Still Crazy After All These Years

by Dave Crossley

There he was with his camera over his shoulder as usual, bathing in the atmosphere of the Benteler-Morgan Gallery opening several days into FotoFest.

“Hey,” he said, “Seen enough pictures yet?”

Enough pictures? What could that mean? “No,” I answered, “How could I see enough pictures?”

“Man, I have. My brain is just throbbing!”

“But isn’t that what it’s supposed to do? Or are you looking for zero wave action in there?”

Why do people always talk about too many photographs? How can there be too many photographs? What does that mean?

Okay, maybe there were too many photographs at FotoFest ’90 in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston in February. Maybe 2,500 or 3,000 or 17,000 prints on 280 32-foot long white walls in one gigantic room is a few too many for your average gallery-goer. I haven’t looked at the records yet, but maybe 1.67 miles of photographs is the wrong way to measure these things. But what do you expect from Fred Baldwin, FotoFest’s co-founder and full-time volunteer visionary? Everything with him is always the World’s Biggest Longest Widest Fastest Firstest Weirdest FotoFestest and that’s just they way he is. There wouldn’t be any FotoFest if he wasn’t that way. How many granting agencies, national governments, world-class curators and critics are going to jump into A Mid-size Mediocre not Bad Little Picture Show? But FotoFest, ah, well, it had 263 curators, critics, collectors, and other big-names from all over the world right in the middle of it, bowled over by it, singing its praises and sometimes cursing its weirdness. Fred Baldwin at play on the world stage, a big buy with a long reach and, you guessed it, and excess of Vision. Too many images indeed.

Here is the biggest photography event in the history of time, 28 exhibitions in a gigantic new convention center, another 75 or so exhibitions in galleries and museums around the city, dozens of lectures, workshops, performances, and guided tours, as well as a book fair and a publishing conference, all held in collaboration with AIPAD, Women in Journalism, and the Professional Photographers Guild of Houston. And at the heart of it, The Meeting Place, physically a big open sunny space on the second floor of the George R. Brown Convention Center, spiritually a dream come true for dozens of eager photographers who have a chance to show their work to as many of those 263 meeting place reviewers from all the dream places on earth that they can stand in two weeks. Guys like Bruce Gilden, who came to FotoFest two years ago and wound up with a string of exhibitions and sold a bunch of prints right on the spot. Back again in 1990, now a Meeting Place pro who’s learned the ropes, beat the system, even won the Book Award at the Publishing Conference. Hey, you could base an entire career on contacts and deals made at FotoFest every two years. You could have more shows in more exotic places than you ever imagined. You could be an international star, rich and famous, with catalogs raisonnee and lifetime retrospectives and a Place in History. You could do it! Just go to the Meeting Place every couple of years, pay your fifty bucks, and talk to Helmut Gernsheim, Arthur Ollman, Jean-Luc Monterosso, and Colin Ford and let them light that candle. You could do it!

A lot of people do, and now George Krause, who did some reviewing, thinks maybe it’s gotten too professional. People have learned how to beat the system, they push each other out of line, they make it rough on the amateurs, the lovers, the young and timid; it’s horrible, all these sweating pros jockeying for position and fame and riches. The pros complain a lot too, not happy about anything. They don’t like the crassness of it all, they don’t like the way the exhibitions downstairs are laid out, they don’t like the choices of exhibitions, they don’t like the signage, they don’t like the lack of labels, they don’t like the Styrofoam walls, they don’t like the huge ring of Strofoam monoliths – Foamhenge – that defines the center of the whole thing, they don’t like the generous people who have parties for visitors every night, hell they don’t like Houston, they don’t like Fred, what do these people want? Did they complain before there was a FotoFest? Had they always known about it in their fevered professional brains? Was it always supposed to be perfect? It’s an incredible opportunity, an incredible display of talent, an exhausting, overwhelming, mind-boggling, all that kind of stuff, experience. It makes you crazy.

