March 29, 2012

Is Passion a Light in Your Life?

Photojournalist Eve Arnold with Marilyn Monroe. (Magnum)

Photojournalist Eve Arnold with Marilyn Monroe. (Magnum)

The quote “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve it through not dying” is attributed to Woody Allen. It’s an interesting declaration for the filmmaker, who will leave to the world one of the richest bodies of work ever produced when he’s gone. Living long (and, for that matter, living large) has been on my mind lately with the passing of two dynamic women, Eva Zeisel and Eve Arnold, each of which made indelible marks on our culture during their lifetimes, and will likely do so long into the future through their work.

Photojournalist Eve Arnold is shown at work in 1963. (Magnum)

Photojournalist Eve Arnold is shown at work in 1963. (Magnum)

Arnold died on January 4, 2012, at the age of 99. A Philadelphia native, she was one of the first women to join the Magnum Photography Agency—known for its heavy-hitting talent and blatant machismo—and is one of the few females to make it with the lauded firm to this day. Her photographs of Marilyn Monroe speak to her ability to capture a natural quality in her photography that would come to be her trademark style. “You can’t make a great musician or a great photographer if the magic isn’t there,” Arnold once remarked, an interesting quote given I’ve been thinking about how, as a rule, orchestra conductors tend to live longer than most people in other professions because they are so passionate about what they do.


Eva Zeisel.


Eva Zeisel died less than a week before Arnold, on December 30, 2011, at the age of 105. The industrial designer was a giant among giants in her field. She began making ceramics in Germany in the 1920s, then moved to Russia where she was imprisoned after being falsely accused of plotting to assassinate Joseph Stalin. She was deported to Austria and then found herself on the run once again, fleeing the Nazis. She met and married Hanz Zeisel in England before moving here to New York City where she would eventually teach ceramics at Pratt Institute. Her initial exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art paved the way for female designers to achieve solo shows at the museum because she was the first to have a one-woman exhibition at MoMA in 1946. Incredibly, her newest products debuted in 2008 when she was past the century mark.

Zeisel appears on TED talk; you can also hear what she has to say about her work through her self-written book Eva Zeisel On Design: The Magic Language of Things.

Scientists claim that having a purpose in life, a passion that excites and fulfills, can add to life expectancy. I believe these two women have proven the assertion beyond a shadow of a doubt. We at Global Lighting take our hats off to passionate designers everywhere, especially ones who cover new territory in some way.

Eve Arnold was a force of vision, capturing celebrities for decades. (Magnum)

Eve Arnold was a force of vision, capturing celebrities for decades. (Magnum)

Is passion a light in your life? I’d love to hear about what you feel is going to keep you young and vibrant throughout your years on the earthly plane!

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