Cover Crush: Finding Doro Maar by Brigitte Benkemoun

Finding Dora MaarFinding Dora Maar

An Artist, an Address Book, a Life

by Brigitte Benkemoun

Getty Publications

Arts & Photography, Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 05 May 2020

Description

In search of a replacement for his lost Hermès agenda, Brigitte Benkemoun’s husband buys a vintage diary on eBay. When it arrives, she opens it and finds inside private notes dating back to 1951—twenty pages of phone numbers and addresses for Balthus, Brassaï, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Leonor Fini, Jacqueline Lamba, and other artistic luminaries of the European avant-garde.

After realizing that the address book belonged to Dora Maar—Picasso’s famous “Weeping Woman” and a brilliant artist in her own right—Benkemoun embarks on a two-year voyage of discovery to learn more about this provocative, passionate, and enigmatic woman, and the role that each of these figures played in her life.

Longlisted for the prestigious literary award Prix Renaudot, Finding Dora Maar is a fascinating and breathtaking portrait of the artist.

This work received support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States through their publishing assistance program.

 My review of the cover: 

First of all, the subject matter interest me on several levels. Imagine buying a vintage diary on ebay to replace the one you lost and discover upon arrival that its contents contain contact information of acclaimed individuals. That extraordinary find is something dreams are made of for collectors, artists and history lovers.

The cover itself caught my eye because of the composition of the images of paper. I’m a lover of paper crafting you see and journals. Though I feel the background on the layout could be better. From seeing the cover, I went on an exploration about this book soon to be published and have added it to my wish-list.

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Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

 

History Surrounds Us With Stuart S. Laing

It is always a pleasure to have Author and history enthusiast Stuart S. Laing visit Layered Pages. He talks with me about the images he captures of Edinburgh and gives us a glimpse of it’s fascinating history! 

Stuart, I have been enjoying the photos of Edinburgh you have been posting on social media. Even though I haven’t had the chance to visit the city, it is on my bucket list! When you find an image to photograph, what is going through your mind?

Stuart

Stuart S. Laing

Thank you, and I would love to give you a guided tour around town one day. As to taking photos I think it just comes down to being in the moment. I love the architecture of the Old Town, the history surrounding you, and the energy of the people both local and visitors from all corners of the world. Trying to capture just a hint of that is such fun. But I am strictly of the point and click school of photography.

The architecture is certainly breathtaking!  You really do have a great eye for imagery. Which I believe is part of your story telling in books. What do you characters have to say about that?

I think Robert Young would agree with you. He would point out that the more you can see, the more you can know. A shady character like Shug Nicholls would prefer people not go prying into what he and his old adversary, Sergeant MacIan of the Town Guard, get up too. What I try to achieve with words is to paint the reader into the scene so they can be there and feel the cobbled streets beneath their feet and catch a waft of the stink from open sewers or the sweet aroma of perfumed ladies as they pass by.

I notice you choose a black and white medium for your pictures. Is there a particular reason why?

I think the benefit of black and white is it brings an element of doubt into a picture, was it taken yesterday or 50 years ago? It’s my attempt to try to capture the timelessness of a city which seems to never change on the surface but in reality has been in constant motion as old buildings crumble and new ones rise. The thing which saves Edinburgh from the anonymity which besets so many city centres is the fact that in large the centre of town has managed to escape the concrete and glass monstrosities of so many other old cities.

Edinburgh 6What do you love most about Edinburgh?

The simple answer is everything. As I mentioned earlier it’s the history, the buildings, the noise and the hustle and bustle. I know that many locals decry events which fill the centre of town such as the

Festival Fringe which draws tens of thousands daily throughout August but I actually love the crowds. I think that many forget that until the development of the New Town from the 1760s onwards, Edinburgh was largely shoehorned into a space smaller than many modern city parks. It was this which led to Edinburgh Old Town being home to the first skyscrapers as builders went up rather than out. So, for me, seeing those crowds is simply an echo of the past when the Royal Mile was home to shops, coffeehouse, stalls, animals, horses and carts all competing for space. These days there is little risk of having a cow squash your foot under its hoof so people probably should count their blessings

Edinburgh IIHow often do you get a chance to visit the city?

I try to get across as often as possible, and normally at least several times a year. Having a membership of Historic Scotland allows me unlimited entry to Edinburgh Castle which provides another excuse to pop over.

