ME AND MR B
I met Charles Bukowski after Glen Esterly, a colleague and friend, invited me to photograph the not-yet-legendary poet, for a profile he was going to do for Rolling Stone. Tempting as it was to finally grace the pages of the respected counter-culture music publication, I initially refused, as I found Bukowski’s “Dirty Old Man” columns in L.A.’s Free Press to be misogynistic and repugnant. Glen convinced me to attend a poetry reading at Cal State L.A. that weekend, assuring me I would “discover his work to be more mythological than auto-biographical.” To my surprise, I was captivated by my introduction to the bard of the disenfranchised, which I documented in the poem ‘Bukowski Reading 1975’. I returned a week later to gift Mr. B with a portrait, and he was so touched by the unprecedented gesture, he invited me to be his official photographer, and over the past decades my portraits have been on book covers and book jackets of most of his international editions: from Iran to Japan, and Israel to Norway. The rest is history, as expressed in the intimate portraits.
“THE CRUELTY OF LOVELESS LOVE”
The Cruelty of Loveless Love is a collector’s edition (65 numbered copies) hardcover book, completely hand-crafted, featuring 18 unpublished poems by Charles Bukowski, accompanied by 18 of my black and white portraits. Consisting of 18 paper folders each containing a mounted monochrome photo with a letterpress poem (in Bukowski’s original typewriter font) on the facing page. It was published in 2001 by KunstEditions NY, and is housed in a Burgundy red Thai silk-covered clamshell case 12 ¼” x 14 ¾”, with a photographic insert of a monochrome photograph of Bukowski on the cover. The book is contained in a fine black cardboard slipcase. There is a foreword by Carl Weissner (Bukowski’s long time agent, friend, and German translator), with an introduction and poem by myself. Consisting of 12 leaves, printed on rectos only, and 18 paper folders each containing a mounted monochrome photo with a letterpress poem (in Bukowski’s original typewriter font) on the facing page. These poems had never been published before and were furnished by John Martin of Black Sparrow Press. About a year later after the sale of Black Sparrow’s Bukowski inventory, Ecco Press included these poems in a volume of Bukowski poem.