Well, I had to know about that excess for myself, so I started at the beginning, right next to the birthing tunnel, the Sea of Sperm that squirts you out from the street into Foamhenge, the center of all exhibitions. My son, Austin, and I started walking at a good clip, determined to walk through the whole thing in one grand swoop, without stopping, and we looked at every single picture and didn’t stop walking until we’d seen them all, a marathon walk through FotoFest, through 3,000 photographs, no, more because so many people put large numbers of photographs in their Works of Art now, so many complicated messages, stories, godawful sometimes terrifying nightmares so many of our promising young artists are having, as well as a lot of bad food apparently. The Czechs and Hungarians and so on aren’t that enamored of dead animals and humans and miscellaneous body parts, but one lady had great servings of raw cow tongues and uvulas and pellets of fat and so on, very nice, very personal. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay and travel down the ruminary canals and into various intestinal treatments because of out commitment to our walk which propelled us pell-mell through thousands of images, around hundreds of people milling and studying away as we tore down our private Autobahn at breakneck speed, clapping each other on the shoulder, holding to our integrity, never failing, never allowing ourselves to skip one single image, laying our eyes specifically and purposefully one each on every one, we had to see them all.

Far into it if you went to the left, clockwise from the Uterus (what the hell is it, the tunnel the sperm swim up, we were lost for the duration, couldn’t remember the name of the damn thing all afternoon, Austin thought it was the Uterus, and I kept thinking Fallopian Tube, and one advisor thought it was the Eustachian tube, but we were stuck in the visual world, images glowering at us on all sides, thousands of dead and dying, maimed, homeless souls spread across the face of the earth like so many postage stamps, completely overwhelming the favored with their riches and shiny white hospitals and intentional facial surgery, almost nowhere to be seen. It was all the halt, the lame, the tame, huddled masses under the heel of the Powerful that Fred inflicted on us one and all. Oh sure there was a lot constructed stuff, intellectual stuff, smart stuff, stuff without roots, soulless aestheticism, the stuff of having too much stuff. The stuff of altogether too many images that everybody was talking about, those brutal millions of images, and not a dictionary or any encyclopedia anywhere for a boy and his dad to look up the physiology of the Sperm Marathon, the Lemmings of Life. What the hell is that thing?)

So one hour into it, we shot out the end of one of the corridors and took a break on the far side in a strange dark corner where the Hot Dog People have their establishment. Not everybody knows about the Hot Dog People. You have to go deep into the center of the Polaroid World to find them, with their stainless steel equipment, the eternally rolling Hot Dog Cooker, their darkness, their white eyes and hair, their keen hearing and shrill shrieking ear-splitting high frequency calls, the small of their streets, of chili and cheese, ancient smoking hot dogs sizzling in their dark musty corner of hell far from the Seeing World, their glistening bodies writhing in HooDoo rhythm, barrel house kings, with feet unstable, sagged and reeled and pounded on the table, pounded on the table with the handle of a broom, hard as they were able, boom, boom, BOOM! Fortunately Austin wasn’t having any of that, just a chili and cheese hot dog, a bag of Ruffles potato chips and a coke. I didn’t go for the chili and the cheese, or the Ruffles either.

When we got out of there, I was trying to get far from the Uterus to the Polaroid World, but that’s out of sequence, not in keeping with the spirit of this Grand Walk my First Born Son and I are experiencing, so if we start thirty seconds after the Hot Dog People, as they recede into their gloaming, we pick up part II of the Walk, which actually, now that I sit and think very carefully for fifteen minutes staring at the blinking cursor in the lower right corner of this computer screen was actually the gleaming velvet heart of the Polaroid World. On another occasion, I saw a grown man, one of the top commercial photographers in Texas, come roaring out of one of these myriad Polaroid tunnels with his pants on fire and a new-found religious need for his own Polaroid 20-by-24 camera. His life changed back in there in the grainless landscape of Polaroid, so close to the Hot Dog people and their pounding rhythms. He had to have one of these damn things and now. This was a wild man, a convert, it’s the kind of thing that can only happen to an Innocent, one long sheltered from the Northern Art World and its lock on the 20-by-24 Polaroid cameras.

Phwew, wow, that’s enough of that. This is starting to sound like one of those crazed suicide notes put together from letters cut out of newspapers and magazines. The kid of weirdness you write just before you go take a potshot at the president.