 

 

 

Edinburgh 7

Cowgate before the ‘improvements’ of the 1860s

What have you discovered on your adventures to be the most surprising?

Probably that despite all the changes Edinburgh has faced, urban planners, great fires, which destroyed a large area of the Royal Mile meaning that parts of the New Town are actually older than parts of the Old Town, is the fact that you can take the map of town drawn in the 1740s and use it to guide you through the streets, closes and wynds (alleyways) today. Even when regeneration meant the slum dwellings of the Cowgate were obliterated in the name of progress in the 1860s, the new homes and shops were all built on the footprint of what they replaced. It is still remarkably easy to walk from the Royal Mile to the south side of town following the exact same route you would have taken in the 15th, 16th, 17th or 18th century. That is what constantly inspires me to keep going back.

Edinburgh 4Describe Edinburgh to me from your mind.

Edinburgh, to me, is a strange combination of what you see and what you feel. When I stand on the cobbles by St Giles Cathedral in the very heart of town I don’t only see the beauty of the church before me but, in my mind, I also see the tall, grim walls of the old Tolbooth which once stood here, its location marked by brass markers set in the cobbles. It was here that William Burke, one half of the murderous duo with William Hare, met his end in 1829 on gallows built where the Tolbooth had once stood. It was from the Tolbooth that Captain Porteous of the Town Guard was seized by a mob who would lynch him in the Grassmarket. However it was also here where stalls once stood ran by women selling their wares such as home weaving and hand knitted clothes, fresh wild flowers and vegetables to the people of town. Nearby the famous poet Allan Ramsay operated the first circulating library which opened in 1725. That is what fascinates me about Edinburgh, the constant mixture between beauty and darkness. It was the city of Enlightenment when Scotland led the world in the advancement of science while at the same time huge crowds would gather in good humoured revelry to watch the public hangings in the street. The city itself presents visitors with its split personality. On one hand you have the cramped, towering tenements with the warren of narrow alleys running under and between them where every Close tells its own story and where you can get a taste of how the city once looked and felt, and occasionally smelled as you venture down them. Meanwhile only a short walk away you discover the elegance, charm and open, broad streets of the Georgian New Town where upmarket retailers and fashionistas can be found sipping artisan coffees in the streets where Robert Louis Stevenson grew up. That is what keeps drawing me back again and again. The dual nature of a city where everything changes and nothing does. If that doesn’t make sense you need to visit and spend a day just walking the streets and let some of fair Edina’s spirit work its way into your heart.

Stuart, thank you!

And thank you for allowing me to share my love of Auld Reekie with you. And remember that invite for a guided tour is always open.

Thank you, everyone for visiting Layered Pages today. Stay tuned for our follow up post about History Surrounds Us coming soon here at Layered Pages! -Stephanie

More About Stuart: 

Born and raised on the east coast of Scotland in the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fife Stuart grew up looking across the Firth of Forth towards the spires and turrets of the city of Edinburgh and its castle atop its volcanic eyrie.

He has always been fascinated by the history of Auld Reekie and has spend most of his life studying Scottish history in all its aspects whenever he finds the time between family, work and the thousand and one other things that seek to distract him.
Despite the vast panorama of Scotland’s history he always find himself being drawn back to the cobbled streets of the Old Town. Those streets have provided the inspiration for his stories and characters.

He would urge all visitors to Scotland’s ancient capital to (briefly) venture into one of the narrow closes running down from the Royal Mile to get a flavour of how alive with mischief, mayhem, love and laughter these streets once were.

Stuart’s Facebook Pages where you can find more images from him and information about his stories HERE.

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(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie Hopkins)

 

 

 

2019 Musings and New Projects

Me in March 20182018 was the first year I did not reach my reading goal in a very long, long time. I thought I would be upset over that but surprisingly I am not. I still read a lot of books considering…  I want to focus on the quality of reads and I am wanting to really dig deep into my Presidents Reading Challenge. Also, I am starting new works on Layered Pages.

This year I will be posting about a variety of mediums. Including fashion, art, books, food and photography. However, I did a little of that last year but you’ll be seeing a lot more this time around and with a lot more creativity. Such as you’ll get to see guest posts from artists, authors, photographer’s and people who work in the nutritional industry. I am really thrilled about these new and exciting projects coming up on my website.

