Martin Scorsese | Spielberg and Cinematography

Posted: January 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Cinema, Quotes

Empire of the Sun, 1987, Steven Spielberg

Empire of the Sun, 1987, Steven Spielberg

It took me a long to understand about cinematography and lighting. I was talking about it to Spielberg one time and he said he grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. And he realized one morning on Empire of the Sun, he saw the mist on the ground and he realized the sun was going to come up like a red ball. He got the shot of the last kamikaze going out, silhouetted against that red ball.

And I’m like, if I see mist on the ground, I run. I’m a New Yorker.

- Martin Scorsese


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Doug Kim | Ezra Magazine Interview

Posted: July 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Quotes

Ezra Magazine did a nice interview on me last month.

Click here to read the article.


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Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen | Byker

Posted: July 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Film, Photography, Quotes

Girl on a Spacehopper 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Girl on a Spacehopper 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

The girl on the Space Hopper! I took that in 1970. She flashed by me in a moment, bounded into a back lane and disappeared. I never found out who she was. Then, quite recently, the Space Hopper girl got in touch. She called and said her brother had found the image on the web. When she saw it she said she was transfixed and her whole childhood flooded back. She got in touch with me because she wanted to let me know that her life had turned out well. She lived in Manchester, had a family and a good job. She thanked me for taking the image. I made a big print of the image and sent it to her.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Young Couple 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Courtesy L. Parker Stephenson

Young Couple 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Courtesy L. Parker Stephenson

People were baffled by my choice to live there. Not that many people had any idea where Finland was, but if they did, they thought it such a beautiful clean country, and why would I choose to come to Byker?

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Heather Playing Piano 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Heather Playing Piano 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

When I was 14 or 15, I saw a programme about a group of documentary photographers. I knew from then on that was what I wanted to do.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

William Neilson 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Courtes

William Neilson 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Courtes

Photographing Byker the first time round. It was picked up by the national papers, and it was all about ‘the petite blonde on the wrong side of the lens’. I was even courted for a Page 3 appearance. It’s amusing to look back at now.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Backlane Avondale Rd 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa KonttinenBacklane Avondale Rd 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Backlane Avondale Rd 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

I decided to photograph every household in my street. I wasn’t that happy doing studio portraits anyway because I didn’t like the totally black background. I always feel that in portraiture, every inch of the frame is part of the story whether you like it or not, so I might as well tell a bigger story by doing it in people’s homes.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Jean Barron with parents Stanley and Margaret wilson, 1980 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Jean Barron with parents Stanley and Margaret wilson, 1980 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

To make the work interesting, for me, it’s about building relationships, where people also get to know me. I would visit them several time before I got to the point of taking a photograph.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Agnes Jolly Smurthwaite, 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Agnes Jolly Smurthwaite, 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

There’s a limit to one’s imagination. When you go into a person’s home, what you end up with easily is just a row of people sitting on the settee staring at you blankly, not knowing what you are doing, or what you want from them. I really dislike that kind of portraiture of the blank face, staring at the camera.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Making up in Mason Street, 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Making up in Mason Street, 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

There’s the obvious question of how documentary photography has changed over this period. For me it changed from an observational approach to the more collaborative method, reflecting the change in the access I had to people’s lives. Back then I lived in the area and no one worried about a young woman walking about with a camera. Nowadays people worry if there are people with cameras around children. I don’t think I would have been able to do now, what I did then.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Byker Park Dominoes Club, 1974 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Byker Park Dominoes Club, 1974 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Often, if you go with the natural light and the fairly casual approach, you tend not to come away with stately portraiture.

- Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Lady with the Beehive, 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Lady with the Beehive, 1971 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Mrs Potter in Mason Street, 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen

Mrs Potter in Mason Street, 1975 © Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen


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Arnold Newman | Alexander Calder

Posted: June 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Film, Quotes

Alexander Calder © Arnold Newman

Alexander Calder © Arnold Newman

Whenever I want to photograph someone, I read about them. I read biographies. If they are painters or scientists, I know their work. This is all good. It prepares me to observe. For example, with Stravinsky, I loved his work and when I was asked to photograph him finally he was staying in a hotel, this was in New York, I had no opportunity to get out to the West Coast where he lived — this goes along with another question you had about him — I am not only an environmental but a portrait photographer. So, I am going to the concerts all the time. I love music. Everything from Beethoven to good New Orleans jazz. I would watch the piano or notice the piano. It was strong, harsh, beautiful and it looked like a big flat. It looked very much like his own work. We went on from that point after we researched his apartment to find the right place (including Steinway) to find the right place with the right kind of piano. Other times when I have no opportunity and I have to come take a quick look, I have to use all the resources of all those years of experience, my knowledge, my innate ability to look around, which most people should have that should be in the arts, and have to make quick decisions. I do almost as well that way as when I am researching it. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a better photograph. It just simply means that I am able to think better. Let’s put it that way.