Speaking of which, there’s not a single American President in this show. Is that right? I think it is. There are famous people, and I’ll tell you who’d the most famous, after maybe Oppenheimer, is Allen Ginsberg, down there in the home stretch if you’re on the clockwise marathon instead of the counterclockwise one. Ginsberg’s not only the most famous, he’s the most often, and the most penis, and the most Polaroid even, standing as he is at the crossroads of the document and the constructed art piece and the outrage of the Instant Two Foot Polaroid, him and Orlovsky and jack Kerouac and Gregory Corso and William Burroughs and the incredible Neal Casady, boy what a rich texture of photographs that is, right in the end there in between Dan Weiner with everybody in America working and Eikoh Hosoe with everybody in Japan ululating, writhing in their soot-and-chalk Oriental Dead Mystic Society. Ginsberg, there’s the guy, the central figure of the whole thing, dozens and dozens of 9x10s of all the beats, the best group of pictures I’ve ever seen of all those people of the fifties who certainly changed my life, not to mention John Lennon’s and so forth. And here they all are with big white borders with lots of writing around the edges, more richness of history, which unfortunately the committed Marathon Speed Walker can’t really even get a sense of here in the last gasp of FotoFest, something only Speed Art Viewers realize, which is that the Post-Modernist language aberration slowed everything down too much for us visual junkies who don’t want to have to move our lips when we look at images, slurpin’ ‘em up, you can drown if words get in the way. We’re just cruising now, near the end, we can see the back side of the Sea of Sperm in the Ovulary Tributary there, just yards away, while serious students 350 degrees away still stand before the first pictures taking deep notes, way back there in Czechoslovakia, amidst The People.

All this time Son Austin’s hanging in nearly brain dead, now saying, “What is this? What’s with this guy? Why are there so many pictures of his penis?” This is Allen Ginsberg he’s talking about, way before his time, when City Light…never mind. Why is he naked so often? Good grief, there he is naked with Peter Orlovsky and there with some other guy, and there and there and then twenty years later there again in these big sleek Polaroids, still naked after all these years. I don’t know, son, it’s…natural, it’s… his way.

And then you move part Ginsberg and into the black Hell of Eikoh Hosoe and you realize how perfect it is that you didn’t go counterclockwise, don’t do it, don’t go counterclockwise into that good night. What is this man thinking about? Way beyond thought, totally hopelessly adrift in imagery, a visual bath, a swirling round of screaming terror and soft flashy beauty, and finally Hosoe’s private Simmon, a kind of lame ending for this whole thing, but who cares, there’s Fred and Harla Kaplan, the director, at the opening of the Primordial Passageway and we have don’t it, in one hour and forty minutes – not counting the hot Dog people – seen it all, the whole thing, every last living one, and Austin gives me a high five, and it’s six o’clock sharp on the last day. FotoFest is over. Clean it up and pack it away.

Well, my God, that’s excessive in excess. Of course it wasn’t exactly over at exactly that minute, that’s just me and Austin craving high drama and fiery endings, split-second timing. But outside the warm spring sun was setting and this gigantic red white and blue George R. Brown Convention Center was glowing in it as it disgorged FotoFest for the last time, not to mention the Houston Gift and Jewelry Show in Bay II. Austin and I ran around back, using a special skip-walk he worked out to bring out feet back to life, and went right into Henry Silverhouse and wolfed down a bunch of spring rolls and Singapore noodles and a huge plate of salt-and-pepper crabs and I had a cold China beer and I could see that it was good, but we never talked about photographs again, for the rest of our days, The End thank God, we’re free at last..

Free of Fred? Well, no, now it’s necessary to go talk to Fred. To ask him what’s going on here. Were there too many photographs or not?

Remembering dozens of conversations with Fred in the past, intimate explanations of what was going on, of his frustrations, a ten-minute raging once as he walked me to the parking lot and vented his anger at certain institutions whose leaders failed to have Vision, I went off with him and turned on my tape recorder and this is what happened, wildly condensed, of course, and often way out of context, and speeded up a lot to suit my purposes, but this was Analytical Fred for the Record:

Going into Brown was a quantum leap. It was a huge gamble on out part but it paid off in terms of delivering a major professional festival. I’d say 90 percent of it went exactly as we wanted it. I like the convention atmosphere. It’s a miracle that we were able to put in 28 exhibitions, a performing arts area, and Foamhenge, and the Berlin Wall in seven days. Where else could we have done that? Brown was tamed by volunteers and talent, particularly that of Jim Kanan and Steve Polk who came up with a wonderful system and usable display area. And of course it was wonderful that the Meeting Place had a lot of natural light for viewing portfolios.

