Archive for December, 2009


December 28, 2009


On December 16th I watched Jim Cameron’s Avatar in the Mk2 cinema on the banks of the Seine at Porte de Bercy in the middle of the Bibliothèque Nationale complex.  A couple of hours before, Bernard Benoliel and Laurent Mannoni of the Cinémathèque Française, had picked me up at Charles de Gaulle Airport and we decided to see Avatar which opened in France two days before it’s opening here.  I was invited by the Cinémathèque to give a talk during their 3D film series of screenings. When I sat down to watch Avatar in the Mk2 theater, I must have had three hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours. I was beginning to go into a jet lag fugue, and watching Avatar under these conditions was like watching a dream world in a trance.   (more…)

Christmas in Beverly Hills

December 23, 2009

Would that it snowed,

and sleigh bells rang out,

and all men were greeted

with love and good cheer,

and the lost and homeless

were treated like kin.

Christmas in Beverly Hills,

so near yet so far;

Christmas in Beverly Hills,

or some distant star.


December 13, 2009

When I lived in Queens between the ages of 15 and 18, attending Flushing High School, I lived on a street called Kisenna Boulevard.  Today the co-op apartments on the street are inhabited by Chinese people.  When I went back to Flushing a couple of years ago to settle my mother’s affairs, I discovered that the neighborhood was a more interesting place with Chinese restaurants and shops, and now Main Street was teeming with people, like downtown Shanghai, I imagined.  When I was a boy I lived in what was primarily a Jewish neighborhood and  I spent a lot of time visiting my school mate Michael Miller’s apartment, also in the co-op. Michael’s father and mother were well-educated lefties and their home was filled with books and magazines.  What attracted me most was the pile of Popular Photography magazines, which I devoured.  I knew only a little bit about photography, but I had started taking pictures when I was 12. I became a surrogate member of the Miller family and hung out there many hours – and a good part of the time I spent reading those old copies of Popular Photography which, by hook or crook, taught me a lot about technical photography.  Little did I know that someday I would be an editor at Popular Photography. (more…)