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Mademoiselle Zara

Ever since becoming aware of Robert Doisneau's work (several decades) it remains one of the "go-to" sources when my battery needs recharging. In an interview he once said: "The world I was trying to present was one where I would feel good, where people would be friendly, where I could find the tenderness I longed for. I want my photos to be proof that such a world could exist."

Another such source is the work of Édouard Boubat who once said regarding the horror and misery in the world to be photographed. "I do not want to add to it."

Polyanna? Yeah, probably. Me, too.

One of my all time favorites of Robert Doisneau's work is "Mademoiselle Anita", a photograph of a young woman in a Paris cafe. He took several photographs of her and then she took off her sweater. "The little butterfly emerged from its cocoon."

Mademoiselle Zara, Davis Street Bistro Portland Oregon

I was not consciously thinking about Doisneau's photograph when I took this one. What I saw as she took off her sweater was the soft window light on her face and arms. I asked her for a photograph and she agreed.

I asked for her email address and promised to send her a jpeg, which I did. She replied with her USPS address asking me to send her an actual print, which I did. In her reply thanking me she told me she found out the morning of the photograph that, to her joy, she was pregnant.


My own darkroom work is at a screeching, shuddering halt while I help an old friend finish the printing for a rather important book. I'll be back in the dark on my own later in February.

With a small show in May/June and a much larger one in July/September I'd better get with it. Most of the prints are already done but I'm not certain that I have enough frames for the latter.

Here's wishing for an early and warm spring.


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