live when you watch me. I am dead when you look away.
Sounds a bit like a robot program, perhaps for injured people, that only works when it’s needed and goes into hiding when it’s not called upon. Press the button (didn’t seventies mafia killers refer to themselves as “button men” ?), or simply look into this direction, and the arse twerking, tongue sticking, fake tanned bronzed zombie will shake whatever is there to shake. Or will pervert & reduce the fine art of self-portrait to “taking” a “selfie”. Like NIKE, the Greek deity of victory, was reduced to a hook on a gymnastic shoe.

Sometime in 1959 Saul STEINBERG (Ger., Eng.) took a brown paper back and draw an expression on it. Then he put it on his head. Inge MORATH* (Ger., Eng.) took some photographs. It’s called the “Mask Series“.
I am not STEINBERG ; the photographer is not MORATH – so whatever it’s worth, here is my “selfie”, tongue-less and twerk-free.




I fear I am a sorry old geezer now. But on the other hand I may only be in a mood. And because I am in a mood, here is some music to enjoy, all twenty minutes of it: Listen to Mr HALL, Mr DESMOND, and floating above them all, Mr. BAKER.

And whoever feels the need to stick out a tongue … shake their arse to me … oh dear … we’ve already seen it, darling … “eros” means not ramming it into the audience’s face !
But, on the other hand – I’m just another idiot with a paper bag on his head.

Vroum !

* I wrote about her and her picture of “Ms. Nash” here.

Interesting Women: Inge Morath

Yesterday evening I had a mind to look in a picture book and grabbed a copy of the 1986 Aperture edition of “Portraits. Photographed by Inge Morath”.
Inge MORATH (1923-2002) (Ger., Eng.) worked as  MAGNUM-photographer, first after CAPA (Ger., Eng.) had invited her and Ernst HAAS  (Ger., Eng.) 1949 as editor. She worked with the pictures CARTIER-BRESSON (Ger., Eng.) sent in:

“I think that in studying his way of photographing I learned how to photograph myself, before I ever took a camera into my hand.”

The classical way, learn from the masters by studying their work  and skill. She first took the assignments the “big boys” of the agency did not want to do – most of them were interested in war photography, CAPA especially, and MORATH refused to photograph war. One result of such an early assignment about the residents of Soho and Mayfair is the picture of Mrs. Eveleigh NASH from 1953.


In the aforementioned book from 1986 MORATH tells about her meeting with Mrs. NASH:

“I had noticed Mrs. Nash a few times walking near Curzon Square in London. She was rather short, enveloped in a large ankle-length mink coat, and she wore a hat that no doubt had been created especially for her. I managed to meet her and, naturally, told her that I would very much like to photograph her. She obliquely said that she quite regularly drove out to get a breath of fresh air and that she often stopped somewhere in Buckingham Palace Mall at about three in the afternoon. I went a few times to look for her, but there was no trace of her;  I decided to go just once more before I gave up. It was a slightly foggy day and there she was, in a big open car with her hat and her fur coat and a lap robe, the chauffeur standing watch. I ran toward her, silently praying that she would not move, but she had seen and acknowledged me and sat there with graceful patience as I waited for two passersby in the background to arrive at the right spot. She thought a couple of shots were quite enough and made me get into the car and join her for the rest of the afternoons outing.
When I showed her the picture she liked it and invited me to tea in her apartment on Charles Street. The apartment was big and dark. In the hall stood a number of pots with avocado trees grown from the pits of that fruit which she had planted herself and for which she obviously had a passion. She told me that her husband had died, that she now introduced debutantes at court, and that she had written an English-German dictionary through First World War for the use of British soldiers who might get lost in Germany. * Indoors she wore a big hat, too, and black net gloves. She was willing to pose with a picture of herself as a ravishing debutante in one hand and a portrait of herself as a young woman behind her.
Once I had lunch with Mrs. Nash at the Ritz and she leaned over to ask, “Why do these people stare at me so? Do you think I put on too much rouge?”
I grew very fond of Mrs. Nash and was saddened to read in a paper a few years later that she had died sitting in bed and looking at some of her jewelry.”

* This book was published in a new edition 1940.

I am sure that Mrs. Nash’s rouge was perfect.

In some online publications Mrs. Nash is called “a publisher” – obviously she is mistaken for this man. Inge MORATH did wonderful portraits, she was always interested in humans and met them with respect. I admire her for her ability to transport this respect and friendliness into the picture.

P.S. Her heritage is managed by the Inge Morath Foundation.