5 mn with… Simon Chaput

Profession: Photographer


Who are you Simon?

I am half French, half English and was born in France 57 years ago. I come from a small town and studied to become a vet. I was a sailing instructor in southern Brittany at the age of 16 and spent my military service as a sailing instructor in Tahiti. There are worst places to be sent I must admit….

I opened a Gallery in France in the mid seventies and came to New York in 1983 for a week to help one of my artists find a gallery here, I fell in love with the energy of the city and have been living here ever since.

I met Jeanne Claude and Christo on my second week here and started working with them on their projects; it was a life changing experience.

Why did you choose to become a photographer?

Photography was always a passion for me, I got my first camera, a Kodak Brownie when I was 7 and fell in love with the magic it created. I started a photo club when I was at school and was shooting everything I could. After failing to get into a photo school, I spend the next 20 years away from photography.

In 1983, I discovered the New York art scene and that nourished my vision.

I was fascinated by the geometry of the urban landscape and that is when I had the urge to get back to photography.

I was lucky enough to join the Howard Greenberg Gallery back in 1997 and have focused my energy on photography since.

Your Nude series is gorgeous, tell us a bit about this project.

The nude series started in Death Valley. I loved the abstract qualities of the sand dunes and wanted to bring a nude in the landscape. It was a challenge when you know the work of artists like Edward Weston and others who have mastered it. I could shoot only one hour at sunrise and one at sunset.

While shooting, I realized that the body could become the landscape itself.

I came back to New York and started shooting in the studio so I could control the light and thereby the form. The body became the landscape.

Would you consider yourself a landscape photographer?

I am not sure if I really fit in that category. The work is more about playing with shape, light and the negative space that has a huge place in my photographs.

When you look at my work, you will notice the importance of the black.

How much time do you spend in the dark room?

I spend a lot of time in the darkroom, sometimes weeks in a row. I am still fascinated by the magic of the process and find that I need to spend many days to control the outcome precisely.

Do you have a dream project?

Dreams are meant to be pursued every new project is a dream project before it happens. It is at first an idea, then images are visualized and from that point on work makes them happen. The result is sometimes even a little different from the initial dreamed images; it is nearly always better as the work grows on itself.

Right now my dream project is the “Waterfalls” series.

Why did you decide to shoot NY? What does the city bring to you?

New York was a love story at first sight, living downtown when I first arrived, I was mesmerized by the tall buildings, narrow streets and by the shadows projected by these buildings, creating these wonderful geometric patterns.

I must have looked strange, I was walking the streets looking up and just enjoying the playfulness of the angular shapes. That has never changed.

Do you have a secret place in the New York?

If I tell you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, but seriously I am always amazed by something that I hadn’t noticed before. The city changes so much depending on the time of day, the light and my perception of the city also changes with my mood. The secret is to get lost away from our usual paths.

What about the most beautiful views of the city?

Downtown around Wall Street, it is such a complex web of narrow streets.

What are your favorite things to do here?

I love having friends over for dinner, shopping at Di Palo’s, riding a bike in the city and Governor’s Island (a haven of peace and just a small boat ride away) playing tennis under the Williamsburg bridge, eating at “Minetta Tavern” or at “Antonucci’s”, having a small bite at “Blue Ribbon Bar” or a drink at the “Raines Law Room” and so much more…..

What’s next?

The “Waterfalls” series is not finished, so I will be taking more long treks in the wilderness looking for the perfect ones.

I also have a show opening at the Jackson Fine Art Gallery in Atlanta on March 26th, where they will show the Nudes and for the first time some of the Waterfalls.

For more info visit Simon Chaput’s website and  his facebook fan page

Simon’s addresses:
Di Palo’s:  200 Grand St.
Minetta Tavern: 113 MacDougal St.
Antonucci’s:  170 East 81 St.
Blue Ribbon Bar:  34 Downing St.
Raines Law Room:  48 W 17th St.
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Don’t miss the AIPAD Photography Show

If you are in Manhattan for this lovely spring weekend don’t miss the AIPAD Photography Show. It is one of the most important international photography events and it is opening today.

More than 70 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries will present a large selection of high-quality work including contemporary, modern and 19th century photographs, as well as photo-based art, video and new media.

