Jan Grarup | Haiti Aftermath

Posted: August 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Leica, Photography, Quotes

Winner of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for 2011, Danish photojournalist Jan Grarup’s series on the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

I only use fixed lenses — I hate zoom lenses! It has to do with the fact that my lenses make me move around the things I photograph much more than I would do otherwise, which is a good thing. The 28mm, 35mm and 50mm are for me the lenses that give the best and most honest result in terms of the people who look at my work.

- Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

Well, I do shoot a lot of color, mainly when clients want it. I don’t reject color at all; I just don’t see myself as a good color photographer. I have much respect for good color photographers. The best of them almost work “monochromatically” with the colors and I find that very hard. It is something I have to work on diligently!

- Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup


Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup

Haiti Aftermath © Jan Grarup


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Leica Sighting | Closer

Posted: January 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Cinema, Leica

Julia Roberts shooting Natalie Portman with a chrome Leica M6 TTL and 50mm Summicron; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Natalie Portman with a chrome Leica M6 TTL and 50mm Summicron; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Natalie Portman with a chrome Leica M6 TTL and 50mm Summicron; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Natalie Portman with a chrome Leica M6 TTL and 50mm Summicron; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Jude Law with a Hasselblad; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Jude Law with a Hasselblad; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Jude Law with a Hasselblad; from the movie Closer (2004)

Julia Roberts shooting Jude Law with a Hasselblad; from the movie Closer (2004)


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Hollywood | Angelyn & Happy

Posted: December 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Leica, Los Angeles

I don’t think either of them like these two shots. Let’s see if they read my blog.

Angelyn & Happy, Hollywood © Doug Kim, Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm Summicron, Agfa APX 400

Angelyn & Happy, Hollywood © Doug Kim, Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm Summicron, Agfa APX 400


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Egypt | The Train from Cairo to Alexandria

Posted: April 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Egypt, Film, Leica

I love trains and trains stations. I cannot stop shooting the same shots again and again in different stations, the shots down the length of the station, the strong diagonals converging on the vanishing point, the structural web of girders and beams above and the strong directional light. Just simply love it.

Ramses station in Cairo is currently under construction and is a mess. If it wasn’t for a helpful local, I never would have found the ticket office nor my platform, there being no signs even in arabic and the office was in a temporary spot. Misr station in Alexandria is a great open air space with a couple of cafes. I could have spend a day there comfortably.

I took the train from Cairo to Alexandria and back again. One of the rides was on a pretty clean train with good air conditioning which would be a vital modcon in the summer months. The other train was a relic from the British Colonial period and had a good amount of the Egyptian desert within its walls. I’m sure that train travel in general in Egypt has not changed much since T.E. Lawrence’s time.

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

You cannot smoke on these trains. That just means that you can open up the doors while the train is moving to smoke.

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

This is the Ramses station, the less charming chaotic stop on the line.

Ramses Railway Station, Cairo, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Ramses Railway Station, Cairo, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

The beautiful Misr station with its clean classic lines.

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Misr Railway Station, Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Alexandria, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Egyptian men are of average height, but when they big, they are hulks. This guy that I met on the train was one such giant, gentle and well over six feet.

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Cairo to Alexandria train, Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X


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Fountain Valley | Ben Clark

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Leica, Los Angeles

The great Ben Clark with his Leica M7 0.85 and 50mm Summicron.

Ben Clark, Fountain Valley; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Ben Clark, Fountain Valley; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


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Portrait | Nicky Katt

Posted: May 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Cinema, dougKIM photography, Film, Leica, Los Angeles, Mamiya

A few years ago, I got a great assignment from Metro.Pop Magazine in Los Angeles. The job was to shoot Nicky Katt in Hollywood and the art direction I received was to just “show up and do what you do.” It’s rare to get that kind of freedom shooting editorial, especially since I am a black and white, natural light shooter.

And plus I knew Nicky Katt’s work. It was only after recently talking to a friend about him that I realized Nicky is a cinemaphile’s actor. You really have to be a nerd about American cinema to know who he is. I know that he’s been on TV but I’ve always known him for his small but memorable roles in independent films. Think about it. You might know him as:

  • the smart ass hit man in The Limey
  • the Nazi in a 50s greaser uniform in Dazed and Confused
  • the guy with the tongue boil in Planet Terror
  • one of them cops in Insomnia
  • the rocker dude in the van in School of Rock
  • the tough in the bar inSecondhand Lions
  • the cynical tough in SubUria

I showed up at the house on Fairfax and we got along instantly because we somehow started chatting about Monte Hellman films. It turns out Nicky was collaborating with Monte on a screenplay. Much to the annoyance of the writer, we wouldn’t stop talking about Two Lane Blacktop and Cockfighter.

