I saw him speak tonight, he spoke about 9 of photos, including Lusty Spring (Angelina Jolie), Michael Jackson with the Devil, that hamburger photo above (for an Italian Vogue ed he said for shoes), and few others. He was actually nice. He said he quit photography altogether a few years ago, moved to Maui and was living in a nudist colony and farming.
I got the impression, and he outright said, that he found the magazine world increasingly restrictive and found that he couldn't reconcile his own artistic wants and beliefs with what the editors and magazines wanted anymore. He's since moved away from only celeb and fashion stuff and his other work now is more allegorical. He implied that the lifestyle was too difficult to maintain, and referenced various problems with his eds in Italian Vogue. I got the impression he was burnt out by fashion magazine work. It also seems like he's done a lot of traveling recently. He spoke about visiting gold and diamond mines in South Africa and is now in China. He also said Madonna was just awful to work with, horrible, several times I wanted to ask him how Courtney is to work with, but didn't have enough time.
Last edited by lollicandy; 26-11-2009 at 10:35 AM.
In Beijing, in a small expat coffee/bookshop. He was surrounded by handlers that wanted him finished in exactly one hour but he stayed later than that to answer questions and even stayed after to sign everyone's posters and brochures. He will have a retrospective in June of 2010 at a gallery in Beijing and has come to check out Beijing and speak at a few places. Apparently, the "devil" in the Michael Jackson photo is really an acrobat from Cirque du Soleil whom he is friends with and told David about Beijing. The "devil" guy had actually helped train performers for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
If anything else comes to mind that he said of interest I'll post it here. Someone actually told him "I don't know anything about you! Did you ever shoot color film?" Wow.
*Forgot, he spoke about an ed he did for Italian Vogue shot 4 months before hurricane Katrina with models in Viktor & Rolf standing in front of damaged and destroyed homes in Florida (damage from hurricanes before Katrina). When it went to print Katrina had just happened and he was being blamed for being insensitive and cruel, and the editor of Italian Vogue (Sozzani?) had to calm him down and do damage control. I think he said that was the last fashion ed he did? I and/or he could be wrong but that's what I remember.
He also said about the death by hamburger photo, that he found it funny because he's been a vegetarian since he was 15.
Also, that he's intrigued by how consumed by materialism and consumerism we are/were and wanted to say something about that in his photos. I know he's only just visited Beijing, but if only he knew how bad it is here in China...
Last edited by lollicandy; 26-11-2009 at 10:52 AM.
I just remembered that he said that there's less digital manipulation? creation? in his photos than one might think and that he is very much involved in the creating and building the sets. He said he actually uses watercolor paints when he's trying to flesh out his idea of the sets.
And also that, the sense of optimism of the people in Beijing reminds him of NY in the 90s.