AIPAD New YorkMarch 18th-21st, 2010
Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave & 67th St.

Show Hours
Thursday, March 18 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.Friday, March 19 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 21 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Dinner and a movie at the Crosby Hotel

Here is a glamorous way to spend your Sunday evenings… Instead of crowed a theater and greasy junk food, the Crosby Hotel introduces the SUNDAY NIGHT FILM CLUB. Don’t be fooled by the “club” label, it is open everyone. The concept, very simple, gives you the choice between dinner and a movie or cocktail / bar plate and a movie. Sit back and enjoy movies, picked from either recent releases or classics, screened in the Hotel’s sumptuous state-of-the-art cinema, every weekend at 8pm.

It’ll open on Sunday, March 21st, with a series of recent films which have each won a 2010 Academy Award…

Upcoming schedule
March 21st: The Blind Side
March 28th: The Hurt Locker
April 4th: Up
April 11th: Crazy Heart
April 18th: Avatar (3D)
SUNDAY NIGHT FILM CLUB @ the Crosby Hotel 79 Crosby Street. Tel: 1 212 226 64 00. Dinner and movie for $50 per person OR cocktail, bar plate and movie for 2 is $25 per person. Dinner and Cocktails are served beforehand in The Crosby Bar. For more info and the schedule of coming attractions check www.crosbystreethotel.com

Victor Demarchelier : Creating Images

Victor Demarchelier’s photographs have been published in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and French Vogue. This exhibit features black-and-white photographs, some from studio sessions and some from a trip to India. CREATING IMAGES, a mix of his work from fashion shoots and personal projects, includes several pieces from his photographic collaborations with model Caroline Trentini. This is Victor Demarchelier’s solo debut at a New York gallery.

Opening tonight March 15th from 6 PM to 9 PM

Victor Demarchelier / Creating Images until April 5th, 2010
Clic Bookstore & Gallery: 424 Broome Street. tel: 1-212-219-9308

Here comes TARTINERY

A gem just opened its doors in Nolita! TARTINERY Nolita is a new concept -you could call it fast food… but gourmet, of course! They serve the best tartines made with the finest French bread and exquisite ingredients. All that in a warm, family-like atmosphere… Maxime, Stephan and Nicolas, little geniuses, are the first to import Pain Poilâne to New York. The menu, simple and delish, offers a diverse selection of tartines, soups, salads and healthy juices. If you are into cheese, we highly recommend the melting Saint-Marcelin tartine, and if you prefer something on the sweet side, the warm Nutella one… culinary orgasm on a silver platter!

Be ready to have a love affair with this place…

TARTINERY Nolita : 209 Mulberry Street @ Spring. Tel: 1212 300 5838. Currently open for lunch, TARTINERY will also be open for dinner around March 20th .

Photos © Marilou Daube

Strong Boalt Swimsuit

Men are not so lucky when it comes to bathing suits… they don’t have much choice… But along came Amanda Boalt and her new men’s swimsuits collection. Exactly the way we like them -old school sea -inspired patterns, so comfy and cool that a simple t-shirt will turn them into the perfect casual outfit. Strong Boalt trunk suits are produced in limited quantities, just to make sure you become the trendiest dude around. 😉 Already a huge success in Hawaii, Palm Beach and, St Barts, they’ll soon be available for sale in New York, but in the meatime rush onto their online store!

The new collection will be available on April 30th.

STRONG BOALT suimsuits $115. For more info visit their website or call 1 646 236 8203

Gottino

You often hear foreigners say that they couldn’t live in NY because they would miss part of their lifestyle, particularly  the food… Well, if there is one thing you can’t complain about in NY,  it’s the food! For the Italians, a taste of home is around the corner at Gottino… heaven on earth!

This wine bar takes you on a culinary trip around Italy, serving you the finest Italian wines, obviously, but also delicious small plates of various hams, cheeses and other local delicacies…

Just to give you an idea of how good it is, note that Jody Williams, the chef of this little -Michelin recommended,  “gastroteca,” started her career at Il Buco… So if you are looking for the perfect place to have drinks and a bite… Look no further!

Note that they have the cutest garden in the back- ideal in the summer!

GOTTINO is located 52 greenwich avenue (bet 10th street and 7th avenue). Tel 1 212 633 25 90
Check out their great blog for more info