We attracted about 25,000 people to George R. Brown. I would say a total of about 75,000 saw the whole FotoFest. Towards the end we were doing little informal interviews with people and found that we were getting people who had never set foot in a museum before. That was a result of the publicity and word of mouth. A lot of those people returned. We had large numbers of people coming that are a new group for us and for cultural events. During the first weekend, I knew a lot of people in the audience. During the last couple of weekends, almost everybody there was a face I didn’t recognize, Hispanics, blacks, whites, lots of them with children. I made videos all the time, and when you look at them you can see that these people were really looking at the photographs. So I think there was an interesting phenomenon.

In some ways, I think you can say that 1990 was the first FotoFest. It’s the first event that’s understandable and located in one place.

The things we didn’t do terribly well – I would have liked to have seen the interior of Foamhenge be some kind of high quality café where people could come at lunchtime and just have a nice time. We were locked into the very low-quality food Brown offers, sort of baseball game stuff. I don’t know what we can do about it. You can’t even bring your own brown bag in there. That worked very much against us.

Our signage was horrible. It was hard to determine where you were in the exhibition because of bad signs and labeling. We’ll correct that. Some of the exhibitions were too long, and we can fix that.

Our public relations was very good, but our marketing was miserable. We needed to encourage major corporations to sponsor evenings at FotoFest. We also should have plastered downtown with posters and flyers telling people to come to lunch and hear a lecture.

We had no tourist packages coming in from other cities and countries. Tourist organizations from England and France and Japan complained that they would have brought tours in if they’d known about it. We need to work tighter with the visitors and conventions people and the Texas Tourism and Development board. We thought we were working closely with them, but nothing much happened. The city and state lost a lot of revenue as a result, and FotoFest lost a lot of revenue. We learned that a group of British travel agents was in Texas during FotoFest and the tourism board told me they had scheduled them for a ranch somewhere and they didn’t have time to see FotoFest. Well, coming to FotoFest would have set them all up to send tours to Houston next time, and that didn’t happen. That kind of stupidity is something the state cannot afford. It cost everybody a lot of potential possibilities for the future.

Anyway, we need a staff marketing person who is as effective as Mary Margaret Hansen and her volunteers were with public relations. We’ll start immediately on that.

In 1998 we had some very large numbers that the visitors and convention bureau through some formula said we had attracted. Those numbers did not materialize and come to the Brown Convention Center, so obviously that formula was wrong. Even so, it was very encouraging for a first-time event. I think we’ll double the numbers in 1992, but still not probably enough to pay for the Convention Center. The chief drawback of the Convention Center is that it’s enormously expensive. The total tab on that thing is astronomical compared to what happens in other cities. Apparently, there’s nothing anybody can do about it, because it’s set in some kind of administrative concrete. But San Diego, for example, gets a permanent space in Balboa Park donated to the museum of photography there, and they pay a dollar a year for that. In addition, they get $140,000 from the city and another $25,000 from the county every year, because it’s felt that it’s a major attraction for the city. We get $17,000 from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, which we’re very grateful for, and the city was helpful in putting our signs up, but Houston is not organized currently to really out much money into the arts if we’re an example. There doesn’t seem to be any civic relief for the kinds of costs that we experienced going into the George Brown. That’s just a fact of life with trying to put on a thing of this nature in Houston. On the other hand, the city can put in large amounts of effort and money trying to attract things like the Democratic Convention or the Economic Summit which I think are both very attractive for the city and could be beneficial, but whether it will be worth $12 million or have any long-term economic benefit is another thing. We are in place, producing FotoFest every two years. It is an expandable tourist possibility, It is going to be a revenue generator for the city, and it costs practically nothing compared to what it does for the city. We get two-thirds of our budget from out of state. We have attempted to raise $300,000 a year here to take care of our administrative costs but have been unable to so that. We get good support from some of the foundations, but not enough. We get a fair amount of in-kind contributions from corporations, but very little cash. We think this is going to change because of the immense public relations benefit. Houston is written about extensively all over the world during FotoFest. The word is out from Tokyo to Moscow that this is the major photography event of the world. As that sinks in, we’ll get more and more help. I would think that as an arts group we’ve drawn more publicity in than any other group.

