As you have probably heard by now, writer and musician Lou Reed has passed away at age 71. I’d listened to his music for years, but there was a side to him I had not heard about that I became very familiar with through my work for Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine. Lou was a committed practitioner and even occasional assistant instructor of Chen Tai Chi with Master Ren GuangYi. He was a great ambassador of tai chi, which is not something I’ve seen mentioned in the various reports on his life and death that have appeared in the last few hours. Lou Reed appeared twice on the cover of Kung Fu, in 2003 and with Master Ren in 2007.
I had the chance to meet Lou three times, and was present as a photographer when he and Ren presented Chen Tai Chi to a session of Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation in 2007. The photos of Lou are some of the worst I took that day, but I thought people might like to see them. I’ve also selected two videos related to Lou and Ren’s work that were found on the web. It’s fascinating to see this man who influenced and entertained so many — and who was also known for his gruff personality — get down on the floor to help someone with their stance while practicing a form. He was clearly very passionate about this part of his life. He will be much missed by so very many.
The woman next to Lou is Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Cancer fame.
This final shot was taken at the front entrance of Lou’s Manhattan apartment. We had just done a quick couple of photos with Ren GuangYi, and I was waiting to head out into the New York snow to shoot more.
You should go read Gene Ching’s article on the Kung Fu Magazine blog for more information on Lou’s history with Kung Fu and the magazine.