Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Harold Chapman

















One of those rare pieces, speaking to an artist at the end of their career, which is really quite moving (the last time I think I felt this, really, was when meeting Liv Ullman at Karlovy Vary in 2005). Harold Chapman photographed all the Beats in Paris. I went to his home in Kent and spent a lovely couple of hours with him. His wife was taking photos silently throughout. The quote that really blew me away was this:

"I look back at those days in Paris as the happiest in my life. I discovered you could live frugally with very little and it didn't affect whether or not you were happy. All the worries people have about the rent, or the income tax, or insurance, had gone. Youth, of course, sees the world in different eyes. I am old, I can't see it the way they see it. But there are ways of existing quite cheaply."

I was really moved by that, for some reason. He has a lovely voice; I'd have loved to have uploaded an audio track of the interview. Anyway, as soon as he'd said that, my mouth dropped open. I finished the interview, pressed stop on the dictaphone. I looked up, and then his wife's camera just went "click", and she smiled. This is what she took:




















I finally got around to reading my friend Jennie's excellent Costa-nominated novel, Inside the Whale, and Mr Satoshi by Jonathan Lee, which is brilliantly-well written. Am now reading Of Men and Monsters, a 1960s science-fiction book, and quickly worked through Laura Barton's first book, which is scarily-well written.


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