This week I finished reading. The Long Road to Mercy. I’m still thinking about how I want to discuss my thoughts on this book. There were things I liked about it and things I did not like. Tomorrow I am starting, The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau. She is among the very few authors whose books I’ll review anymore. Her stories are amazing!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Follow my closet  @artsycouture42 and use my code: ARTSYCOUTURE42 to get a free $5 credit when signing up for Poshmark! http://www.poshmark.com

long road to mercyLong Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine #1) by David Baldacci

#1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci introduces a remarkable new character: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . .

blueThe Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

In eighteenth century London, porcelain is the most seductive of commodities; fortunes are made and lost upon it. Kings do battle with knights and knaves for possession of the finest pieces and the secrets of their manufacture.

For Genevieve Planché, an English-born descendant of Huguenot refugees, porcelain holds far less allure; she wants to be an artist, a painter of international repute, but nobody takes the idea of a female artist seriously in London. If only she could reach Venice.

When Genevieve meets the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, he offers her an opportunity she can’t refuse; if she learns the secrets of porcelain, he will send her to Venice. But in particular, she must learn the secrets of the colour blue…

The ensuing events take Genevieve deep into England’s emerging industrial heartlands, where not only does she learn about porcelain, but also about the art of industrial espionage.

With the heart and spirit of her Huguenot ancestors, Genevieve faces her challenges head on, but how much is she willing to suffer in pursuit and protection of the colour blue?

New Beginnings for Layered Pages

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Layered Pages will now be a blend of literature (Book Sales Starting on Friday), art, photography, and fashion! Be sure to tell your friends all about the new changes to Layered Pages!

My latest listings on Poshmark is now live! 10 listings in all! Be sure to check this out and my other items in my closet!  Make a bundle and get 15% OFF 3 or more items from this closet! Poshmark Website 

Use my code ARTSYCOUTURE42 to sign up for Poshmark and get a $5.00 credit!  

This past weekend I was going to get my art on but I did not get a moment to do so! Very frustrating but I shall make up for it soon and share with you all my upcoming creations.

What I’m reading: Sailing Lessons by Hannah McKinnon

On the shores of Cape Cod, the Bailey sisters reunite with their long-lost father for a summer of hope and forgiveness in this heartfelt novel from the author of the “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) Mystic Summer, The Lake Season, and The Summer House, sure to appeal to “fans of Elin Hilderbrand” (Booklist).

Wrenn Bailey has lived all her life on Cape Cod with her mother Lindy, older sister Shannon, and younger sister Piper. Growing up, life was dictated by the seasons with sleepy gray winters where only the locals stayed on, followed by the sharp influx and colorful bustle of summer tourists who swept up the elbow of the Cape and infiltrated their small paradise.

But it wasn’t just the tourists who interrupted Wrenn’s formative years; her father—brilliant but troubled photographer Caleb—has long made a habit of drifting in and out of his girls’ lives. Until the one summer he left the Cape and did not return again.

Now, almost twenty years later, Caleb has come back one last time, suffering from pancreatic cancer and seeking absolution. Wrenn and her sisters each respond differently to their father’s return, determined to find closure. But that means returning to the past and revisiting old wounds—wounds that cause the tightknit Bailey women to confront their own wishes and wants, and admit to their own wrong-doings over the years. In a place that brings both great comfort and great pain, the Bailey sisters experience a summer on the Cape that promises not only hard endings, but perhaps, hopeful new beginnings.

 What I’m listening to: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman-Fabulous so far!

“A psychological thriller that captivated me from page one. What unfolds makes for a wild, page-turning ride! It’s the perfect beach read!”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine book pick)

A shocking discovery on a honeymoon in paradise changes the lives of a picture-perfect couple in this taut psychological thriller debut–for readers of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Shari Lapena.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? 

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

 

False Kiva

FalseKiva_L01
“False Kiva is a human-made stone circle of unknown origin in a cave in a remote area of the Canyonlands National Park, which is located in U.S. state of Utah. It requires some hiking knowledge or special directions to find.” -Photo taken by Scott Moore 2018
Information source-Wikipedia

Giveaways to enter!

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L.A.P. it Marketing is holding a BIG giveaway at their Facebook Page! Be sure to check it out and enter! For US and Canada Residents only. Good luck!

Enter giveaway HERE

Giveaway at Novel Expressions

Novel Expressions Blog Tours Facebook Page is holding a giveaway!  A $25.00 Amazon Gift Card AND a Kindle Copy of Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (The Derrynane Saga Book 2) by Kevin O’Connell to one lucky winner!

