Category: Cinema
Constantine | Tilda Swinton as Gabriel
Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005

Tilda Swinton as the archangel Gabriel in Constantine, 2005


Watabe Yukichi | A Criminal Investigation

The book A Criminal Investigation released by Le Bal a few years ago, displays the work of freelance photographer Watabe Yukichi as he follows police detectives assigned to a grisly murder investigation in 1958 Tokyo.

The cinematic quality, the heavy noir tone, the procedural elements of the investigation harken to the great Hollywood noir classics but especially to the Kurosawa police procedurals, High and Low and Stray Dog.

Read more about the book here or purchase the book here.

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi

A Criminal Investigation, 1958 © Watabe Yukichi


Arnold Newman | Portraits
Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

Roy Lichtenstein, 1976 © Arnold Newman

If it’s a good photograph and says something about the person, than I think it’s a good portrait.

– Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Piet Mondrian, 1942 © Arnold Newman

I wasn’t mimicking it (Mondrian’s style), I was echoing it. I did it deliberately and when he saw the results, he loved it. He gave me the original drawings of Broadway Boogie-Woogie. It was the only thing he could give me. I was stunned at the time.

The thing is I was trying to say with my photographs what Mondrian meant to me. That I would copy his work or anybody else’s in order to do it to me would be horrifying because I would be copying and not creating. A lot of people do that. The man by the way is stiff, linear and very formal, just like his own work.

– Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Truman Capote, 1977 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ayn Rand, 1964 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Ava Gardner, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Movie stars, actors…all they have is themselves. They have no other ability but to go on and portray somebody else. They don’t know how to be themselves. And it becomes a very difficult thing. Very rarely a great artist, not rarely, but only a few of them can say I don’t really care, I have warts, photograph me with the warts.

– Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

Carl Sandburg and Marilyn Monroe, 1962 © Arnold Newman

I was acquainted with Carl at that time. He was working on the west coast, working on the words of Jesus in the Greatest Story Ever Told. He said come on out, let’s start work. I stayed with a friend of mine, a producer on a film, Something’s Got To Give. And that was of course the film that Marilyn didn’t finish.

I never saw the glamorous creature. Oh, I saw flashes of her in public and all that. But in the privacy of the home and wherever we were at, and later at my home, I saw nothing but a sad, sick girl.

– Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Leonard Bernstein, 1968 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Max Ernst, 1942 © Arnold Newman

You wait for things to happen. Let’s say, I think I would like to photograph you over here, how about you standing behind the desk for a moment for me, and they’ll do that. Now, let’s face it, if you’ve got a very irritable subject or a man who is pretty rough and tough, President Johnson specifically, why don’t you just stand there for a few minutes, you just can’t do that. As a matter of fact, he gave me fifteen minutes, of course I took forty five. The idea was was that I was loosening him up, to get him used to the idea of photographing. I had to take a risk, my first risk shots, my insurance pictures at the beginning. They were not bad, but they were stiff and he was uptight, looking at his watch mentally.

Later, I got him to relax, we were kidding, he leaned sort of like this as he was waiting for me to get my camera ready again, which before he was very upset that I wasn’t ready. I was doing this on purpose. Finally, when he was like this, I said, don’t move.

– Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

Alfred Krupp, 1963 © Arnold Newman

The worst people in the world, the real villains of today very often as Hitchcock said, hide in broad daylight, you just don’t recognize them. That’s the way Krupp was. He looked like a nice distinguished gentlemanly human being and he looked at my pictures and said, “Mr. Newman, I love your photographs so I think maybe we should take photographs.”

I worked this out where I got the lights to come under him, the usual thing. The result was that when I got him there, it was working but not really working. I had built a little platform of about two meters high, long enough to accommodate the both of us, him straddling a chair. I didn’t want to over do it. The lights were working beautifully but it just didn’t give me what I wanted. I went to Herr Bolen, that was his family name, “would you lean forward” and he leaned this way and my hair stood on end. There was the devil.

And they declared me persona non grata in Germany.

– Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Arthur Miller, 1947 © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

John F. Kennedy © Arnold Newman

Portraiture is a term that has taken on all these barnacles, all these terrible things that have happened to portraiture, on canvas, on stone, on metal, and then in photography. It’s something that is done to please the subject. A photographer is nothing more than a whore who does nothing but sit there thinking, will it please the subject, will i be able to sell him this picture, or will I be able to please him so he will buy it.

And the result is that little by little, people have begun to look down at portraiture, forgetting that the greatest artists in the world from Rembrandt, to Holbein, on up to Stieglitz and Strand, what have you, have all done portraiture and loved it. I happen to particularly love photographing people.

– Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Bill Clinton © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Ansel Adams, 1975 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Man Ray, 1948 © Arnold Newman

Well, I didn’t mean to make a series of photographs on artists. My intent was explicitly to experiment with portraiture. And I hate the word portraiture. I prefer to call it photographs of people.

When I came to New York, you have to understand, in 1938, things were still bad from the depression and there wasn’t much money. I was unknown. I had this desire to make photographs of people but I didn’t know anyone. The ones that I wanted to meet, the ones that seemed to me, gave me the greatest opportunity…the artists were absolutely perfect.

– Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Salvador Dali, 1951 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Henri Cartier-Bresson, NYC, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Cartier-Bresson is not a photojournalist. He takes individual images if you really look at them.

– Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Marc Chagall, 1942 © Arnold Newman

Course Stieglitz was a man who I greatly admired and I had no idea that I was going to meet him. I do remember the fact that kept using words like inventive but the word that he kept using was honesty. He kept urging me then and later to be honest.

– Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Jean Dubuffet, 1956 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Frank Lloyd Wright, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Great photographs are not made with a camera. They are made by a human being with a mind. And he uses a tool. If that tool cannot make a great work of art, then he discards the tool. As long as the tools are available to us to make something that satisfies us, we’ll use it, no matter how imperfect it is.

– Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

I.M. Pei, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Claes Oldenburg, 1967 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

Igor Stravinsky, 1946 © Arnold Newman

It all came to head in just a moment. I had been going to concerts and looking at various instruments. I had already photographed musical instruments in part and in whole and that sort of thing. Suddenly I realized that I had been admiring the shape of the piano and suddenly it hit me The piano shape – strong, hard, sharp, linear, beautiful in this strong harsh way was really the echo of Stravinsky’s work, his own music. When I thought about that, reflected on that, I thought where can I get a piano?

We found an editor who had a piano with a very simple wall, very simple background. I was able to manipulate the light on the background by simply taking one 1,000 watt light and moving it around until I got the exact light I wanted.

– Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Marcel Duchamp, 1966 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Jean Arp, 1949 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Isamu Noguchi, 1947 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

Pablo Picasso, 1954 © Arnold Newman

[For the Picasso image] I used a small portion of a 4×5 negative which was part of a series that I did. I love the whole photograph, I still think that that is a successful photograph. What I realized in examining the photograph, the most exciting thing was face and his eyes so I decided to blow up that little section and make that the full image. And I blew it up and it was so successful, the old story, less is more. The impact of that closely cropped head with those fantastic eyes increased the value of the picture instead of decreasing it and it probably became one of my best known photographs.

– Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman

Louise Nevelson, 1972 © Arnold Newman


Kurosawa | Rashomon

In Rashomon, especially the wonderful camera moves in the second part as the woman tells her story and is sitting there and the camera is dwelling on her and goes back around her and the man, her husband, is continuously in a steady shot, and she’s always moving like this and like that with the knife. It’s so magnificent, some of the camera moves are so precise and so psychological, you know?

He’s emphasizing the character of the woman in such a magnificent way, slowly building up that she might have killed him. Which we don’t know, of course.

I mean it’s superb filmmaking and there’s nearly no example in the whole film industry where you can point out something so splendid.

– Paul Verhoeven

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Masayuki Mori in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)

Machiko Kyô in Rashomon (1950)


Raising Arizona | Hi’s Letter to Ed
Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona (1987)

Nicholas Cage in Raising Arizona (1987)

My dearest Edwina,

Tonight, as you and Nathan slumber, my heart is filled with anguish. I hope that you will both understand and forgive me for what I have decided I must do. By the time you read this, I will be gone.

I will never be the man that you want me to be, the husband and father that you and Nathan deserve.

Maybe it’s my upbringing. Maybe it’s just that my genes got screwed up. I don’t know. But the events of the last day have showed amply that I don’t have the strength of character to raise up a family in a manner befitting a responsible adult.

I say all this to my shame.

I will love you always, truly and deeply. But I fear that if I stay, I would only bring bad trouble on the heads of you and Nathan Jr. I feel this thunder gathering even now. If I leave, hopefully, it will leave with me.

I cannot tarry. Better I should go, send you money, and let you curse my name.

