Gorgelous Interview. Jeannette Montgomery Barron.

0 Posted by - dicembre 16, 2012 - Interviews

gorgelous-interview-Jeanette1Who is: a very short and informal biography

Jeannette Montgomery Barron was born in 1956 in Atlanta Georgia and studied at the International Center of Photography in New York. She became known for her portraits of the New York art world in the 1980s, which were later published in Jeannette Montgomery Barron (Edition Bischofberger, Zurich, 1989). She is also the author of Photographs and Poems, a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jorie Graham (Scalo, 1998), Mirrors (Holzwarth Editions, 2004), Session with Keith Haring and My Mother’s Clothes (Welcome Books, 2010). In Spring 2013 powerHouse Books will publish SCENE, a book of her portraits from the 1980’s.

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Jeannette Montgomery Barron è nata nel 1956 ad Atlanta Georgia. Ha studiato all’International Center of Photography a New York. Famosa per i suoi ritratti del mondo artistico newyorkese negli Anni Ottanta, pubblicati nel libro Jeannette Montgomery Barron (Edition Bischofberger, Zurich, 1989) è autrice di Photographs and Poems, in collaborazione il vincitore del Premio Pulitzer il poeta Jorie Graham (Scalo, 1998), di Mirrors (Holzwarth Editions, 2004), Session with Keith Haring and My Mother’s Clothes (Welcome Books, 2010). Nella primavera 2013 powerHouse Books pubblicherà SCENE, un libro sui suoi ritratti degli Anni Ottanta.

www.jeannettemontgomerybarron.com

 

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• Your Gorgelous Project

My Mother’s Clothes, in which I attempted to create a portrait of my late mother through still life images of her cherished clothing, shoes, and personal possessions. As my mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s progressed, robbing her of any remembered past, I began this unique visual album as a way of both sparking my mother’s memories, and coping with my own sense of loss.

Beautiful and eccentric, headstrong and mannered, my mother, Eleanor Montgomery Atuk, was a genteel force in Atlanta society. Born in a Georgia town too small for a stoplight, she fell in love with her college sweetheart -heir to the Coca Cola Bottling Company-, got married, and followed my father to Atlanta in the 1940s, where he would rise to become the chairman of the company. In addition to being an adoring wife and mother, my mother loved exquisite clothes, especially those by designers Bill Blass, Yves St. Laurent, and Norman Norell, some of whom she called her friends. As the wife of an important business man, and a woman actively involved in community service, she felt she had to dress the part; her clothes were special ordered from the Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta, and she regularly visited the showrooms in New York for custom fitted couture. She was the sort of woman who, when she liked a shoe, bought it in several colors each season.

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My mother was always brimming with projects, ideas that burned at her day and night. She was a woman who used her influence to get things done.The first sign of my mother’s memory loss nearly ten years before her death, when she gave me the same book on tulips, over and over again. Yet even as my mother’s affliction with Alzheimer’s grew dire, her love of fashion remained her foremost pleasure. Just a month before she died, I brought my mother a catalogue from the designer Valentino’s exhibition in Rome. She was instantly transported into another world. We sat for hours looking. She pointed at one dress and said, Oh, I’m going to take that one if you don’t want it, and, I haven’t taken one in such a long time. When I tried to turn the page, she said, “Hold on, now,” scanning over the whole page with her index finger to make sure she had seen it all. At one point, she said, I wanna die in that.

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By the time she passed away in 2007 my mother’s  spacious closets could barely contain the exquisite gowns, suits, skirts, and blouses she had worn and collected over a lifetime. This was her backstage dressing room, where most mornings began in quiet contemplation; choosing, selecting, considering… What to wear? Every item in my mother’s carefully curated collection is attached to a day, a season, a voice, a laugh, a moment, a memory.

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My Mother’s Clothes, un ritratto struggente di mia madre attraverso le immagini dei vestiti, delle scarpe e degli oggetti che amava di più. Mentre la sua lotta con l’Alzheimer andava avanti, mentre la malattia le rubava il passato, ho iniziato questo album per restituirle sprazzi di vita e per lenire il mio senso di perdita.