Enter giveaway HERE

L.A.P. it Marketing Giveaway Announcement

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As many of you know, I started a marketing firm for Literature, Art and Photography. Over at the L.A.P. it Marketing Facebook Page I will be holding a fantastic giveaway starting on February 1st. Several of my clients will be contributing to the giveaway and we would be delighted to have you enter and share about what’s to come. Please follow L.A.P. it’s Facebook for exciting content and giveaways!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Giveaway Package to one lucky winner:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

A Set of Handmade Bookmarks by Stephanie M. Hopkins

A 5×7 Vintage/Abstract on mix media paper by Stephanie M. Hopkins

8×12 Print Photo of Edinburgh Scotland by WSM Photography

Print book: Heart Soul & Rock ‘N’ Roll: A Mid-Life Love Story by Janet R. Stafford

Print book: The Immigrant by Alfred Woollacott III

Print copy of The Believers In The Crucible Nauvoo by Alfred Woollacott III

Kindle edition of Owen (Book one of The Tudor Trilogy) by Tony Riches

300 Writing Prompts Journal

My Heart Is Like A Singing Bird Quotes to Color book

 

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Q&A With Photographer Scott Moore

Scott Moore with Sally

I’d like to welcome Scott Moore today to talk with me about his photography business and how he got into photography.

Scott, what is the name of your Photography business?

The name of my business in WSM Photography. It’s an often-used formula, but the WSM stands for my initials “Walker Scott Moore”. I also have a variation of my initials I use online, as an online id, which is “Wizum”. Kind of how you would say my initials as a word… I use that identity quite a bit with social media and photo sharing sites.

How long have you been in photography?

I started shooting with a Minolta film camera back in the late 90’s. It was something very casual and I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. After finishing up my degree in architecture in the early 2000’s, I picked up my first digital camera, a Coolpix 3200, and used it quite a bit on travels, especially when I visited famous buildings designed by architects I had studied in school. Two “point and shoot” cameras later I decided to buy my first SLR camera, a Canon XTi. From there, things really took off and around the start of 2009 I excepted my first architectural paid shoot, which just so happened to be a new high rise I could see from my work desk looking out the window. It must have been fate, right?

Professionally I’ve been photographing architecture for 8 years. I’ve also sold a number of prints and canvases over the years as well or Landscapes and Cityscapes, as well as having done some professional portraits and a wedding or two as a second shooter. This last year I shot the Tom Glavine Spring Training Georgia Transplant Foundation fundraiser event. I shot that for 5 years straight and it was always a rewarding and fun event to shoot.

What is your motivation in photography?

Place.

While studying architecture in school- a lot of time is spent studying other architects work and also their writings. This invariably led to other writings from non-architects, but still discussing related subjects, or subjects that could influence the world of architecture. One of the more influential writings led to the realization of how we interact with the world and how when we create architecture, it is something that does not sit in an open field of grass, it sits in a place. Buildings have context. and it is this context which can have a major influence on the design of a building.

So, context is such a key for me when I look at a place. Whether that place is in the city or in a natural setting. I love capturing places and subjects within these places.

What do you specialize in and what is your process?

For pay, my photography work is primarily shooting architecture. I obviously understand the subject well, as I have been trained to be an architect and have been practicing it for 20 plus years.

My process for shooting sometimes depends on the building I’m shooting, and also the client I am shooting for, but primarily I like to do a survey of the project and take sample shots before doing the final shooting. This allows me to get a feel for the project and how light, depending on the time of day, interacts with it. After that I’ll have a good understanding of the shots I will take, which are usually derived from a client request and ideas I see while shooting and reviewing the sample shots I took.

I also shoot multiple exposures when shooting. I sometimes will use these exposures in a blending process, but sometimes I am able to capture the right shot in one exposure. You might ask why I do this? Well, the camera does not have the same exposure adjustment that the human eye has. When dealing with multiple light levels, sometimes very drastic from each other, you shoot for these extremes so you can balance them out in post processing, so that the final image reflects more closely to what the eye can see of the scene you captured.

Who are a few of the businesses you have shot images for?

