Julian Germain

‘For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness…’

A series of photographs made over 8 years of the quiet, contemplative existence of Charles Snelling, an elderly man living alone in a small house in Portsmouth…he lived in a typical two up, two down terraced house amongst many other two up, two down houses…It was yellow and orange. In that respect, it was totally different from every other house on the street… Charlie was  a simple, gentle man. He loved flowers and the names of flowers. He loved colour and surrounded himself with colour. He loved his wife. Without ever trying or intending to, he showed me that the most important things in life cost nothing at all.. he was my antidote to modern living.Julian Germain from his book ‘For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness’

Saul Leiter

 

Does colour photography get any better than this? Saul Leiter seems to be telling us that it’s all right in front of us if only we could be quiet enough to see it. Only a master with a wonderful eye could make it that simple. I use the word ‘quiet’ and yet the soundtrack for these images might be Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, or a combination of all of them. So much going on, and all in sync. Forgive me for not knowing the name of the photographer who worked at the Howard Greenberg gallery (working from my incomplete notebook), but I quote him: “Late one night after showing him a box of my own work, he commented how I had too many photographs. When I asked  him why that was a bad thing he replied, if you can make one really good picture a year, I mean really good, then in 10 years you’ll have 10 really amazing pictures.”

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