Monthly Archives: January 2012
Melancholia | Opening Sequence

Images from the majestic opening sequence to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, the rich texture of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde prelude, a sweeping backdrop to the slow, ambling march towards apocalypse.

It is all lovely terror, lush CGI, studio-lit nature as artifice, slow and heavy symbolism.

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)

Lars von Trier's Melancholia (2011)


Phil Stern | John Wayne

Wayne and I were poster boys for the Odd Couple. Politically and socially, he was 140 degrees to the right of Genghis Khan. I was oppositely inclined. He’d call me a bomb-throwing Bolshevik. It was a love-hate thing. We’d get in big arguments, especially with a little booze in us.

– Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

I was in the USSR on my first visit in 1959 doing general coverage for my agency. While there I went to the main post office in Moscow and found the most graphic stamps with the largest images of Stalin and Lenin that I could find. I put them on postcards and addressed them to Wayne at his Newport Beach home. About a year later in a meeting he said to me, “I did get those postcards from Russia, you son of a bitch!” That was his catchphrase, he used it all the time. Like the time I pointed out his son Jonathan Ethan Wayne’s monogrammed initials on his luggage (“You son of a bitch!”).

– Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

We were once in Durango, Mexico – the middle of nowhere (I digress – but he shot there a lot because of the lack of telephone and telegraph poles, as his pictures were set in the 1800s. Mexico gave him the wide vistas he needed.) He had a turbo jet airplane that he used like most people used like station wagons to transport his family to locations. They’d never come out to the actual location – it was too remote. It was Pilar and Ethan (I think it was the trip with the luggage, actually.) Anyway, Wayne was getting made up and Ethan said to him, “Daddy, why do you make these movies in the ‘middle of nowhere’ as Mommy says?” and Wayne said, “To keep Mommy supplied in tennis balls!”

– Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

He was a mixed bag, like all of us. He had his tender, warm, loving moments, but he was also an S.O.B.

– Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

He was very tenacious about protecting his identity as a western, macho he-man. He would not allow anyone to make fun of that except himself.

– Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne & Gary Cooper © Phil Stern

John Wayne & Gary Cooper © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern

John Wayne © Phil Stern


Paul Fussell | Chickenshit

A wonderful breakdown and etymology of the word chickenshit by the author Paul Fussell from his book Wartime, a second lieutenant with the 103rd Infantry Division in WWII. Found and quoted from the book Citizen Soldiers by Stephen E. Ambrose.

The guys who were permanent jerks were the usual suspects — officers with too much authority and too few brains, sergeants who had more than a touch of sadist in their characters, far too many quartermasters, some MPs. The types were many in number and widely varied in how they acted out their role, but the GIs had a single word that applied to every one of them: chickenshit.

Fussell defines the term precisely. “Chickenshit refers to behavior that makes military life worse than it need be: petty harassment of the weak by the strong; open scrimmage for power and authority and prestige… insistence on the letter rather than the spirit of ordinances. Chickenshit is so called — instead of horse — or bull — or elephant shit — because it is small-minded and ignoble and takes the trivial seriously. Chickenshit can be recognized instantly because it never has anything to do with winning the war.”

– Stephen E. Ambrose, Citizen Soldiers: The U. S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany


Portrait | Polina

Images from the first shoot I’ve had with a medium format camera in a few years with the beautiful Polina at my place. A couple of good ones and a joy again to work in this format. I also shot with the Leica MP and a Nikon F5. My comfort zone is definitely the 35mm rangefinder.

With a bigger, heavier camera, I am just slower and my choices are much different. Practice, practice, practice.

Will be posting more from the shoot soon.

Polina, Brooklyn © Doug Kim, Hasselblad 500CM, 80mm C T* Planar, Kodak Tri-X

Polina, Brooklyn © Doug Kim, Hasselblad 500CM, 80mm C T* Planar, Kodak Tri-X

Polina, Brooklyn © Doug Kim, Hasselblad 500CM, 80mm C T* Planar, Kodak Tri-X

Polina, Brooklyn © Doug Kim, Hasselblad 500CM, 80mm C T* Planar, Kodak Tri-X


Mark Kurlansky | Woodcut Prints
Where Am I Going? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

Where Am I Going? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

In every age, people are certain that only the things they have deemed valuable have true value. The search for love and the search for wealth are always the two best stories. But while a love story is timeless, the story of a quest for wealth, given enough time, will always seem like the vain pursuit of a mirage.

– Mark Kurlansky, Salt

Who Is It? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

Who Is It? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

At times it sees that the search for good health has taken all the pleasure out of life. It has stripped us of butter, cream, marbled red meat, pork, and goose fat, not to mention alcohol and fine, hand-rolled cigars. And just when you settle on your favorite healthful fish, you’re told it’s laced with mercury. Sometimes it feels as though we would be better off being less healthy and enjoying life.

But then, miraculously, there is olive oil. Olive oil, it seems, is the only really good food we are still allowed.

– Mark Kurlansky from “Essential Oil,” Bon Appétit, November 2008

What Does She Want? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

What Does She Want? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

I always wanted to be a writer and I had in my head that a writer should either go to sea or go to war. There was a war available at the time but the sea was a much better idea. I did it for a couple of summers, to earn money for college.

My most memorable job was on a lobster boat. I was a pretty strong kid and they just needed someone who could haul pots on 200ft of line. We didn’t have a radio; sometimes you’d hear this roar, see a dark shadow and realise a freighter was bearing down on you. I never gave one thought to how dangerous it was. I absolutely loved it.

Many years later I was on a commercial fishing boat as a reporter and I wondered why the hell I’d liked it so much.

– Mark Kurlansky

Do I Make Any More Sense Than This Painting? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

Do I Make Any More Sense Than This Painting? Woodcut print by Mark Kurlansky

While I write, I drink a lot of espresso. I have an espresso maker in my office. In one of my books, I gave an acknowledgment to caffeine.

– Mark Kurlansky