TA and AH, Cafe Bernardo, Davis, CA. Photograph by AH
Popular blogger and accomplished photographer Andrew Hetherington of Whats The Jackanory fame was headed west. He summoned me via email for a meeting. The dates, times and locations, neutral territory of course, were worked out before hand.
Here before me on the sunny sidewalk of Davis, California is The Jackanory. His elfin presence is offset by bright eyes and a polite and formal manner. He seems cleaner and friendlier than the character on his blog. This is the man who can photograph bloody noses, black eyes, celebrities and politicians and make them all seem human and real. The stories of openings and partying that appear on his blog have faded. I realize this guy is a photographer first and foremost. The Truman Capote-esque, toast of the town persona he has created is really a tool to help him make photographs, meet subjects and deliver the goods on assignments.
What is the word from NYC, the photography capital of the free world? Not good. Andrew seems to be happy and optimistic, but obviously the layoffs and budget cuts in the industry are on everyone's mind these days. Layoffs at Time Inc, budget cuts at Conde Nast, magazines closing shop. It'd be nice to avoid this stuff but it is present...and all the more real for NYers than us out here in the west. Myself? I'm in denial. Can we talk about gossip or something? Isn't anyone having an affair or something? I try to see if they want to take a walk...get some sunshine amidst the darkness. His assistant Andrew Dolgin is sitting there, taking it all in. Can I slit my wrist with the butter knife? I can't imagine what is on his mind. I inquire. He responds:
I don't really care about the economy. What I do care about is my photography growing and advancing. That's all I'm really concerned with right now. It's all I can do anything about.
That felt good to hear. So good...I had to write it down.
LR: Hetherington, Dolgin at Cafe Bernardo, Davis, CA