Born; May 4, 1941 Raised in the South Bronx, NY and in two orphanages. Forss endured the harsh reality of having a completely free life and then being in an orphanage environment ... twice ! Georges mother was like a child with children. She only wanted to do whatever she wanted to do to please her children and herself. The authorities had to take action against George's mom in this situation. Norma's kids were placed in an orphanage. Norma's children were back home again after a few years but the life of freedom went on again. This resulted in George's return to another orphanage until the age of 18. George left the orphanage at the age of 18 to live with my mother again. "I showed 'em !" George says. George's new life was a mostly happy one, living with mom on west 51st street in Midtown Manhattan NY and then in a Bronx apartment ... living with mom and two of her other children, Mickey and Linda Forss ... and in Brooklyn, NY for 17 years thereafter ... starting in 1975. Forss is showing mixed survival skills in a rough and tumble existence through all of this ... including a stint in the U.S Army until they threw him out. Norma Forss was a very gifted self taught portrait photographer. George Forss is a self taught photographer, also, influenced mostly by his mother's photography. Forss believes he inherited the kind of daring and skill of picture making talent his mother had. Indeed, George Forss was discovered in 1980 by renowned photographer David Douglas Duncan. Duncan chanced upon George Forss while he was selling his photography in the streets of Manhattan in his own daring way. Forss invented this type of activity ... selling his photography in quick mat boards in midtown New York. Duncan later produced a book of Forss photography entitled "New York/New York - masterworks of a street peddler" in 1984. Forss says "Praise Praise ! I got praise and a new life because of this book." " I got discovered !" Praise >>> "There is a strange fire burning !" Ansel Adams. "I feel in these striking photographs the pulse of a sensitive eye that is not overcast by 'concepts'." Henri Cartier - Bresson. "Forss's photographs are portraits that unveil the hidden innocence behind the grime - the surrealistic poetry behind the harsh reality" Yousuf Karsh. George Forss in his own words: "In my earliest days in our Bronx apartment I encountered the 'Hippie days' and some Hippies. They were friends of my brother. One of them (Buffy), during a visit, told me they were on a flying saucer during an abduction event. I could not believe this at first but I have had to go to work on a writing that took me 31 years to complete; plus I have six more books and one on the way ! This is the kind of mania I am still involved with. I had to take on a task like this. Buffy had a 'report' with the words of the Aliens that is still the most profound read I know. The details about how something like this can happen are in the first chapter of my book ENOS. After the Hippies left my Agoraphobia condition cleared up. The Aliens did this, I figured. I had gotten sick with this condition when I came out of the Army. I took a job in 1972 as a messenger/package delivery man. I was good at this. I started taking pictures around the city, nurturing my plan to sell my photography in the streets while I held this job. I did this when my messenger service company stalemated me. It took me three years to make a steady profit with this activity. I made a living doing this for a few years after my street selling worked. I had a new impedance energy in my life from now on. Thank you Aliens ! In 1975 we had to leave our Bronx apartment. The building owner abandoned the building and the city took it over. This is when tenants started to leave. We were one of the last to leave. We made the decision when we were standing outside the building one night during a so called, insurance fire. My mother found a place for us to live in Brooklyn. A distant relative had a property there with two buildings, a driveway and a garage ! The relative, Millie, wanted to rent to white people. This was us ... almost. Linda had a Spanish husband now and we had four cats. Millie did not want any animals. My mother shmoodled (new word) this whole situation. We were in ! I had a small apartment on the top floor of the rear house for $105. a month. This went on for years and it funded my street selling activity. In 1980 I get discovered, as above. My situation in Brooklyn was good for about 15 years total for the family. My rent went up after I got discovered and an owner's nephew tried to get me to buy the property for $33,000. This is a steal for NYC property but the place had liens against it and it was about to be condemned. I wanted a loft building place in Staten Island overlooking the NYC harbor for $1800. a month. I had some wealth now and I believed that I was a rising star. Millie's husband died shortly after I moved to Brooklyn. He was always pointing/gesturing at the side of the front house ? He was deaf and mute from a stroke. He was trying to tell me the that side of the building was started to convex outward. This is why the building was condemned. I am always a person who does a slow take on everything. This is always costing me. My mother called me a "dumb Swede" for various reasons, including this one. Before I could try for the Staten Island loft place I found a real estate booklet in a bank with an ad for properties in the Cambridge NY area. This is where Grandma Moses lived. I had a large Grandma Moses book and I was fascinated by the hilly farm world she depicted in those good old days. Now I discovered that I could buy a home in this area for $50,000. or so. I had some inheritance money from my uncle Gino and I could just buy a place in Cambridge ! I explored this area and it was just like Grandma Moses shows it. I wanted a place in the hills around Cambridge. As I was looking, the real estate woman who was showing me around, took me to a Cambridge, Main Street building ... a store ! She told me that I should buy this store . She told me it would be a good studio place for me. She knew better for me. I could not have really lived in a farmland hill property. I said I did not want a store, until I looked out of the porch of this place. This is when a click went off in my head and I knew I had to have this place. I founded my Ginofor Gallery here. I named my gallery after Gino. He died living at home with cancer. I took care of him here for two years. If you combine Gino with For ... take out the last two letters of Forss ... you get Ginofor. My situation in Cambridge