I have had the opportunity to shoot a number of buildings I have actually designed, while working for various architecture firms in Atlanta. These firms are DAG Architects, CDH partners and AE Perspective (formally AE Design). I’ve also shot for 2 firms in Chattanooga, TN as well as having the opportunity to shoot for an architect in Cape Town South Africa. The 2 homes I photographed in Cape Town were simply amazing, one having an open view of the Atlantic Ocean from the living room, overlooking an infinity edge pool, and the other on the beach, with a view of Table Mountain in the distance and across the bay.

I have also photographed for an architectural lighting company as well several General Contractors who constructed several of the projects I have photographed.

What gear do you prefer to use the most?

For my architectural work I shoot a lot with my 17mm Tilt Shift lens. It is very wide and it allows for me to correct perspective within the lens real-time. It is a really great lens and gives me some of my sharpest images.

When shooting landscapes or cityscapes I also tend to shoot with a wide angle, but generally I shoot with my L17-40 4.0 Lens.

My current camera body is the Canon 6D. I used to shoot with the 5D mark ii, but had a mishap with it in the ocean. 😦

What settings do you use when at a shooting site?

Not to give away too many secrets 😉 but when shooting architectural work, I keep my aperture around f11-f16. I shoot with a tripod 90% of the time, which allows for the multiple exposures I mentioned before. The ISO is usually at 100, for as little pixel noise (grain), and the exposures will vary drastically, but I do like to shoot with longish exposures.

Please share your favorite image you have taken.

I don’t know if I have just 1 favorite. So many of my shots remind me of those times I shot them and are also kind of a photographic journal of my journey, and development as a photographer. The one I will share with you though is from early on in my shooting career of a waterfall in Alabama. It is called, Caney Creek Falls. What is so cool about the shot is that visiting the place was really amazing. Call it a good day or the location itself, but a lot of things photographically really came to me when doing this shoot.

CaineyCreekFalls002 Scott's Picture

Who are your influences in the industry?

It is kind of funny, but I cannot really name one established or famous photographer that has been an influence on me. What I can name is the massive amount of talent that is out there, who share their work on sites like Flickr and 500px. Also, there is a local photography group in Atlanta called the Atlanta Photography Guild. They started out as a meet-up group from Flickr and met at a small local pub in Castleberry Hill. Every 2 weeks models would be there to photograph and the organizer, Mark Turnley, would setup different lighting. Everyone would pay 5 bucks to shoot and it was a really fun social, and engaging group. Though I don’t do a whole lot of portrait work the knowledge about lighting was important to my development as a photographer. The group is still around, though I’m not 100% where they meet these days.

How can people get in contact with you?

I can be reached easily online through my website or shoot me an email at wizum2003@yahoo.com.

Also, if you find an image on my website or while exploring my work on Flickr or 500px, that you like, I can do custom prints. Contact me on those for a quote. These days I’ve sent photographs to be printed on metal sheets, canvas and even carpet. The options are abundant, so reach out to me.

About Scott Moore:

Scott Moore started his photography venture in 2008. His work is rooted in his love and practice of architecture. He has been practicing architecture for nearly 20 years, while shooting architecture, throughout the Southeast U.S. and abroad in South Africa, for 9 years.

What allows Scott’s work to stand apart from others is his background in architecture and design. By practice and training Scott understands the architect’s vision. He has had the opportunity to shoot a number of projects he also designed and managed through construction. It is this comprehensive understanding of place, design and architectural vision that influences his eye through the lens.

Scott also enjoys shooting landscapes and cityscapes from various continents. This love of architecture and photography comes from his understanding and appreciation of the context all of us live around and within. Capturing places and things, while an extension of his education and practice in architecture, is an extension of his passion for the beautiful world we all live in.

Other Social Media Links:

WSM Photography Facebook Page

Twitter

Instagram

WSM Photography Blog

L.A.P. it Marketing LLC

What is L.A.P. it Marketing?

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L.A.P. it is a social media platform that applies to a variety of professions-such as-Literature, Art and Photography. The practicalities of Internet life can be tricky for many, not everyone is computer savvy and would prefer to solely focus on their craft or they have a tight budget but need help in this arena. How does one market their own work if they have little money or they don’t understand how the market works or both? There are so many entities out there charging fees that are not doable for most or they promise what they cannot deliver. L.A.P. it has created a new concept of social media marketing and provides a unique service to showcase writers, artists and photographers work. L.A.P. it will also work with publishers, independent presses, artist/photographer galleries and other entities that involve the three areas mentioned.

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