To New York
Léopold Sédar Senghor
(trad Melvin Dixon)
(for jazz orchestra and trumpet solo)
New York! At first I was bewildered by your beauty,
Those huge, long-legged, golden girls.
So shy, at first, before your blue metallic eyes and icy smile,
So shy. And full of despair at the end of skyscraper streets
Raising my owl eyes at the eclipse of the sun.
Your light is sulphurous against the pale towers
Whose heads strike lightning into the sky,
Skyscrapers defying storms with their steel shoulders
And weathered skin of stone.
But two weeks on the naked sidewalks of Manhattan—
At the end of the third week the fever
Overtakes you with a jaguar’s leap
Two weeks without well water or pasture all birds of the air
Fall suddenly dead under the high, sooty terraces.
No laugh from a growing child, his hand in my cool hand.
No mother’s breast, but nylon legs. Legs and breasts
Without smell or sweat. No tender word, and no lips,
Only artificial hearts paid for in cold cash
And not one book offering wisdom.
The painter’s palette yields only coral crystals.
Sleepless nights, O nights of Manhattan!
Stirring with delusions while car horns blare the empty hours
And murky streams carry away hygenic loving
Like rivers overflowing with the corpses of babies.
Now is the time of signs and reckoning, New York!
Now is the time of manna and hyssop.
You have only to listen to God’s trombones, to your heart
Beating to the rhythm of blood, your blood.
I saw Harlem teeming with sounds and ritual colors
And outrageous smells—
At teatime in the home of the drugstore-deliveryman
I saw the festival of Night begin at the retreat of day.
And I proclaim Night more truthful than the day.
It is the pure hour when God brings forth
Life immemorial in the streets,
All the amphibious elements shinning like suns.
Harlem, Harlem! Now I’ve seen Harlem, Harlem!
A green breeze of corn rising from the pavements
Plowed by the Dan dancers’ bare feet,
Hips rippling like silk and spearhead breasts,
Ballets of water lilies and fabulous masks
And mangoes of love rolling from the low houses
To the feet of police horses.
And along sidewalks I saw streams of white rum
And streams of black milk in the blue haze of cigars.
And at night I saw cotton flowers snow down
From the sky and the angels’ wings and sorcerers’ plumes.
Listen, New York! O listen to your bass male voice,
Your vibrant oboe voice, the muted anguish of your tears
Falling in great clots of blood,
Listen to the distant beating of your nocturnal heart,
The tom-tom’s rhythm and blood, tom-tom blood and tom-tom.
New York! I say New York, let black blood flow into your blood.
Let it wash the rust from your steel joints, like an oil of life
Let it give your bridges the curve of hips and supple vines.
Now the ancient age returns, unity is restored,
The reconciliation of the Lion and Bull and Tree
Idea links to action, the ear to the heart, sign to meaning.
See your rivers stirring with musk alligators
And sea cows with mirage eyes. No need to invent the Sirens.
Just open your eyes to the April rainbow
And your eyes, especially your ears, to God
Who in one burst of saxophone laughter
Created heaven and earth in six days,
And on the seventh slept a deep Negro sleep.
Se passarem por New York este Verão, não percam a grande retrospectiva do trabalho de Garry Winogrand, (1928-1984), um newyorker, um fotógrafo único, um mestre e uma referência da street photography.
Winogrand terá captado como ninguém a América dos anos 50 e 60, de Manhattan a Hollywood, do Bronx ao Texas, com as suas idiossincrasias, contradições, ansiedades e frustrações. Um fotógrafo instintivo, directo, que fez da emergente middle class americana o objecto do seu olhar atento.
A exposição vai estar no Met, o Metropolitan Museum of Art entre 27 de Junho e 21 de Setembro.
A apresentação aqui fica, com a devida vénia ao The Guardian e os devidos créditos de autoria.
Texto: Jonathan Jones, The Guardian
Imagens: All photographs © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy of the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.
Life is grotesque, funny, weird, beautiful, horrific, joyous and macabre. Photography is its perfect biographer, or should be. Light hits the lens and punches images of real people and places and moments through the aperture of memory. But how many photographs truly do justice to all that majestic strangeness?
Garry Winogrand’s pictures do. This dazzling American street photographer cut through the artifice of art and the portentousness of reportage to somehow, in a way rarely rivalled let alone equalled, snatch coruscating images of an ugly, lovely, hilarious raw reality out of the craziness of his times.
A couple dance at El Morocco, a hot New York nightclub in 1955. She throws her head back and opens her mouth wide to reveal all her teeth, in a laugh that seems insanely false. The man has his back to us. Is she nervous or scared of him? Why is her social performance so extreme?
Winogrand’s pictures are full of such gripping and mystifying moments. From a car in Los Angeles in 1964, a man turns to look at Winogrand. The moment is tense, for the surgical dressing on his nose suggests he’s no stranger to fights. Will he stop the car and get out to teach this intrusive street photographer a lesson?
Winogrand achieved his raw masterpieces by the bravest and most authentic means possible. He simply went around taking opportunistic shots of strangers. His art is exclusively human, uninterested in landscape for its own sake.
He often catches people off guard in disturbing, uneasy scenes. The relationship between a wealthy couple on a Manhattan sidewalk, she in ludicrous fur, seems fake through his brutal lens.
But Winogrand is different from Diane Arbus, who only ever photographed “freaks”, as the critic Susan Sontag put it. He did not go out looking solely for strangeness. A lot – perhaps all – of his pictures are celebratory. He did a series called Women are Beautiful.
His picture of JFK smiling among enthusiastic supporters is clearly not meant to be disturbing or alienated.
His image of a row of women resting at the New York World’s Fair is funny, human, touching. Perhaps more than any other photographer he documented the hopes as well as hysteria of 1960’s America.
After his death in 1984 about a third of a million undeveloped or unselected pictures, all taken in his last years, were found in his studio. He really did open his lens to the world, almost randomly, and from this onrush of images he published the ones that so haunt and shock and entertain and move us today.
Winogrand showed that the way photography can be great art is to be purely what it is.
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