To all the ships at sea,
Both JoAnne and I absolutely love going to any art gallery, museum, or photo show. If you allow your mind to open up to new ideas, it can be a tremendous inspiration to your own work. We were invited to the opening of Yukiko’s work in Westchester county at the Martin Stankiewicz gallery. I have to tell you it was a fabulous show. Both photographers, diametrically opposite in style, but tremendous talents. To say nothing of the Prosecco, that was very dry, and that’s me trying to be funny. Over my X number of decades in photography, Yukiko was probably my favorite editor, and definitely the toughest. When Yukiko gave me an idea, or a critique, I listened, and I executed on her recommendation, and then of coarse, I did it my way, the combination was extremely successful for both of us. Life is good. I purchased one of her pieces that was typical Asian composition (I studied art in Japan, less is more). Yukiko’s work is so strong and minimalistic. If you have the opportunity, see her show, it’s worth the ride. If not, she’s having a gallery show in Manhattan, more to follow. I would be remise if I didn’t say that Tom is a fabulous photographer. He’s been across the block quite a bit and he’s taken his Black Star routes and added a fine art twist. Excellent photographer. It’s all good.
Artists’s Statement: Tom Sobolik
This exhibit is the result of artistic larceny. The exhibit also grew out of the 34-year photography friendship between Yukiko Launois and me. We met in1980 when Yukiko was head of the photo library at the Black Star photo agency and I, a fledgling photojournalist, went to work for her. After a career as a photo editor for Black Star and Corbis, Yukiko became a photographer herself in retirement. My career was a photojournalist and a corporate photographer through Black Star. About 10 years ago I began switching my emphasis to landscape photography.
I was inspired to winter scenes by Yukiko occasionally sent of snow in Central Park. Photographing purely for her own enjoyment, she would “publish” them by home-making greeting cards and sending them to friends. I loved the photos and was drawn to the harmony, simplicity and grace in them juxtaposed to the stark contrasts and harshness of winter.
Without knowing the Picasso quote, “Bad artists copy. Good artists steal”, I began unconsciously pilfering the sensibilities I drew from my friends photos. After seeing the early results I became much more aware of Yukiko’s influence on my winter work and I began unabashedly helping myself to all I could of her vision. This show is some of the evidence of that thievery. It is a collaboration because Yukiko is complicit in my embezzlement.
Artist’s statement: Yukiko Launois
I am first and foremost a photography editor. That was my career and I never took a photograph myself until after my retirement 10 years ago. Then I began editing the real world and putting my choice on film. I am an observer of nature and I try to choose the purest beauty in it.
My idea of beauty is influenced by my upbringing in Japan. As a girl I learned classical Japanese arts including calligraphy and flower arranging. I rebelled against the classics and fell in love and married a French/American photojournalist, moving to New York. But Japanese aesthetics remained in my DNA.
Taking photographs is my pleasure. I do it for my own enjoyment and could never have seen myself as one of the many world-renowned photojournalists whose work I edited for Black Star and Corbis. Pressure and deadlines are not for me.
Even so, when I am happy with a photograph I like to share it. So I make note cards with my favorite images and send them to friends.
I was flattered when Tom asked me to do a joint show. I was blown away when I saw some of his snow pictures. His less-is-more kind of approach looked very Japanese to me. I didn’t know I inspired him to do the work but my old editing instincts told me our photos would look good together.