ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
PHOTOGRAPHY ALEXANDRA CARR
It’s sometimes the simplest things, isn’t it, that make us smile. Last night, we witnessed a charming conversation between Paz de la Huerta and the photographer who hung out with her for long enough to make The Birds Didn’t Die Over the Winter, Alexandra Carr.
The two women seemed an unlikely pair, but when it comes to a working relationship with an ingénue as outspoken as this one, sometimes the softer the presence of the documentarian, the brighter the documentary. Carr followed de la Huerta around her own apartment building on Gaye Street, to Coney Island, and to restaurants to mooch off of her famous friends while the two were super broke one winter. The pictures are as raw and real as New York kicking its own to the cold. They’re fun, too, because living in the city with no money isn’t all heartbreak and devastation: it famously energizes artists.
This dress-up game and photo shoot took place after Gaspar Noé’s Enter the Void and Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control (both 2009) were done filming, and the actress slash socialite was looking for work. An unnamed boyfriend, apparently, was making this hard, “hiding scripts that he thought were about him, even though the director had never met him,” said de la Huerta during the talk, which took place at No. 8 after a book signing. "So I wasn’t working, because I wasn’t reading my scripts."
She wore a black Hervé Léger dress, impossibly high, brass-plated heels, chandelier earrings, and a ponytail. The crowd whispered as she arrived and trotted straight towards the bathroom. Instead of the blinding flashbulbs that often follow her, the Café No. 8 Society and its invited guests were made up of fans and fashion bloggers, but just in case, a golden rope on two posts was erected in front of the subject and photographer as they chatted over drinks.
“I was coming out of a very… destructive… relationship. Watching a ton of movies, playing Paris, Texas on repeat, and Last Tango in Paris on repeat. Wait; what are my three go-to-bed movies? Paris, Texas, Last Tango in Paris and The Passenger. But, I was so blessed [to meet Alexandra Carr]. I don’t wanna know what the future holds for me but I really felt lost and this was a way for me to create and express what I needed to. Alexandra is so incredible to work with because she is like… it’s like being with someone but being alone. Theses are the best photographs anyone has ever taken of me.”
Carr expressed a similar gratitude for their time together, calling this book an expression of friendship. And when it was brought up that the book took a while to be released, de la Huerta jumped on another delightful tangent.
“I have a huge… well, I guess you can call it a disdain, for the modern-day society we live in, and what has happened to art. Art, photography, films… I can go on and on. Alexandra is… like I said… these photographs are… She captures me. But, you know, she’s not a hustler. She’s not the type of woman who’s gonna… You know, everyone has their forte. Some people really lack talent, but they make all their connections, and then they’re starring on Broadway. Or, they, you know, fuck somebody, fuck Harvey Weinstein, and get a Golden Globe. But Alexandra, and I would like to say myself, we’re both real artists. Why didn’t it come out for a year? I would say: She’s not the things I listed before. You know? Everyone would say ‘Oh my god, amazing, they’re the best,’ but then there was nothing about it. The name might not be Annie Leibovitz, or Terry Richardson, or Ellen von Unwerth. She’s an unknown, but she’s fucking brilliant.”
images courtesy of distributed art publishers, inc. and artbook llc