Favorite love songs, artists and inspirations


My favorite photographers:

Diane Arbus ( 1923-1971)

Pronounced Dee-Ann, She was a privileged child, raised with her two siblings in large apartments on Central Park West and Park Avenue. She later told Studs Terkel, for his Hard Times: An Oral History of the Depression , “I grew up feeling immune and exempt from circumstance. One of the things I suffered from was that I never felt adversity. I was confirmed in a sense of unreality.” I think her work is still problematic for many because she crossed boundaries by making friends and photographing “freaks.”

Diane ArbusChild-with-a-toy-grenade-in-Central-Park-NYC-1962-C-The-Estate-of-Diane-Arbus-582x584

Ruth Bernard (1905-2006)

There is no finer photographer of the female nude. When she met Edward Weston on the beach in Santa Monica, she was overwhelmed by his photos and said “Here before me was indisputable evidence of what I had thought possible – an intensely vital artist whose medium was photography. ”

Ruth Bernhard -  Classic Torso with hands - 1952
Ruth Bernhard – Classic Torso with hands – 1952
Ruth Bernhard - In The Box- Horizontal , 1962
Ruth Bernhard – In The Box- Horizontal , 1962

Francesca Woodman (1958-1981)

Her career was brief but extraordinary. Born to a family of artists, she started photographing at the age of 13. She worked in black and white, frequently made self-portraits, or other young women, nude. What’s astonishing is she completed nearly all the work in her catalogue as a student.  After living in Rome, Rhode Island and New York, she felt her art wasn’t being taken seriously and her boyfriend broke up with her. Woodman committed suicide at the age of 22.

Francesca Woodman, Rhode Island
Francesca Woodman, Rhode Island
Francesca Woodman - House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976
Francesca Woodman – House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976

Melvin Sokolsky

Melvin was creating inventive photographs that boggled the mind, long before Photoshop existed.  He floated models down the Reine,creating The Bubble Series for Harpers Bazaar magazine in 1963.He suspended the models with a crane using an eight-inch aircraft cable and tested models to see who he could hang. He reminds me of some of the good stunt coordinators I worked for over the years.  The first time I saw his photos, I stopped dead in my tracks at A & I Photo.

Melvin Sokolsky-Bubble on the Seine
Melvin Sokolsky-Bubble on the Seine

My favorite artists:

Robert Cardinal

I fell in love with the simplicity of his paintings the first time I visited Cape Cod. Just like a good photographer, Robert searches for the light and usually paints at sunrise or sunset. His paintings have been described as Edward Hopper gone color ballistic. I love his skies of purples and oranges, isolated beaches, and lonely Cape homes.

Robert Cardinal - Stage Harbor Light - 30" x 20"
Robert Cardinal – Dory at Pamet, 11″ x 14″
Robert Cardinal - Beach Cottages - 10" x 20"
Robert Cardinal – Beach Cottages – 10″ x 20″
Robert Cardinal - Stage Harbor Light - 30" x 20"
Robert Cardinal – Stage Harbor Light – 30″ x 20″

Mark Ryden

His art is beautiful, while aiming at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch. He’s been called the godfather of pop surrealism,  inspired by old toys, stuffed animals, skeletons, and religious ephemera found in flea markets. Michael Jackson commissioned Mark to create the cover for his 1991 Dangerous album.

Mark Ryden -Blood
Mark Ryden – Blood – 2005 – oil on board
Michael Jackson-Dangerous by Mark Ryden
Michael Jackson-Dangerous by Mark Ryden
Mark Ryden -Dead_Characters
Mark Ryden – Dead Characters – 1997- oil on panel

Remedios Varo (1908-1963)

Born in Spain and died in Mexico. Spanish-Mexican surrealist painter and anarchist. I think she is one of the greatest artists in the 20th century along with Leonora Carrington.