- Arnold Newman


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Gavin Watson | Skins and Punks

Posted: June 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Film, Photography, Quotes

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I was never a documentary photographer. I was just photographing my mates, it wasn’t deliberate, other people give me that label.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I had no understanding of what I had done when I was taking those pictures at 15,16 and 17 years old. From 1979 onwards, the bulk of the historical Skins & Punks era was from the 1979 to 1981period.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I’m not inspired by anyone else. I’m inspired by what’s in front of me. I have old cameras that I’ve bought for a few pounds, old Olympus 10s. When I do large campaigns I’ll work with a great post production editor; I’m just interested in taking the photos, not anything else. It’s all about the story, the subjects. I rarely use flash, I hate using flash actually. I will still use film because I know it will be safe, it’s a back up because you can lose 5 years of work using digital, in an instant.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins and Punks was not a subject that I intentionally set out to photograph, it was my life. The images I created were down to me being a fast worker, I kept things very simple using the one camera and film, this is very much the way I still work today.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

It was Christmas ’78–79 I went down to Woolies with mum for my present. In a glass cabinet there was a pair of binoculars and a camera – a Hanimax 110. I was sure I wanted binoculars, but standing there I thought, fuck it, I’ll have the camera. I don’t know why. I loaded a roll of 110 film and took pictures of my family and friends. My whole life was family, my life was very contained…

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I sent the film away for developing and printing. When it came back and I saw my very first pictures, something just went BANG. I’d managed to pick a camera with a glass lens. It was basic, but better than the plastic lens cameras everyone else bought, such as the terrible Kodak Instamat. Because the Hanimax had a glass lens, when I got my prints back I saw they were much better than any other people’s home photos. That did it for me, I got that initial spurt and became into photography on the spot.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

But I always wanted the best, I would browse through catalogues just to write lists of the most expensive things in there. I dreamt of the best equipment, a Canon A1, out of reach in working class family. I saved up for my first 35mm camera, a Zenith, base Russian SLR built like a tank. I didn’t like it, it wasn’t good enough for me. One day I came home from school, my dad is in the kitchen and he says “I have something for you, son”. He had bought me an Olympus OM1. It was any other Wednesday, not my birthday, for no reason he whips out this expensive camera. I could feel my brothers’ eyes of envy on the my back of my neck. I still shoot with that camera.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I had no professional photographic goals, I was more interested in being in a skinhead gang with a bit of photography on the side. I was a nervous photographer, and I still am. I’ve never gone up to a stranger and asked to take their photograph. I just couldn’t photograph other people, so it was all about my friends. My life was based around my friends, we all were all skinheads together, we all were teenagers together. If I hadn’t actually been a skinhead and set out to photograph them, the result would be very different. They’d all be V signing and shouting “fuck off, mate!”. It’s why I haven’t got the atypical pictures of what society think skinheads are, or even what skinheads think skinheads are.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I’m not a different photographer from the one I was at 15, I’m a natural, I have a raw organic way of taking pictures. My methods have not changed.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

I don’t actually think I have a particular style, well I haven’t consciously set out to have one anyway, although I do know other people think I do, they can look at my work and know it’s a Gavin Watson. For me its more about looking through the lens and if it looks good I take it, I’m generally just happy when they are in focus (laughs), but to be honest, sometimes it’s OK with me if they are a not, they don’t always have to be perfect, maybe that’s part of my style. As I said I like to keep things very simple, I work with one camera at a time and still use film. I don’t like using a zoom lens, I prefer to move around a lot instead, this is the way i worked when i was 15 and i still do now. I do think my pictures have a certain energy within them, they actually look like real people rather that just figures.

- Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson

Skins & Punks © Gavin Watson


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Martin Parr | Miyazaki, Japan

Posted: June 3rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Books, Film, Photography, Quotes

The Artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome, Miyazaki, Japan, 1996 © Martin Parr

The Artificial beach inside the Ocean Dome, Miyazaki, Japan, 1996 © Martin Parr

Tourism is the biggest industry in the world, only oil comes anywhere close and lot of that is used in the tourist industry anyway. This folio of images shows the tourist (ie you and me) doing what we do when we arrive at the beach or another global honeypot. We queue up, we sun ourselves and spend cash on often useless souvenirs. We then take photos of ourselves in front of the visiting sight. This proves we have been there and are part of the world as we know it.

- Martin Parr


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Jaime Permuth | Yonkeros

Posted: June 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Books, New York City, Photography, Quotes

Yonkeros, Willets Point, Queens © Jaime Permuth

Yonkeros, Willets Point, Queens © Jaime Permuth

This book is entitled “Yonkeros” after the vernacular term that describes businesses that specialize in junk and scrap metal. The word is a corruption of the English “junk” which becomes “yonk” to the Latin ear, and is then conjugated elegantly and correctly in Spanish so that “el yonke” comes to mean the junkyard and “yonkero” the person who works with junk…

I shot the entire series digitally, using a Nikon D700 and an old 35mm, which is my favorite lens.

