One day Jack Reznicki and I were talking on the phone when he mentioned there was a monthly salon in NYC that would be meeting that night, did I want to go? Damn right I did, and it opened a whole new chapter in my life. We got together in Chip Forelli’s studio where 3 photographers showed slides of their work to the group of about 20 people. Lively discussion followed with friends old and new. Jay Maisel was there, along with Howard Schatz and a few others who had started the group. Every month it was hosted by a different photographer and 3 or 4 others were invited to show work. It was great to get out of the darkroom and into a dark room full of colleagues and slide shows. After a few years Howard Schatz decided he could no longer do all the organizing and inviting and scheduling. He asked me to help out and I gladly did it. I was constantly looking for interesting work and sending out faxes inviting photographers to show their stuff. It was before email was in widespread use. It was inspiring to see the work and hear the talk of inspiration and creativity. We discouraged technical talk and long prepared speeches. It was about the pictures, not the palaver.
I got to know many photographers thanks to the salons and developed some long term friendships. The salon evolved and eventually I passed the organizational tasks to others. That helped keep it fresh and it continued until the COVID pandemic killed it, 20+ years later. One highlight for me was when Arnold Newman agreed to present his work. He asked me to pick him up and drive him home, and we got to talk one to one. Jim Marshall was another great presenter and we spoke a number of times preparing for his presentation. Douglas Kirkland provided a great show of pictures and insights and his enthusiasm was inspiring. Jay Maisel used to show work nearly every month because it gave him a goal to edit his huge body of work to show at the salon.
I always continued making fine art when I was actively doing commercial photography. The fine art provided an opportunity to experiment and those experiments helped the commercial work evolve and remain fresh.