Artist Statement

After one of my exhibits in Boston, the following review was written in Popular Photography.*

Here’s a recipe for a new cocktail, the Margot Niederland: two parts Judy Dater Vermouth, one part Elliot Erwitt Extra Dry Gin, dash of Diane Arbus bitters; stir vigorously with generous amounts of Black Humor. To these put your ASA over the 1,200 mark.

When you see a group of adolescent girls arranged on a lawn in formal (school-prom) satin dresses, which look on them as appropriate as a saddle on a cow, and the picture is not the soft-focus hand colored portrait variety, but a black-and white glossy, your immediate reaction is: “Aha! Diane Arbus!” Wrong. Arbus would have shown them with contempt; this photographer shows them with a chuckle. The girls are cutting up in over-assumed poses while the plainly dressed boy in the center maintains the bland composure of a Buster Keaton.

Or take a well-Datered subject: a raven-like woman in her kitchen. In addition to the environmental portrait Margot pictures her holding a helpless plucked chicken. The woman looks out at you with a half-smile that is so sinister you might think she personally murdered the bird. Somehow the combination of sinister smile and naked chicken…tickles! Is she going to devour it raw?
Or: an elegant lady in formal black dress with full complement of jewelry, photographed – of all things – flushing the toilet.
Or: a woman with a gypsy profile blowing smoke from a cigarette. The cloud neatly coincides with a flower vase to give double meaning to the term bouquet.

“In all, I’d say the Margot Niederland Cocktail is delightfully bittersweet.”
— Vladimir Gulevich

* The photographs he mentions are included on this website.

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