is good till now. My gallery does give me some income. It is a low maintenance haven for me. My mother lived here until she went to a local nursing home to die. My brother Micky lives with me. He retired when he was 23. The hippie retirement. He is on SSI. In 2007 I self published my book, ENOS. This is a spiritual venture for me that ... to put it bluntly ... is not good for business. At first, I embarked on a campaign to find a publisher for this 730 page tome. After 66 rejections I gave up. I got some advice from a French woman agent (she said she was an agent). She said I should write out five more books. She said the second book should encapsulate the big book, ENOS ... then write another four more about my heady subjects. She said publishers want to know that you are ambitious and capable of writing a lot of books. Lastly, my agent, told me that ENOS is the best book ever written about humanity in the universe. After this I did not hear from her again. I only communicated with her when she called me, and she only called about five times. Our relationship was still new. When I did call the phone number I had for her, I reached another French woman who told me I had the wrong number. I think to this day I am living off the praise my agent gave me. I am ambitious ... too much so. My writings, these days are a great spiritual venture ... too much so. My #$%^&* career moves are dumb ... too much so. It just seems that my productions are not viable for the general public." What to do ? There is something great in all of Forss' outputs. Further than this, Forss believes he is in communication with some kind of a 'faultless authority' Aliens that are guiding his newest writings. Forss says "You have only to check out the writing I do on my blog >>> www.forssblog.com <<< . Further than this ..., " Forss continues ... "we (all humanity) are going to have to consider having to upgrade all of our business and social affairs soon ... in the logical way of my Alien directives ... in only a kindness solution way ... to save our planet and the general human insanity mindset from further ruin." "Then we should carefully consider that I do have the newest science in what I have been dutifully doing." " 2015 has been a noteworthy year for me in this regard." " How can an old dumb Swede like me have any new science ?" "I say I do ! I challenge anyone, any scientific body, to find fault in any of my claims - in any of my 'Findings' - this is how I term all the insights I get from afar ... that these are proving to be faultless after so much time has gone by." Forss' two self published books have not been good sellers. He is not so adept at the marketing for his books. Forss did decide to get a Kirkus Review of each book, though, telling me that he knew he would get two good reviews of his self published books when no one else thought so. Forss told everyone he knew that that Aliens told him to do this. New science ? Forss goes on and on about his connection to a source that is telling him new things about our universe and others that are interacting with our universe. "Our universe is now to be considered a creature universe that has captured fine intelligence from other places." Forss says. He is very bold in his way with a lot of "info" and "data" he is getting from his 'Faultless Authority'. Forss has completed six books in Alien - to - Human connection way, with another one on the way. Forss' newest book will have a title that will be pushing his writings (his ego?) to new heights, it seems to me. His new book title: "The Fountain of Youth / A Fountain of good health and youthfulness / A fountain of independence and happiness". Forss gets his book titles from the Aliens. Forss says this is so. Forss says this "God, the Aliens, his Faultless Authority, Jesus, Allah, The Great Spirit, the Law, Whatever, are really all the same thing, that we do not really know how to term .. the 'all of all' ... we do know how to have wars so that we can fight over these various terms though ... Hah." Forss looks young, less than his 74 years. I think I will want to read his new book. He doesn't have serious old age illnesses like, arthritis, high blood pressure, etc. His skin is like a young man. He credits this to some 'info' he is getting all the time about health from his 'Faultless Authority' source. His new book will feature his latest 'data', as he puts it. George Forss actually has an amazing resume. He showed me a stapled multi-page list of his credits. Forss says " I was on the Today Show with Tom Brokaw. This was Tom's first Today Show when he took it over. I was on 'Midday Live', 'Live at Five', 'Entertainment Tonight', 'Channel Five News', 'CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt' and some other shows !" Forss continues ... "I had a one man show at the main New York City Public Library in 1985, The Brooklyn Museum (twice) in 1984, The International Center for Photography in NYC (ICP), Two Museums in France, one in Grenoble and one in Orange, and Pfizer Corporation Conference Center. I regularly show at Park Slope Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and many other places. I am not kidding !" George Forss changed gears, sort of, in 2007. He says this "I decided to flip my 'Life's Coin' over to become a Bible writer that scolds humanity instead of having to be so commercial-like. Everybody was putting up with my somewhat unprofessional ways anyway ... and the world of photography I had known was fast becoming outmoded, to further compound my career malaise." Forss wants me to have one last 'say' here. He wants to have fun. He always does. He says ... "If U.S. Presidents can show us their 'animal true self' side, in statements they make to the public, then I too can issue a true self statement. The President's speak ! "I cannot tell a lie." "I would have made a good Pope." "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal." "I am not a crook." "They don't call me Tyrannosaurus sex for nothing." "I've looked on many a woman with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and God forgives me." "It depends on what the meaning of the words 'is' is." "Facts are stupid things." I say "I am a unique soothsayer that has captured the wisdom of the ages in an unprecedented playful way." "Well ... not entirely ... we really cannot separate the animal from the spirit. So ... hmm ... yeah ... I wanted my book ENOS to be a commercial success. I loaded it, obediently, with what the Alien's (God) wanted but I was also letting my true self have a fun say ... even while it took me so many years to complete."