- Jaime Permuth


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Ezra Stoller | General Motors Technical Center,1950

Posted: May 30th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Architecture, Film, Photography, Quotes

General Motors Technical Center,1950 ©  Ezra Stoller

General Motors Technical Center,1950 © Ezra Stoller

Photography is space, light, texture, of course, but the really important element is time—that nanosecond when the image organizes itself on the ground glass.

- Ezra Stoller


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Ray Eames | Graphic Designs & Letters

Posted: May 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Architecture, Quotes

Tic Tac Toe Fabric Design  circa 1947, ink on gold paper © Ray Eames

Tic Tac Toe Fabric Design
circa 1947, ink on gold paper © Ray Eames

 

Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.

- Ray Eames

Letter to Sansi Girard. 1961, ink on paper from Ray Eames

Letter to Sansi Girard. 1961,
ink on paper from Ray Eames

 

Take your please seriously.

- Charles Eames

Drawing of Molded Plywood Chairs by Ray Eames

Drawing of Molded Plywood Chairs by Ray Eames

The problem of designing anything is in a sense the problem of designing a tool. And as in designing a tool it is usually wise to have a pretty clear idea of what you want the thing to do. The need is to fill it’s particular objective.

- Charles and Ray Eames

Dot Pattern fabric design circa 1947,  pencil on tracing paper © Ray Eames

Dot Pattern fabric design
circa 1947,
pencil on tracing paper © Ray Eames

 

Yes, Charles had always been terribly interested in photography. I think it’s been known that his father was a great amateur photographer and had left equipment. His father died when he was very young. He left his equipment and Charles started to read instructions and taught himself about photography. The great joke he always made was that he was making glass plate negatives before hearing that there was such a thing as film, because of having this old equipment. But he learned a great deal. Then he used it always as a tool, photographing architecture, photographing objects, studying it by photographing models. And I think he made some experiments in film when he was at Cranbook. Some film . . . I must check that, I think they might have it. We kept records of everything, but he never shot just a record, he always shot something and made a good-looking photograph.

- Ray Eames

Crosspatch Fabric Design, 1945 © Ray Eames

Crosspatch Fabric Design, 1945 © Ray Eames

 

So, filmmaking — he was always interested in documenting things, and using photographs rather than pages of explanations. He had a very strong belief of being able to see something rather than having to describe it, so we’ve always used photographs for that.

- Ray Eames

Christmas and New Year's Card, 1933-34, pencil on paper © Ray Eames

Christmas and New Year’s Card, 1933-34, pencil on paper © Ray Eames

 

I never thought of myself as an artist and couldn’t bear the word.

- Ray Eames

Christmas and New Year's Card, 1933-34 © Ray Eames

Christmas and New Year’s Card, 1933-34 © Ray Eames

 

It was natural for me not to separate them, you know—now you study history, now you study dance, now you study music, or now you study pottery or whatever it is—it all seemed to be one thing.

- Ray Eames

Dot Pattern, Fabric Design,  circa 1947 © Ray Eames

Dot Pattern, Fabric Design,
circa 1947 © Ray Eames

 

Ray comes to design through painting
and I through architecture -
that this should not be at all surprising
since I feel that most everything is a
form of architecture, certainly all of the
environment that man creates for himself -
and Ray feels that painting is related to
everything and of course I feel that painting
comes under the heading of architecture.

- Charles Eames

Illustrated Happy Birthday letter to Susan Girard © Ray Eames

Illustrated Happy Birthday letter to Susan Girard © Ray Eames

 

Never let the blood show

- Charles Eames

Letter to Sansi Girard from Ray Eames

Letter to Sansi Girard from Ray Eames

 

What works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.

- Ray Eames

Letter to Charles Eames, 1955 from Ray Eames

Letter to Charles Eames, 1955 from Ray Eames


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Alfred Stieglitz | The Steerage, 1907

Posted: May 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Photography, Quotes

In June 1907, my wife, out daughter Kitty and I, sailed for Europe. My wife insisted on going on a large ship, fashionable at the time. It was impossible to escape the nouveau riche. Ye Gods. By the third day out, I could stand it no longer. I had to get away. I walked as far forward as possible.

Coming to the end of the deck, I stood alone. Looking down, there were men, women, children on the lower levels of the steerage. The scene fascinated me. A round straw hat. The funnel leaning left. The stairway leading right. White suspenders crossed on the back of a man below. A mass that cut into the sky, completing a triangle. I saw shapes related to one another. A picture of shapes, and underlying it, a new vision that held me.

I raced to the main stairway of the steamer, chased down into my cabin, picked up my Graflex, raced up again, worrying whether or not the man with the straw hat had shifted his position. If he had the picture I saw would no longer exist. The man with the straw hat had not stirred an inch. The man in the crossed suspenders, he too stood where he had been talking. No one had moved.

I had only one plate holder with one unexposed plate. I released the shutter, my heart thumping. If I had captured what I wanted, it would be a picture based on related shapes and deepest human feeling. A step in my own evolution.

-Alfred Stieglitz

 

The Steerage, 1907 © Alfred Stieglitz

The Steerage, 1907 © Alfred Stieglitz


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