André Kertész | Champs Elysées, Paris, 1929

Posted: January 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

André Kertész | <i>Champs Elysées, Paris, 1929</i>

André Kertész | Champs Elysées, Paris, 1929

At the time photography was zero — only the ordinary commercial kind of shots with little or no artistic value. Nobody photographed the chairs in the parks, in the Luxembourg Gardens, and in the Tuileries. I did. Of course, at that time I did not know that this was modern or unique.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész


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André Kertész | Jardin Du Luxembourg, Paris

Posted: January 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

André Kertész | <i>Jardin Du Luxembourg, Paris, 1925</i>

André Kertész | Jardin Du Luxembourg, Paris, 1925

I went walking with a painter friend of mine who was a deaf mute, and I saw those chairs on the Champs Elysées and started to photograph them. He went berserk and signaled to me that I am crazy. but when he saw the result he understood what I was after. This was my first photograph of the chairs.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész


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George Washington | One Bad Ass Motherfucker

Posted: January 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Books, History, Painting

In David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1776, he writes of the astonishing physical prowess of our first president, something that was never mentioned to me during those sleepy afternoons in the fourth grade. At 6′ 2″ and 190 lbs (the average height of a man in this era was 5’9″), people at the time wrote of his imposing physical stature and commanding presence.

Stories were told of extraordinary feats of strength — how, for example, Washington had thrown a stone from the bed of a stream to the top of Virginia’s famous Natural Bridge, a height of 215 feet. The Philadelphia artist Charles Wilson Peale, who had been a guest at Mount Vernon in 1772, while painting Washington’s portrait, described how he and several other young men were on the lawn throwing an iron bar for sport, when Washington appeared and, without bothering to remove his coat, took a turn, throwing it ‘far, very far beyond our utmost limit.’

-David McCullough, 1776

George Washington rode up and down the column urging his men forward. Suddenly the general’s horse slipped and started to fall on a steep and icy slope. “While passing a Slanting Slippery bank,” Lieutenant Bostwick remembered, “his excellency’s horse['s] hind feet both slip’d from under him.” The animal began to go down. Elisha Bostwick watched in fascination as Washington locked his fingers in the animal’s mane and hauled up its heavy head by brute force. He shifted its balance backward just enough to allow the horse to regain its hind footing on the treacherous road. Bostwick wrote that the general “seiz’d his horses Mane and the Horse recovered.” It was an extraordinary feat of strength, skill and timing; and another reason why his soldiers stood in awe of this man.

-David Hakett Fischer, Washington’s Crossing

Earliest portrait of Washington, painted in 1772 by Charles Willson Peale

Earliest portrait of Washington, painted in 1772 by Charles Willson Peale, shows Washington


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André Kertész | Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1929

Posted: December 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

André Kertész | <i>Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1929</i>

André Kertész | Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1929

I like high shots. If you are on the same level you lose many things.

-André Kertész, Kertész on Kertész


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Hiroshi Watanabe | Suo Sarumawashi

Posted: December 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography

From the introduction to the Photo-Eye edition of Suo Sarumawashi:

Sarumawashi, literally “monkey dancing” evolved over a 1000-year history in Japan. Ancient Japanese chronicles refer to it as a form of religious ritual designed to protect the horses of warriors. It later developed into a popular form of festival entertainment, and was performed all over Japan from temples to imperial courts. Today, Sarumawashi is ranked alongside Noh and Kabuki as one of the oldest and most traditional of Japan’s performing arts. It features acrobatic stunts and comedic skits performed by highly trained macaque monkeys.

Choromatsu 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Choromatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kanpei Counting Fingers", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kanpei Counting Fingers, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kojiro 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kojiro 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Big in Bucket", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Big in Bucket, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Genki", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Genki, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Kojiro and Kurimatsu", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Kojiro and Kurimatsu, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Aikichi with Bamboo Steve", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Aikichi with Bamboo Steve, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Fukunosuke 2", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukunosuke 2, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

"Fukunosuke", Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe

Fukunosuke, Suo Sarumawashi by Hiroshi Watanabe


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José Saramago, 1922 – 2010

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Poetry, Quotes

Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don’t understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they’re there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it’s the other side that matters

- José Saramago

José Saramago

José Saramago

Every man has his own patch of earth to cultivate. What’s important is that he dig deep.

- José Saramago


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David McCullough | The Johnstown Flood

Posted: June 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, History, Photography, Quotes

A locomotive whistle was a matter of some personal importance to a railroad engineer. It was tuned and worked (even “played”) according to his own particular choosing. The whistle was part of the make-up of the man; he was known for it as much as he was known for the engine he drove. And aside from its utilitarian functions, it could also be an instrument of no little amusement. Many an engineer could get a simple tune out of his whistle, and for those less musical it could be used to aggravate a cranky preacher in the middle of his Sunday sermon or to signal hello through the night to a wife or lady friend. But there was no horseplay about tying down the chord. A locomotive whistle going without letup meant one thing on the railroad. It meant there was something very wrong.

