Orson Wells by Eve Arnold. 1966
A number of people have privately emailed me with concerns about all of the age talk on the blog lately. Am I depressed? Am I going to give up photography and buy a Ferrarri? The answer is no and no. I’m still happy with the minivan and I can’t remember being more comfortable with my age (mature and still regularly beating the 25 year-olds in ping-pong).
But yesterday I got a different email from a friend who works with Magnum:
“I just saw your and Martin’s equally depressing posts about being old. They reminded me of one of my favorite Guerilla Girls interventions – the list of advantages of being a woman artist (specifically number 4: “Knowing your career might pick up after you’re 80.”). So, you know, there might be a little White Boy Whining in all this.”
Knowing that I’m just stirring the pot, I’ve been able to brush off the criticism of my age posts. But this comment stung. Part of the reason it bothered me is that I’m vulnerable to similar accusations in other areas of my life.
At Little Brown Mushroom, for example, I publish a men’s magazine. I’ve defended this by pointing out that the magazine is actually about men and pokes fun at their longing. But the other day I received a copy of Jacques Magazine and was embarrassed to realize that whomever sent it probably did so because they thought it was similar to Lonely Boy Magazine.
And then there is Magnum. With today’s passing of Eve Arnold, we are now left with five living female photographers in the organization. It is beyond embarrassing.
So enough of my White Boy Whining. I’m happy to be 42. And I’m lucky as hell to have incredibly supportive women in my life. Beyond my wife (the most supportive and understanding person alive) I’m also lucky to have a fantastic studio manager, Carrie Thompson. The fact that Carrie manages to produce excellent photography while running my studio and supporting a child is mind-boggling.
So enough of the whining! Let me instead give thanks to women like Eve Arnold who manage to make great work when the odds, not to mention the culture, are so heavily stacked against them.