Your loving –

Herbert

Randall 'Tex' Cobb in Raising Arizona (1987)

Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb in Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona (1987)

Raising Arizona (1987)


Roxanne Lowit | The Original Party Photographer

I started out as a textile designer at FIT. I was given a 110 Instamatic camera to make reference photographs of my friends that I wanted to paint. I liked the instant gratification of the photographic process, so I traded in my paintbrushes for a camera and started exploring this new creative medium. The Editor in Chief of the Soho News Annie Flanders saw my pictures and asked me to go to Paris to cover the fashion shows for her with one stipulation: I had to get a real camera. I bought a camera and read the instructions on how to load film into the camera on the flight to Paris. The energy of shooting backstage was intoxicating. On that same trip I found myself atop the Eiffel Tour with Yves Saint Laurent and Andy Warhol for the after party for Yves show. From that moment on, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I returned to New York, quit my job, and decided I was now a photographer.

– Roxanne Lowit

Christy, Linda, Naomi © Roxanne Lowit

Christy, Linda, Naomi © Roxanne Lowit

Salvador Dali, Janet Daly and the stranger, New Years Eve © Roxanne Lowit

Salvador Dali, Janet Daly and the stranger, New Years Eve © Roxanne Lowit

Backstage Dior © Roxanne Lowit

Backstage Dior © Roxanne Lowit

 

Photography is my passion, my métier, and my muse. I love what I do and do what I love. That is the key to happiness.

– Roxanne Lowit

Lenny Kravitz & Iggy Pop © Roxanne Lowit

Lenny Kravitz & Iggy Pop © Roxanne Lowit

Keith Haring © Roxanne Lowit

Keith Haring © Roxanne Lowit

Linda, Naomi & Christy, 1989 ©  Roxanne Lowit

Linda, Naomi & Christy, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso and Xavier de Castella at Le Privilege, Paris, 1983 © Roxanne Lowit

Paloma Picasso and Xavier de Castella at Le Privilege, Paris, 1983 © Roxanne Lowit

Divine and John Waters at Interferon, 1981 © Roxanne Lowit

Divine and John Waters at Interferon, 1981 © Roxanne Lowit

Lou Reed in New York, circa 1980 © Roxanne Lowit

Lou Reed in New York, circa 1980 © Roxanne Lowit

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in New York, 1982 © Roxanne Lowit

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in New York, 1982 © Roxanne Lowit

Steven Meisel in New York, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit

Steven Meisel in New York, 1989 © Roxanne Lowit


Memoirs of a Geisha | Background Actors

In 2005, me and a friend started checking out general casting calls. She was a freelance programmer and, as a photographer, we were both a little slow at the time. I am not an actor and never wanted to be one, but if you live in Los Angeles, these opportunities are always out there and my friend, who is Japanese, thought it would be fun.

We attended an open call for Memoirs of a Geisha and were both immediately cast as background actors. We were both in different eras and scenes of the movie, she as a Fifties modern dressed prostitute and myself as a 1930’s Japanese general. Which was too bad because our intention had been to do this together but it meant that we would have different shooting days.

The life of an extra is bizarre and worthy of the articles and TV shows that have been created about it. I won’t go too long here but suffice to say that we were treated as just above set decorations yet occasionally were called upon to act. A lot of aspiring actors were in the mix, many having done numerous shows and films. There were hundreds of extras in my scenes of the army invading a village and sumo wrestling scene.

These were long eighteen hour days, getting paid very little, sitting around in costume and make up for hours, the boredom broken up only with the meal calls and the herding of us to set. The costuming was incredible for this film and I must say it was cool to sit around with a bunch of attractive geishas all day. And for the smokers in the crowd, some of the period set props were Camel unfiltered cigarettes. I smoked way too much over those days.

Since I was a shooter, I carried my Leica with me everywhere, including that set. I was, however, extremely conscious of the sensitivity of shooting unapproved on set since I had done production work before. But one day, I broke it out to shoot this girl because the light in the soundstage was just perfect. Soon, we all broke out our cameras and were taking group shots.

The next day, they issued a memo, instructing us to not take photos.

And yes, my shots were cut and my friend’s elbow was the only thing that made it into a scene.

But I did get the chance to be near Gong Li and that alone was worth the price of admission.

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Memoirs of a Geisha; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


Alex Cox | A Spaghetti Western Roundup

The great Alex Cox has written an article for the New York Times for the current mini-festival of Spaghetti Westerns at the Film Forum here in NYC. Click here for the article and click here for more about Alex Cox.

The future is always a dystopia in movies.

– Alex Cox

Cjamango (1967)

Cjamango (1967)


Leica Sighting | Das Boot

A chrome Leica III in Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot, 1981. The actor Herbert Grönemeyer shoots with it in a couple of scenes and also has the lens off in one scene, wiping down the body.

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981

Herbert Grönemeyer wielding a chrome Leica III in Das Boot, 1981