We’ve been able to do all this on a shoestring because we have very very good volunteer support. We have a well-organized volunteer system that utilized other volunteer organizations. We have about 700 volunteers who worked this time around. And we’ve gotten very surprising support from small businesses, like Spencer Plants that loaned is eight 20-foot Ficus trees for a month, for Foamhenge. A lot of contributions were small-scale, but there were so many of them that it became large-scale and was a major help. There’s a kind of spirit of generosity that permeated FotoFest. This reflected to some extent the feeling that FotoFest is dedicated to giving photographers a chance and to encouraging cultural interaction and international exchange, and we work hard at that. That spirit has been caught up by the volunteers and has gotten out to a large segment of the community and they work their tails off to help us. Europeans are amazed that with only five staff people that would normally take on 20 people to run. We have about five more people who work full time as volunteers. I’m a volunteer myself. The disadvantage of that is that we have the reputation for being able to pull it off every time on a shoestring. But you can’t do that permanently. At some point people burn out. You can’t expect people to work for nothing forever. To have this organization stabilize, you have to have a larger staff. You can’t expect volunteers to carry the whole thing on their backs.

For about $500,000 more than we spend right now, to cover administration, we can deliver to Houston a multi-million dollar tourist and public relations draw. It’s relatively easy to raise the rest of the money. This festival cost $1.3 million for everything. We probably need a total of 2 million, and that covers two years. With that we can hire a curatorial person, a marketing person, and so on to become a professional organization. We’re so swamped now that we can’t even evaluate ourselves correctly. Relative to the cost of other organizations that bring in publicity and tourism for Houston, we can do more at a fraction of the cost.

And so forth. Good solid information, much of it true, maybe all of it, but, you know, boring. I know that’s a terrible thing to say, I get furious every couple of years when the political writers start telling us the election of the moment is boring boring boring and then they day after the election the newspapers chastise us all for not voting in this wonderful event. What they mean by boring, and I think what I mean by boring, is that Fred wasn’t giving me any dirt, none of the raging in the parking lot. What did I expect? Sure, Dave, let’s just sit down here and I’ll babble on for half an hour and completely destroy FotoFest for you, would that be okay? Okay, I didn’t really what that, but I wanted some fire from the soul, I wanted… vision, yes. And just as I was beginning to despair of getting anything other than this elaborate wrap-up, I got it, I think. The Center of Fred. The Deep Vision.

But we can’t just jump right into that, gotta set the stage, change the venue. Well, who cares about these projects? Why are we living our lives from one bright idea to the next, stressed to sickness, crazed at all times, unhappy and frustrated – and for what?

Think about Fred four months before FotoFest is supposed to begin, when everybody else goes home at night to rest, and he carries off the knowledge that the money just isn’t there and the city won’t help and everywhere he foes people commiserate, but where’s the dough? Half a million dollars to build the Global Village in the convention center and the money just isn’t there. Fine, okay, forget it, do something else. Do Fred can recover and cut costs and go on, but boy he looked terrible for a few months there in the early fall; you had to worry about him. A lot of people say, well, it’s his ego, this FotoFest is his monument, his big claim to fame. He has to succeed. Sometimes when he’s on for a tape recorder or a new mark you hear him talk about how Houston can benefit from all the tourism FotoFest can generate, all the international publicity and so on, but in spite of the fact that that long pitch is his major theme, it’s the other thing that drives him, the old stuff, The Movement.

Here’s a guy who has loads of photographs he made of Martin Luther King in the early days. He was there. His long residency in Grimes County with co-conspirator Wendy Watriss, photographing the lives of black people there, at nobody’s request, and all their other involvement in Good Things, years and years of it. Fred Baldwin, this Savannah aristocrat who looks like a Southern senator and moves like one too, but he’s a man who sees through New Southern eyes, and what he sees through them, clearly, is One World.

In the beginning, when Fred and Wendy and gallery owner Petra Benteler were forming FotoFest, Fred would draw little pictures of Houston here, Europe here, and Japan here, with Houston right in the middle, the obvious place to focus all international activity of every sort. Other lines drifted off to Latin America, Asia, the Soviet Union…

It was a vision as grand as they get, people meeting people, transcending ideologies and making deals, all through Houston, the First Word Spoken from the Moon, the Energy Capital of the World. All right there on napkins and the backs of envelopes. The first couple of FotoFests were heavy on Japan and Europe. And now it’s 1990, the year FotoFest focused on eastern Europe and brought it out of the Soviet prison, when Fred was to offer the public relations prowess of FotoFests to Vaclav Havel, the new President of Czechoslovakia, when the huge mural of the Berlin wall (which had been the planned centerpiece of the ’90 FotoFest for a year) suddenly took on new meaning as the real wall was smashed to bits, and here came this flood of Czech, Bulgarian, and Russian photographers to Fotofest, and all this amazement. One World! It was working!

