Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Pieces Never Fit

Amidst a story about basketball phenom Blake Griffin, I was introduced to Frank Matrisciano. Blake was the future star and Frank was the man behind the scenes.

Frank agreed to pose for a photograph, and this was the deal: he'd have a disguise and I would accept that.

I was relatively excited about having to photograph this guy who carried his persona so far...I just had to respect that. Unfortunately I could not make a great photograph of him. No matter what I did it just seemed that the pieces never would fit. Here we had this guy in this outfit, we had this beautiful dog, we had a simple space. Try what I did, I just could not connect with this guy, the situation, or anything really. Finally I just stopped shooting.

The magazine had something they could run, but I could never understand what went wrong. The other day Men's Health asked to see the work on Frank and I dug back into it. This picture seemed to represent everything that went wrong: here is the guy, here is the dog, here is the space...and nothing finds any harmony. Nothing fits together and nothing relates. It's almost as if the dog is as disconnected as everything else- from me, from his owner, from everything going on. Now, time has past, and I might actually appreciate it for those things. Or appreciate it a little more.

Who is Frank? Below I excerpted an interview written by Geoff Calkins for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Enjoy:

There are no photos.
You take a photo of Frank Matrisciano, you die. Unless you’re his mother.
“My mother has tons of photos,” says Matrisciano a.k.a. Hell’s Trainer.
Q: One of the stories I read talked about your sparsely furnished one-room apartment in San Franciso. Is that what you're like here?
A: Yeah, that's how I am here. One fork, one knife, one spoon. That's me.
Q: One fork?
A: Well, let me ask you, how many forks do you use when you eat?
Q: One.
A: OK, so, I have one fork, I use it, I wash it and I put it back. Seminole (his dog) has a spoon and a fork for his bowl. And that's it. No furniture.

Q: Do people ask you for autographs?
A: Nobody knows me, so there are no autographs.
Q: Do you ever think you create interest by walling yourself off? Does the secret make you more intriguing?
A: No. Here's the secret. I train myself, I train the team, I take care of my dog. That's it. I'm as boring as you can get. In San Francisco, I turned down a reality show, I turned down two books. One guy, who wanted to do a book and he said "You're sort of fascinating." And I said, "What are you talking about? I'm going to give you your book. How many chapters do you want. Ten? Chapter One: Hard Work. Chapter Two: Hard Work. Chapter Three: Hard Work. You get it? It's boring. All it is is hard work. There's your book. Nobody's going to buy it. It's a quick read. Hard work."


Carrie said...

Fascinating. I really appreciate you sharing your experience with Frank. I've had a couple subjects I couldn't click with and am still haunted by them, wondering what I could have done differently. By the way Frank responded about the book he didn't want to do, you get the sense the guy really might not have wanted to be photographed in the first place. That's a pretty tough obstacle, I'm amazed you got the shots you did.

Timothy Archibald said...

Hi Carrie-
I dunno....showing up in full costume with the dog...I almost think he LOVES to have his photograph taken. Is this not p.r. at it's finest?