Friday, May 20, 2011

Derrick Cartwright of SAM


When I photographed Derrick Cartwright at the end of last year on an assignment for the Seattle Art Museum, he was the - still new - Director of SAM . I did not have a chance to meet him before the shoot. When I arrived at the day of the shoot and walked through the museum to the spots I had chosen as possible locations, I saw him being involded in talking to visitors in the big museums hall. I was impressed and touched by the energy and personal involvement that I could sense around him while connecting with the people.

The question was on my mind how I would photograph him. In general I am always looking for the human being behind or in the constraints of the position in the hierarchy of an institution. I was interested in what Derrick Cartwright's personal connection to art is, what the drive and motivation is and what keeps him going in the not easy task of guiding a big ship like SAM through the storm.

Of course there is only so much you can touch on in the photo situation. It's all about arriving at a "presence", for myself in really "seeing" the person I photograph as well as being aware when the person arrives at that moment of presence himself.

I love this image! There is something around his eyes I find very beautiful and where I can sense a gentleness and the ability to make himself available to the person in front of him. I also believe I can see what is kept alive in him in his relation to art and what might lead back to his very early and direct experiences in what art and creating art can mean and can communicate for a single person and society as a whole.

I am sad to hear the recent news that Mr. Cartwright decided to resign from his position as Director of the Seattle Art Museum by the end of June. As he says: "Now, I want to re-establish my personal connection with the artists, objects, and ideas that got me into museum work in the first place."

Luckily he will stay in Seattle and it is very likely that we will see him around. I have a lot of respect for his decision to honor and follow what is "close to his heart". I am happy to have met him and I am sending all my best wishes for his further path!

1 comment:

the Lone Star Artist said...

Derrick was the director for the San Diego Museum of Art when I worked there. He was an amazing, charismatic leader. He understood and interpreted the art passionately for what it was. His leaving SDMA was one of the main reasons why I quit working there all in all.