The whistle of John Hess’s engine had been going now for maybe five minutes at most. It was not on long but it was the only warning anyone was to hear and nearly everyone in East Conemaugh heard it and understood instantly what it meant.

-David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood

The aftermath of the Johnstown flood of 1889 © the Johnstown Area Heritage Association
The aftermath of the Johnstown flood of 1889 © the Johnstown Area Heritage Association

He saw the whole Mussante family sailing by on what appeared to be a barn door. Mussante was a fruit dealer on Washington Street, a small, dark Italian with a dropping mustache, who had been in Johnstown now perhaps three years. He had had a pushcart at first, then opened the little place not far from the Heiser store. Victor knew him well and his wife and two children. Now there they were speeding by with a Saratoga trunk open beside them, and every one of them busy packing things into it. And then a mass of wreckage heaved up out of the water and crushed them.

But he had no time to think more about them or anything else. He was heading for a mound of wreckage lodged between the Methodist Church and a three-story brick building on the other side of where Locust Street had been. The next thing he knew he was part of the jam. His roof had catapulted in amongst it, and there, as trees and beams shot up on one side or crashed down on the other, he went leaping back and forth, ducking and dodging, trying desperately to keep his footing, while more and more debris kept booming into the jam.

-David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood

Main Street, Johnstown, after the flood. Andrews, E. Benjamin, History of the United States

Main Street, Johnstown, after the flood. Andrews, E. Benjamin, History of the United States

Weak and shivering with cold, she lay down on the mattress, realizing for the first time that all her clothes had been torn off except for her underwear. Night was coming on and she was terribly frightened. She started praying in German, which was the only way she had been taught to pray.

A small white house went sailing by, almost running her down. She called out to the one man who was riding on top, straddling the peak of the roof and hugging the chimney with both arms. But he ignored her, or perhaps never heard her, and passed right by.

‘You terrible man,’ she shouted after him. ‘I’ll never help you.’

-David McCullough, The Johnstown Flood

"The Debris above the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge" from "History of the Johnstown Flood", by Willis Fletcher Johnson, 1889

"The Debris above the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge" from "History of the Johnstown Flood", by Willis Fletcher Johnson, 1889

Buy the book now.


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Ellen von Unwerth | Revenge

Posted: June 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

I love all the old pictures–of spanking and Bettie Page and corsets. But you can’t do spanking in fashion, so I wanted to do a project where I could really let go and get girls who also love those things. I thought it would be even more sexy when there was a story to go with it, so it wasn’t that difficult to write a little storyboard.

I had chapters, so there were 10 drawings in total. Each girl had a character and I used the storyboard to explain the story to the girls. But there was still freedom to play.

-Ellen Von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Marshall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Marshall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Tina Davis as The Baronness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Dorota Wójcik as Veronique a Maid; Tina Davis as The Baronness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as The Baroness; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Svenja Parotat as Lulu a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Tina Davis as the Baroness; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Travis Mashall as Eric the Chauffer; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Diana Stoessel as Françoise; Lenka Batkova as Laurence a Maid; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Janelle Fishman as Emily; Sarabeth Stroller as Isabelle; Julie Ordon as Marie-Louise; Diana Stroessel as Françoise; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Micki Olin as Ivy; Janelle Fishman as Emily; Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth


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Ellen von Unwerth | Jean Seberg

Posted: May 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Cinema, Photography, Quotes

For more than twenty-five years, Ellen Von Unwerth has celebrated movies through her fashion photography. Her photographs are generally straightforward, without special effects of the allusion to a more complicated narrative; she simply uses characters from noted films as the protagonists of her fashion essays, such as the piece for the October 1990 issue of Vogue (available here, wm) in which models are used to reincarnate Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave counterculture film Breathless (1959). Von Unwerth’s fashion essay concentrates on the breezy life of the doomed lovers as they tool around Paris riding a motor scooter, smoke at cafés, and snuggle in bed. Von Unwerth exploits readers’ identification with the characters in the film, especially the generation that came of age in the 1960s, when European culture and bohemian antiestablishment lifestyle were the vogue. More specifically, the New Wave French films radically changed the way movies were made. They were consonant with the disjunctive and nonlinear literature of the time. Their off-beat characters (often based on American movie gangsters) and the details of their behavior and dress helped create an identity for members of the American couterculture.

-Susan Kismaric & Eva Respini, Fashioning Fiction

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

<i>Jean Seberg</i> with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth

Jean Seberg with Christy Turlington, October, 1990 Vogue, Ellen von Unwerth


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André Kertész | The Place de la Concorde , Paris, 1928

Posted: May 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

The Place de la Concorde

The Place de la Concorde

Look at the atmosphere, the reflection. Why did I do it this way? Instinct. I have no other explanation. The subject offered itself to me and I took advantage.

-Andrés Kertész, Kertész on Kertész


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