Blog

This is my studio for exploring my work. Consider these drafts.

This was my chance

It feels like New Orleans has settled over New York for the past week. The languorous, swampy heat. The other night I was listening to The Last Waltz and "Such a Night" with Dr. John came on. He's a national treasure, music personified, and you should listen to this song and see what happens to you.

And while you're listening and giving thanks for these sounds, I'd like to show you another treasure, someone else with a New Orleans soul, someone else who can conjure a kind of magic, someone else you'll give thanks for. He's a doctor, she's royalty, and they both can heal us in ways that we need.

This is your chance.

Such a Night
It’s such a night
Sweet confusion under the moonlight.

Such a night
Such a night
To steal away, the time is right.

Your eyes met mine
At a glance
You let me know
This was my chance.
— Dr. John
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by Balthazar Simões

She lives an inspired life

And I'm oh so inspired. 


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by Balthazar Simões

Color

I don't speak much about my work and what it means to me or what I want it to mean to others. I'm more concerned with just doing it. But for a while I've wanted to say something about people of color and their impact on what I do.

There's a lot to say and I guess if there's a time to start saying it, it's now.

I grew up in a place where there were no people of color. Movies and TV and music were the only venues where I encountered people that looked different from me, lived in different places, had challenges that I couldn't imagine.  

Over the last 5 years I've been so blessed to be able to encounter and photograph people that I could only have met by the intermediary of media before. I live in a place now where I am surrounded by people of every color. Going back now to places where that's not the case I feel uncomfortable, unsafe in some way.

There are the unbearably loud and fatal impacts of racism (as we can see almost daily), but I wonder what the impact must be of the omnipresent, inescapable knowledge that every time you are seen you could be seen as "less-than" when you are a person of color. I don't know what that feels like; I'm at a blinded white distance. 

For many people of color, choosing to be seen, to be conspicuous, takes courage: a courage I'm sure I wouldn't have. I'm so grateful to share with you these images of beautiful, courageous people. I'll continue to show you them because you need to see them and they certainly deserve to be seen. 

 
I am dark, daughters of Jerusalem,
and I am beautiful!
Dark as the tents of Kedar, lavish
as Solomon’s tapestries.
— Song of Songs 1:5
 

My secret song of independence

Every couple weeks I'd call,
"My shoot's running late,"
but instead of rushing home to pull a chicken out of the fridge
and listen to the story of someone else's day,
I'd hide out in the shops of Kemps Corner
pulling together a wardrobe for my new life
secreted home in my makeup bag.
A bikini dotted with butterflies.
A tulle skirt studded with sequins--
little constellations mapping the late night flight.
A vibrator, Brancusi-smooth freedom wand,
humming my secret song of independence.

After everyone had gone to sleep,
each piece would find its way into a valise
in the back of my closet.
A Samonsite nicked from the prop room
that reminded me of an old TV commercial
when suitcases seemed like a necessary accessory
to international glamour
like gold-tipped cigarettes or designer jeans.
Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins?

Do you know the name for the drippy, slippery, atomic bomb between my legs?
And the urge that sends my fingers reaching for the button
with increasing frequency?
As the birthday cards go unwritten,
and the self-help books on the nightstand collect dust.
Is it just a small strip of denim that I can easily cut away
to relieve the pressure of belonging to everyone but myself?


I've packed up months of scarves and courage and panties,
passport and coconut water provisions in hand.
Standing at the gate of my aluminum chrysalis,
for a 13-hour trans-Pacific metamorphosis,
I'm throbbing and pulsing with the orgasm of my rebirth.
I feel like vagabond go-go dancer, gyrating and panting in Terminal B,
my palms travel to my breasts, my hips,
and I give the ticket agent a little electric shock
as I hand over my boarding pass.

-Text by SM Simões

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by Balthazar Simões

It's summer now

Eat it up. You've been waiting for this.

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by Balthazar Simões