FotoFest works on all levels, Fred says. People make friendships here, and we’re visiting in eastern Europe and Japan and God knows where as the result of contacts that were made here. Even on a commercial basis, we made an arrangement for an exchange program between TASS and the Houston Post. We had the senior picture editor for TASS here and we took her down to the post and we made a deal with them to exchange photographers. All those kinds of formal and informal exchanges are something to tie the world a little closer to Houston.

If you look at the fact sheet, you see how many of the foreign exhibitions are going to travel to other places in America. On a personal level, Wendy and I were able to arrange for one Bulgarian and one Czech to get Fulbright scholarships, and they’re traveling around the country lecturing and making contacts. One of them went to the University of Missouri and one to the University of Texas. Ivo Hadjimishev, who is the picture editor of a major Bulgarian picture magazine, is anxious to start a journalism school in Sofia. So we arranged to have him look over the programs at the university of Texas at Austin and the University of Missouri. We’re actually concocting a three-pronged program, which will be FotoFest, Kodak, and the University of Missouri, doing workshops on this subject to figure out how to help them get their journalism school going.

There’s a Swedish photographer who, through FotoFest, now has five museum shows in the United States and she’s talked to Carole Kismaric about a show at the Museum of Modern Art.

Now this kind of connection puts you on the world map. FotoFest is so effective in terms of making these connections for photographers that now, if you’ve exhibited at FotoFest, you’re on the world photography map.

People come here and find book projects, museum projects, and they sell work here. I’ve talked to at least ten people who sold work to Helmut Gernsheim while they were here. In fact, there was one guy from New York who was here working on the Canon Color Copier in out Creative Center and pulled a couple of experiments out of that, put them in his portfolio and Gernscheim loved them and bought three of them on the spot. What a strange thing, the guy that bought the first photograph ever made and gave it to the University of Texas comes along and buys the latest one ever made, just minutes old. In that one act, you have a reference point to the earliest photograph that was ever made, to one of the earliest and greatest collectors of all time, and the latest possible thing that is happening in FotoFest with electronic imaging. The other thing we’re up to is, we’re committed to education. We’re using photography as a tool to combat literacy problems in the school system and it’s a very successful program and we’ve already started to have discussions with other organizations who are similarly involved. We’re interested in getting together with the Texas Institute, for example. They’re doing similar things with other arts, but they’re not using photography. It’s a little different, but what they want as an end product is the same as what we want, which is better educated kids. So education is our major thrust for the future, but that is still a puzzle administratively, whether we establish a separate foundation or what.

The Creative Center is another major project. That involves enormously expensive equipment and space and new administrative costs. Depending on how excited we can get Apple and Sony and Canon, if we can get enough money from corporations of that size to set up an experimental place in Houston, that would be something we’d want to do. That week of experimentation during FotoFest was highly successful. Canon is very interested in it right now. They brought a lot of equipment in. We’ll do it again next time, even if we don’t get into it full time. It was very interesting to the public and they lined up to watch and to play with it.

In 1992, we’ll have two main thrusts, the Americas and Latin America, because of Columbus coming here 500 years ago. We’ll concentrate on Latin America, a celebration of the truth about the influence of the migration from Europe to the Americas. Not a celebration of the event, but a celebration of the truth.

The other part of FotoFest will be devoted to the twelve Common market countries, because in that year all the barriers come down in Europe. We may do a very large Soviet exhibition curated by Wendy and myself. We plan to go to the Soviet Union very soon to start on that. That arose out of typical FotoFest circumstances. Wendy and I are doing a workshop in Czechoslovakia, we will then go to Bulgaria, where we’ve been invited, and we will go on a tour of the Soviet Union with the editor of the Bulgarian photographic magazine, who’s a close friend that we’ve brought over here and who speaks fluent Russian and knows all the Soviet photographers…

Right, and Japan’s over here, and Africa’s down here, and Houston’s right in the middle, and so is Fred. Still crazy after all these years, and why not?

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