Remedios Varo- Creation of the Birds
Remidios Varo: Creation of the Birds

I especially like the violin hanging where her heart should be.

remedios_varo_Revelation of the Clockmaker, 1955
Remedios Varo- Revelations or The Clockmaker, 1955

Leonora Carrington (1917-2011)

led a life almost as surreal as her art. Born in England, she was expelled from two schools for rebellious behavior, my kind of girl. She saw her first surrealist painting in a Left Bank gallery when she was ten years old. Even though she found little encouragement from her family to forge an artistic career, a curator at Tate Modern, helped to champion her work through Edward James, who arranged a show of her work. She saw Max Ernst’s work and was attracted to him before she actually met him. Not only did they collaborate on sculptures to decorate their home, they supported each other’s artistic development. Sounds like a dream relationship to me. Unfortunately Ernst was arrested during the Nazi occupation of France and after escaping, Peggy Guggenheim arranged for him to come to America. Carrington was so devastated by his arrest that she had paralyzing breakdowns and was institutionalized for three years. After Ernst married Guggenheim, Carrington wrote a book called Down Below, about the events of her psychotic experience. From painting to writing, all art is healing.

Leonora Carrington -Self portrait
Leonora Carrington – Self Portrait
Leonora Carrington_Adieu Ammenotep
Leonora Carrington – Adieu Amenhotep, 1955

In this piece four priestess perform a surgery on a levitating Amenhotep (the first monotheistic pharaoh) whose wound is in the shape of  a lotus flower. Men wearing priests’ hats sit in the gallery to watch the performance. The compasses along the box signify a magic transformation. The dish in the foreground, which is presumably used to collect an extracted organ, contains a small lizard.

Carrington believed that monotheism was the root of a patriarchal society, thus the priestesses are extracting that root through a magical surgery. In her later years Carrington wrote that “a woman shouldn’t have to demand rights. The rights were there from the beginning, they must be taken back again, including the mysteries which were ours and which were violated, stolen or destroyed.”

Leonora Carrington_kron flower 1987

Kron Flower – Carrington understood that women were to maintain your youth at all costs’ meaning maintain your sexual desirability at all costs. But then she ruthlessly mocks those women who cannot resist the shame-inducing admonitions of the culture and feel the need for excessive make-up, a face-lift or to still dress in tight, provocative clothing.

Frida Kahlo  (1907-1954)

I love Frida because she transformed her suffering and pain into remarkable art. She is best known for her self portraits and said “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” While it is easier to hide, it has been widely accepted that an artists’ best work is his or her most personal. Frida was not scared about showing her pain, soul, and fears in her art. Every great artist comes bearing the gift of their soul.

Frida Kahlo – The Suicide of Dorothy Hale – 1938/1939

This is one of Frida’s most shocking and controversial paintings.  Dorothy Hale was an aspiring actress who was unable to find work and left financially dependent on her wealthy friends after her husband’s death. She killed herself by jumping off a New York city building. Clare Boothe Luce requested a painting for Dorothy Hale’s mother. Hale was known to have said “I would not have requested such a gory picture of my worst enemy, much less of my unfortunate friend. Kahlo painted actress Dorothy Hale not only as she jumped but fell, and landed, dead and bloody on the concrete walk outside her apartment building. The blood-red lettering at the bottom of the retablo details the tragedy in Spanish. Luce’s response was to destroy the painting but her friends dissuaded her. What Luce didn’t know was that at the time that Kahlo painted this, she was in a desperate state of mind over losing Diego and was having repeated thoughts of committing suicide.

My favorite artist ever:

Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Michael’s calling was clear. He would dance to the rhythm of the rickety Maytag washing machine when he was on the floor wearing his diaper and holding his little bottle. His art beckoned him and whether it was putting pen to paper, a song to the ethers, his brush to a palette or his feet to dancing, he had no choice. His passion called him and he listened in return. He put his soul out there and was courageous about his art because he believed his gift came from G-d.  The soul of art is the art of soul. Here is a video by a fan who puts together MJ videos and does the finest job of remixing videos that I’ve seen. Yes, that’s Sheryl Crow at 1:32!

Hannah Kozak - Inspiration 1
© hannah kozak – Inspiration 1
hannah kozak - inspiration 2
© hannah kozak – inspiration 2

My favorite love songs

1. You’re Just Too Good To Be True – Lauryn Hill

2. Come Pick Me Up – Ryan Adams

3. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Diana Ross

4. To Have and Not To Hold – Madonna

5. Nobody – Kate Earl

6. All In Love Is Fair – Stevie Wonder

7. You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me- Gladys Knight

8. Anyone Who Had a Heart -Shelby Lynne

9. Soul Mate -Natasha Bedingfield

10. I’ll Be Near You – Ivy

11. Looking For The Right One – Art Garfunkle

12. You’re the First, the Last, My Everything – Barry White

13. Could It Be I’m Falling In Love – The Spinners

14. If I Were Your Woman – Gladys Knight

15. When You Really Love Someone – Alicia Keys

16. Fall Again – Michael Jackson

Content individually copyrighted by each photographer.

