Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Serpentine gallery

the selby

Mark 'The Cobrasnake' Hunter and his party shots of Australian models have become regulars on this blog since frockwriter first went live in July. And so it was with some interest that frockwriter stumbled upon the following Hunter photo portfolios on a blog called The Selby, a kind of Vogue Interiors for the urban hipster set. This time the camera was turned on Hunter and some family members. The photos, and accompanying mini interviews, posted in the last six months (there is no clear timeline on the shots), reveal some other facets to the party reportage king.

Some of the more interesting shots include an amusing portrait of what looks to be a teenage Cobrasnake off to the Prom with his date (pictured at the top of this post).

Also a shot of Hunter sitting on a children’s single bunk bed with cartoon bed linen. It's not clear if this is Hunter's own bed or that of the child of a flatmate.

Grandmother Renee, meanwhile (pictured below), lives in quite a glamorous Santa Monica apartment, decorated with a Chinoiserie theme.

Grandma's advice for Hunter on matters of the heart?

“Play the field. Be really sure ‘she’s the one and don’t marry until at least 35”.

Renee also makes some interesting revelations about Hunter’s business acumen, which it seems was evident from an early age.

Renee tells The Selby:

“Mark was always the ‘coolest kid’ -- adorable, smart — and very loving. He was always extremely ‘enterprising’. When he was about 9 years old, he bought a large bag of candy from the 99 cent store, and sold the individual pieces to the kids at school for a quarter each”.

the selby

Then there is the pic portfolio of Hunter's beloved grandfather “Boppy”, who signs his name on the attached questionnaire as Karl Littner.

There are some very sweet photos of Littner, including several in which he sports some Cobrasnake merchandise and one photo which may be Hunter at his Bar Mitzvah.

It is not clear if Littner is Hunter’s paternal or maternal grandfather. Either way, he lives independently of Renee - in a more modest, loft-like LA affair.

the selby

Most grandparents are proud of their progeny.

But frockwriter can’t help thinking that Hunter’s chosen profession may hold some extra significance for Littner.

Littner gives enough details away on his questionnaire to identify himself as a holocaust survivor whose moving life story has been well documented elsewhere online.

Littner was born in Auschwitz (aka Oswiecim/Oshpitzin), Poland in 1924 and spent several years interned in concentration camps.

In The Brown Picture, one chapter of Littner's memoir which was published online as part of the Fairfax Community Adult School's Life Story Writing Class, Littner talks about his grandfather Akiba Enoch, who emigrated to Chicago in 1910 to make a new life and sent photographs back to his Polish family as mementos.

Enoch returned to Poland 10 years later and Littner distinctly recalls viewing one such sepia-tinted photograph at the age of six.

Many family records were lost in the years 1939-1945, during which time at least 10 members of Littner’s family were wiped out.

But one of the sepia photos turned up again in 1970 via family members in Israel.

Through it, Littner says that he felt an instant reconnection to his identity, so much of which had been eroded by his horrific wartime experiences.

Writes Littner:

“My dignity, all my documents, my birth certificate, my name and my whole family and the life as I knew it, all ended in a moment of time. The inhumane conditions, the hunger and the random damaging beatings, sometimes over the head, made me worry that I would be unable to remember my name, my birth date, my grandfather's brown picture, and who I am.

"In the 1930s, when I was a 6-year-old child, we did not make too many photographs; but the ones I saw, including my grandfather's brown picture, I never forgot; it was imprinted in my memory forever”.


reuel said...

wo did not know his grandfather was a survivor!
ps stole bits of yr post for my tumblr :)

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