The St. Louis Business Journal has published a nice piece on local photographer Michael Eastman, who I learned about via his neighbor William Gass. One of Eastman’s photos graces the cover of this Gass novel, and the photographer mentioned Gass in his recent Business Journal interview:
“Bill Gass is also a mentor. He has given me so much, mostly about working as an artist; he lives across the street. We’ve known each other for 20 years. He wrote the introduction to my Forest Park book, and we went to Paris together when I photographed Rodin.”
Surely the paper is slightly off on that quote, and Eastman didn’t mean “photographed Rodin” as in “photographed Rodin.” Regardless, when I interviewed Gass last January, he mentioned Eastman near the end of our conversation. We’d been talking about living on the margins (meaning: not in New York), and I asked him what he’s been up to lately and if he was still taking lots of pictures. Since this part was cut even before I submitted the interview to The Believer, where it’ll appear this November, I’ll quote the few lines on Eastman:
“I’m not doing much picture-taking anymore, partly because I’m working with Michael Eastman, and he [laughs] is so good that I can’t possibly. And we have several projects underway. So I’m doing a lot of writing about photography, and thinking about it, and talking about it with him. Again, he’s a great artist on the periphery of New York. And he knows why he should stay out of there, but it means he is not going to be as noted. But that’s picking up. That’s changing. His career’s taking off. But he’s in his late 50’s already, you know, it took time. For visual artists who are not in New York, you’re really on the margins. So I’m working and talking with him, which is terrific.”
Eastman has some striking work on his web site, posted for our pleasure.