The challenge for this shoot was the fact that Nicky was obsessed with Sam Peckinpah and recently saw this interview with him where he wore his sunglasses the entire time. So I sat Nicky in this big chair by the fireplace with the dog and his sunglasses and his glass of bourbon and I started taking meter readings. The room was so dark that I had to push my meager 400 speed film to 1600 just to shoot wide open. I couldn’t even focus as the viewfinder for the Mamiya is pretty dark. I literally had to lock in on the wall of the fireplace behind him and walk my camera backwards to put him in the focal plane.

After suffering some anxiety about pushing my film three stops and my inability to focus, I picked up my film a couple of days later from the lab and it all turned out fine. Not stellar images but I really enjoyed that afternoon.

Nicky Katt, shot with a Mamiya Pro II, 85mm, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim

Nicky Katt, shot with a Mamiya Pro II, 85mm, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim

Nicky Katt, shot with a Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim

Nicky Katt, shot with a Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim

Nicky Katt, shot with a Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim

Nicky Katt, shot with a Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400, for Metro.Pop Magazine © Doug Kim


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Portrait | Grace

Posted: May 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Leica

Grace, Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Grace, Leica M6 TTL 0.58, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X


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Prague Graveyard | Olšanské hřbitovy

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Leica

One of the great landmarks in Prague is the Olšanské hřbitovy graveyard in Praha 3. It boasts a million people buried within its borders though there were not as many gravestones, suggesting some mass graves perhaps, which I confess I did not see. Heroes and martyrs of the Prague Spring are buried here. It also has its own police station within its fences which is impressive.

Walking around the dark, worn paths even on a bright day feels like walking through a succession of Black Sabbath album covers. It is a fantastic, beautiful, serene, sad and spooky world in the shade of massive Brothers Grimm trees.

Olšanské hřbitovy is in a busy, gentrified part of Praha 3 with traffic and bustle and noise and light. Step inside the gates and the world becomes muffled, dark and furtive and you will feel the need in the back of your head to mark your path so that you can safely find your way out.

As much as I tried, I did not produce successful work there, as perhaps it is one of those places that does lend itself to be easily captured. Here are some of those images. Go there. Take the A line Metro to the Flora station and it is right next to the Palac Flora shopping mall.

Olsanske hrbitovy, Praha 3, Prague graveyard

Olšanské hřbitovy, Leica M6, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

This woman was distributing walnuts around the graveyard, placing them on key headstones and grave markers. It was mid-October and the winter was on its way and could already be tasted on the air. She was concerned about the squirrels that lived in the graveyard and wanted to insure that they had enough to eat before the snows came.

She was a marvel. There was a little trough between the walkway and these particular headstones and she could not reach them because of her cane and roller cart. So myself and these two other visitors assisted. She and I talked for a while though my Czech was extremely limited and her English was good, but she kept slipping into French anyways. She told me about her son, whom she had buried years ago though not in this graveyard.

Olsanske hrbitovy, Praha 3, Prague graveyard

Olšanské hřbitovy, Leica M6, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Olsanske hrbitovy, Praha 3, Prague graveyard

Olšanské hřbitovy, Leica M6, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim

Olsanske hrbitovy, Praha 3, Prague graveyard

Olšanské hřbitovy, Leica M6, 50mm summicron, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


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Leica Sighting | Coraline

Posted: August 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Cinema, Leica

Leica camera owners are the worst of the gear fetishists in the photography world. I count myself among them…to a certain extent. Obsessing over serial numbers, special alligator skin models and collapsible lens hoods is small talk for us.

The use of Leicas in movies is something I count as a geeky guilty pleasure, though nothing will take me out of a movie quicker than when I spot an M8 or a screw mount lens.

What has to be the coolest movie sighting of a Leica so far is the appearance of one in the stop-motion animated film of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Only a camera fetishist would go to the lengths required to construct a miniature M3. And a true Leica fetishist would make sure that when Coraline looks through the viewfinder, the POV through the viewfinder had the single M3 50mm frame line exactly where it should be.

I cannot take credit for the identification of the model nor of the frame lines’ accuracy. That came from the Leica Users Group.

Picture 9

Coraline 2009

Picture 10

The camera strap and the specific way it folds under above the rings is dead on. Coraline 2009

the frame lines for the 50mm in the M3

the frame lines for the 50mm in the M3

See, rent or buy Coraline now. It is a wonderful film and is so far the closest Neil Gaiman has come to having a film successfully convey his singular magic and imagination.


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Sarah

Posted: August 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: dougKIM photography, Film, Leica, Los Angeles

This is Sarah.

Sarah, Leica M6 TTL, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400

Sarah, Leica M6 TTL, 50mm summicron, Agfa APX 400 © Doug Kim


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