Man’s truth lies in what he hides.

–Andre Malraux

Michael Jackson’s Neverland Raid

I was reading the documents from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department from when seventy police officers swooped in on MJ’s Neverland in January 2004. All nicely orchestrated by Thomas Sneddon, the vindictive D.A. who, since 1993, wouldn’t rest until he had a taste of Michael Jackson’s blood. How many people out there know Sneddon falsified evidence in an attempt to put MJ behind bars? MJ fans know this but the media and Sneddon was out to prove Michael was a pedophile which he was not. Apparently Sneddon’s team seized photography books from Michael’s library along with personal photos. These two paragraphs from the report made me shake my head in disbelief.

“Although the photos contained in Item(s) 1003 through 1008 appear to be commercially produced, they do depict young males in limited clothing and various provocative poses. Based on my training, this type of material can be used as part of a “grooming” process by which people (those seeking to molest children) are able to lower the inhibitions of their intended victims and facilitate the molestation of said victims. “

The best part was that in the paragraph above, the person writing the report says “It should be noted, I recognized the photographs described in item numbers 1003 through 1008 (except the Polaroid photographs) as being associated with the pop group, “3T”. I recalled reading a magazine article, which discussed this pop group and their association with Michael Jackson. The article had some of these photographs associated in it and associated the photographs with a photo shoot for a compact disc cover for 3T’s single entitled “why”. I further learned the pictured individuals were Michael Jackson’s nephews. (Tito Jackson’s sons).

Here’s one of the photos considered evidence. Michael and his three nephews. Shocking! This is worth seeing twice so I shall post for you. I hope I don’t give you nightmares tonight.


This is a taste of what Michael Jackson went through in his life. Pictures of him with his nephews “half clothed” to promote their cd and they are considered possible victims of child molestation.

Okay, if the police raided my home they would find half nude photos I have personally taken of my young niece. Books on photographers that I have studied including Sally Mann’s Immediate Family, which shows her three children, all pictured with their bare chests (and two were female) on the cover. The cover of Still Time by Sally Mann shows her young daughter with no top on, just a flower draped across her neck, covering her breasts. Outrage! There are my books on Jock Sturges, who also photographed his entire family naked. His cover, Radiant Identities, shows an adolescent girl with no shirt on. Oh my! Let’s not forget Ruth Bernhard’s books on the female nude.  My latest purchase, Kelly Klein’s Underworld, a photo book on partially unclothed men, women and (do I dare admit?) children in various types of underwear.Oh, oh, oh, I just remembered I have a collector’s edition of Herb Ritt’s nude photo book; Men and Women. Do I dare admit to owning a first edition of Donna Ferrato’s Love and Lust?  A book she dedicates to recreational sex.  Shall we form a line of judgment? Ferrato proves the Bonobo monkeys use recreational group sex to reconcile fights, reinforce relations and generally keep the peace. Her conviction is love is truth, and truth is love.

What do we make of that pray tell? I also have numerous books on the Nazis and the psychology of motherless daughters, due to an unusual childhood and thanks to author Hope Edelman; who specializes in researching motherless daughters. What do we further make of that? Where are the handcuffs? Prepare the jail cell for my life sentence. Ch-mon.

I’m a photographer. I study photographers. I learn and am inspired from their artistry. I have a particular interest in the female nude.  Michael was a brilliant artist. His library had over 10,000 books in it. He was known to be a voracious reader who studied art,photography philosophy, theatre,even the circus. He wanted to create magic in his shows so he studied endless sources of material. B.T. Barnum was a particular favorite. You name it. Michael Jackson had an interest in it.  His creativity kept him up nights.

What is the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s dept doing with all the books they seized as evidence? Sounds like someone has good reading material for late nights.

Would my books make me a child molester suspect or a sexual deviant? Safety is an illusion. I’ve been walking the high wire for years without a safety net. How deep does the rabbit hole go? Consider this. Our grand democracy is seriously flawed when the books we own in our library could be considered evidence if a finger is pointed our way. We could be sent to jail just because someone out there said so. Now that is disturbing enough to lose sleep.