“A superb record of a photographer’s love affair with New York.”
– Kirkus Reviews
The many faces of New York City are captured vividly in this stimulating collection of pictures and commentary by an acclaimed photographer.
Forss taught himself photography while working as a messenger in New York in the 1970s and then started selling his prints on the streets; commercial assignments, gallery shows, and books followed. The over 70-odd black-and-white pictures collected here cover a wide range of scenes. We see zebras wrestling at the Bronx Zoo; sunlight filtering through the leaves in Central Park; July Fourth fireworks over the harbor; enigmatic double exposures, composed for a Saks Fifth Avenue campaign, of languid mannequins in glittering dresses hovering over prosaic streetscapes. There is an intimate photo of a cooped-up ivy plant gesticulating wildly at the bleak view out a Brooklyn apartment window, grand portraits of Manhattan skyscrapers bathed in stunning sunlight, and, most New York–ish of all, photos that blend intimacy and grandeur, including several shots of the Brooklyn Bridge soaring over narrow neighborhood streets and an exuberant scene of kids and a dog romping in the Washington Square fountain beneath the triumphal arch. Then there are the atmospheric Manhattan cityscapes, Forss’ trademark. From on high we see skyscrapers glowing with lights, melting into an indistinct horizon in the dusky, chiaroscuro twilight; from below we see lower Manhattan erupting from the harbor’s waterline. The most iconic photos spotlight the lost twin towers: in one we see them marshaling a phalanx of skyscrapers, gleaming in evening sunlight against ominous clouds; in another, they center a mysterious, dreamy skyline, seen in outline through light and fog from across the Hudson. Forss comments on each image in a paragraph or two, with technical details and narrative snippets that have a lyrical matter-of-factness. (“I was watching and waiting for some ‘magic’…with my camera ready to take a picture, when this Bowery lady raised her drink in a salute.”) The book’s one problem is the small size and indifferent quality of the reproductions; still, these images are arresting enough to make one hope that they will be redone in a glossy coffee-table format that can do them justice.
A superb record of a photographer’s love affair with New York.
Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2014
Page count: 106pp
Review Posted Online: March 26, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015
Forss’ (The Way We Were, 2014) personal tome concerns aliens, God, and ideas for humanity.
After a lengthy introduction about the author’s intention to take the reader “on a logical journey back to Godhead,” the book begins in 1976 with the author living in New York City. He discovered that June 28 would be “the start of the most pivotal day of my life.” The city was alive for the upcoming bicentennial, and the author tried selling photographs to tourists. The task wasn’t going so well when he encountered a former hippie named Buffy, who had some years earlier related an experience involving aliens and their immense wisdom. Though Buffy claimed her experience was just a trip, the author felt differently; in order to adequately tell Buffy’s story, he had to “ask for it from God somehow, as a pure spiritual quest.” And so he did. Thus, thanks to the author’s efforts, the aliens revealed valuable information for humanity, such as the need to not subscribe to any particular religion as well as the fact that “THERE IS A RICH WORLD BEYOND THE ATOMS OF ALL LIVING CELLS.” But the alien adventure does not end there. Incorporating drawings, poems, black-and-white photographs, and an investigation into the thoughts of different individuals (e.g., a dying man), the recollected experience is expansive to say the least. From there, though, things get even stranger, particularly in thornier sections, as when the aliens explain that “SOME HOMOSEXUALITY IS SIMPLY NOTHING MORE THAN A SCRUMPTIOUSLY HORNY CALLING FOR SEX WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A PROUDLY DISPLAYED LOVER OR FAMILY COMMITMENT IDEAL.” Patient readers may nevertheless find moments of intrigue, like concepts presented by the aliens that are explored later in the author’s own words: “The Aliens say that the future and the past are places! This means that the past is very much alive in some area and so is the future!”
Readers willing to endure choppy statements and a profusion of capital letters will come away with nuanced, occasionally controversial, ideas about life and existence.
Pub Date: April 7, 2009
Page count: 730pp
Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2016
Cambridge, New York
Semi-retired Owner of Ginofor Gallery in Cambridge established in 1989
Unexpected skill or talent
Picture taking skills
Passion in life
Getting more 'info' in the nature of an overview of humanity from a strange but truthful wisdom source
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