Bella ed eccentrica, Eleanor Montgomery Atuk, era raffinata ed elegante. Nata in un paesino della Georgia, così piccolo da non avere neanche un semaforo, s’innamorò di un ragazzo conosciuto al college, erede della Coca Cola Company, lo sposò e seguì mio padre ad Atlanta negli Anni Quaranta, dove sarebbe diventato presidente dell’azienda. Oltre ad essere un’amorevole moglie e madre, amava i bei vestiti, specialmente quelli degli stilisti Bill Blass, Yves St.Laurent e Norman Norrel, alcuni dei quali considerava amici. Ordinava i suoi vestiti da The Rich’s department store ad Atlanta e spesso andava a New York, a farsi fare gli abiti su misura negli showroom degli stilisti. Era quel tipo di donna che quando vedeva un paio di scarpe che le piaceva, ne comprava di diversi colori ogni stagione.

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Mia madre aveva sempre mille progetti in mente, idee che la consumavano giorno e notte. Usava la sua influenza per far sì che le cose si facessero per davvero. Il primo segno della memoria che iniziava a perdere colpi fu un libro sui tulipani. Dieci anni prima di morire. Me lo ridiede troppe volte. Con l’avanzare della malattia, il suo amore per la moda rimaneva il suo primo piacere. Un mese prima di morire le portai il catalogo della mostra di Valentino a Roma. In un attimo fu come trovarsi in un altro mondo. Lo guardammo per ore. Ad un certo punto indicò un vestito:  “prenderò questo” disse” a meno che non lo voglia tu. È tanto che non ne compro uno” . Quando feci per girare la pagina “aspetta” disse, facendo scorrere l’indice sulla pagina come per essere sicura di aver visto tutto, “voglio morire con questo”.

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Quando è mancata nel 2007 i suoi pur spaziosissimi armadi contenevano la meravigliosa collezione di vestiti, camicie, gonne, scarpe che avevano accompagnato ogni giorno ogni momento, ogni sorriso, ogni voce, ogni stagione della sua vita, come una sorta di camerino in cui tutto iniziava ogni mattino col contemplare, selezionare, considerare….e con la fatidica frase “e oggi cosa mi metto?

welcomebooks.com/mymothersclothes/

 

• Gorgelous Place

Anywhere my family or loved ones are. Rome, Sperlonga, or Ponza, Italy are among a few of my favorite places.

Ogni posto in cui ci sia la mia famiglia o chiunque io ami. Roma, Sperlonga o Ponza, l’Italia sono alcuni dei miei posti preferiti.

• Gorgelous Artistic Experience (any form of art that really impressed you)

The first time I saw a painting by Mark Rothko. It was 1974 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

La prima volta che ho visto un quadro di Mark Rothko. Nel 1974 alla Phillips Collection di Washington, D.C.

Rothko

• Gorgelous Encounter

Meeting my husband, James, in an elevator in New York in 1983.

Incontrare mio marito, James, in un ascensore a New York nel 1983.

• Gorgelous Taste

Italian melon on a hot summer day.

Melone italiano in un caldo giorno d’estate.

• Gorgelous Memory

My children when they were very young.

I miei bambini quando erano piccoli.

• Gorgelous Moment

The first time I developed a photograph in the darkroom. I was hooked.

La prima volta che ho sviluppato una foto nella camera oscura. Fui un colpo di fulmine.

• Gorgelous Dream

That my two children will lead happy and healthy lives.

Che i miei due figli possano avere vite felici e in salute.

• This is Gorgelous! (what somebody else did, but you would like to have done it instead)

Mother Teresa.

Madre Teresa.

madre teresa

• Very personal (whatever you want to add.)

My aunt Nona recently told me a great saying that she thinks of when times are rough; “pray and press on.”  I think of that saying a lot.

Mia zia Nona recentemente mi ha detto che quando i tempi sono difficili lei pensa sempre” prega e vai avanti”. Ci penso spesso.  

keith Haring

 

 

 

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