Articles Tagged with: Film
Werner Herzog | On Celluloid
Werner Herzog, Thailand @ James Nachtweh / VII

Werner Herzog, Thailand @ James Nachtweh / VII

From Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

Marc Maron: Do you miss film?

Werner Herzog: Celluloid? No, I am not nostalgic. I still love it. Of course I love it. But digital film making has helped me to work faster and to work less expensively. So that’s why all of a sudden I’m coming out with four films, all of them ready for distribution. The system of distribution is too slow for my output.

MM: What did you lose with celluloid?

WH: Well, the kind of magic of the flicker of 24 frames in a theater. And celluloid, you alway have to understand it as a layer, a three dimensional thin layer of emulsion that stores the information. Whereas digital film is only a file of zeroes and ones. It’s strange that we sense there’s a different life to it.

MM: Also I imagine the editing process is a bit more decisive.

WH: When you work in celluloid, you better come to some conclusions quickly and what I see today in digital editing, there are directors who do not know what they are doing and they create twenty-two parallel versions and they never can decide. I’m editing almost as fast as I am thinking. Because I do not have to search for that small reel of film and look for…making some pen marks on it and glue it, splice it and feed it into a system and roll it to the right moment.

I’m editing much much fast now. Closer to writing in a way, yes.


Ridley Scott | Kubrick Footage in Blade Runner

I’ve got a very nice story about Stanley. I’d finished Blade Runner and it was a disaster. And my investors who were giving me a really hard time, said…’You can’t end the film with this picking up this piece of origami, looking at the girl, walking in the elevator, and nodding, that’s called a film noir.’

I said, ‘What’s a film noir.’…

‘We have to test this with an uplifting ending where they will go off into the wilderness together.’

I said, ‘Well if they can go off into the beautiful wilderness, why are they living in this dystopian environment?’
‘Allright, I’ll do it.’

So by then, I had talked to Stanley a few times. I called him up and said listen, ‘I know you shot the hell out of wherever it was in The Shining, and I know you’ve got four and a half months of helicopter stuff…[inaudible]. Can I have some of the stuff because it will suit me fine.’

The next day I had seventeen hours of helicopter footage, it was stunning. So the end of the film in Blade Runner, that’s Stanley Kubrick’s footage…

But he said,’You got a vehicle, what is it?’

‘It’s long.’

‘Oh shit, every shot I have has a Volkswagen in it.’ Then he went, ‘Oh, what did you shoot?’

I said, ‘Anamorphic’

“Ah jolly good, when you project mine, it’ll look oblong. You’ll be fine.’

Then a day later he called me.

‘It’s Stanley. One other thing. I know you’re going through my footage right now. If there’s anything I used, you can’t have it. Got it?’

I went, ‘Okay cool.’

That was it. That was Kubrick.

– Ridley Scott

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick's Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner

Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s Shining in the theatrical release of Blade Runner


Louis CK | Leica Shooting, USO Tour
Shot by Louis CK on his Leica MP

Shot by Louis CK on his Leica MP

The gunners reached out into the open air and leveled their guns with a great slot and click sound. They trained them on the ground. I felt my hands tense up. I realized, for the first time, that both my hands were wrapped tightly around my Leica. Oh my god, my Leica! I have the greatest camera in the world in my fucking hands and I’m in the middle of this shit right here.

In that moment, ALL FEAR was gone. I was right where I wanted to be in the whole world. I reached into my pocket, which was difficult with the armor, and took out my light meter. I got readings out the window, inside, the floor under my feet. I did quick averages of the readings in my head. Now all my thoughts were of film. “Okay I’m at about 5.6 outside if I’m at 250 which is a good speed from a moving helicopter. If I want to get stuff outside, I’ll squeeze the fstop down to about 8. If I want inside the bird I’ll open to 2.8, 4 if I want a bit of both.” I set all these functions on the camera and started firing away. The helicopter leaned forward and we tore off across Baghdad.

– Louis CK


Louis CK | Leica MP

Do not know why he took down the rundown of his gear on his old blog, but I only recently found out that the tremendous Louis CK is a Leica shooter. Hope he doesn’t mind me repurposing his post and an article excerpt, but it is fantastic. He’s not just a Leica fetishist like some well-known celebs, but a real film nerd.

Seriously. His stock just rises and rises.

I take a lot of pictures. I am very, very into photography and I was certainly going to take this opportunity to take some. I’m going to show you all the equipment I brought with me. I’m not showing off here. I’m not rich. I just spend all my money on cameras. It’s important to me. I am sharing it with you because to me it’s part of the story.

Louis CK's Leica MP 35mm, 50mm Summilux

Louis CK’s Leica MP 35mm, 50mm Summilux

This is the main dude. A film camera. A range-finder. I only really shoot film, though I do use a digital camera just to record moments, to take snapshots. This Leica is handmade in Germany. It is encased in painted brass and has all mechanical parts. It has no automatic settings. There is a light meter but the battery was dead when I brought it on this trip so I shot the entire trip manually with a hand light meter. The Leica MP is made exactly the same way Leica made Rangefinders in the 60s. It’s not even an SLR. you have to line up images in the rangefinder and hope for the best.

The main reason to use a Leica is the lenses. Leica lenses are hand ground and they just do amazing things with images applied to film. I really love shooting film because there are an infinite ammount of combinations aof types of film (black and white, color, fast, slow, grainy, fine, high contrast, low), ways of exposing the film (pushing, pulling, over-exposing) and lenses to use. Small adjustments to the exposure, like changing the apeture, make dramatic differences from one picture to the next. Shooting without an in-camera light meter forces you to really look at the light you are shooting with, to notice when it changes and to think about what each apeture means and how it will effect your picture. Having prime lenses means you work with one focal length at a time and think and learn about the different characteristics and strengths of each lens and instead of zooming in and out you use your legs and body to frame the photo, which makes you do it more carefully. Comparing this to most digital photography, where you just sort of pump the lens back and forth till you get the framing you want, and snap, letting the camera decide how to expose it. Even with manual and more proffesional digital cameras, the sensors of these cameras are what they are. Theyr’e very limited and you can use photoshop later but it just ain’t the same. Not in my opinion. It’s just my opinion so save your long comments in defense of digital photography. Or don’t. I don’t care.

As I just mentioned, I only use prime lenses, meaning the lens has one size, fixed. It doesn’t zoom. If you want another focal length, you have to change the lens. I brought three lenses with me. The one on the camera is a 50mm Sumilux. It opens to f1.4 which makes it very good for low light and takes incredible daylight pictures when wide open, because of the extremely low depth of field, meaning only the object you focus on is in focus,the enviroment around it is not and the way a Leica Lens treats that area is part of what makes them great.

The other two lenses were an old 90mm lens and a new 35mm aspherical lens. Aspherical means it’s not roundish and so you can take a wide angle picture without getting a distorted rounded image.

Louis CK's Leica 90mm and 35mm lenses

Louis CK’s Leica 90mm and 35mm lenses

This is the light meter I brought, very basic..

Seconic light meter

Louis CK's light meter

Louis CK’s light meter

The last thing I want to say is that Leica cameras are stupid expensive. even really old ones. But you don’t need one to take film pictures. You can get an amazingly good Nikon SLR, (I reccomend the FM2) and good Nikon lenses for very cheap.

– Louis CK


John Ford | The Searchers
John Wayne in John Ford's The Searchers, 1956

John Wayne in John Ford’s The Searchers, 1956

This no happy ending though. There is no home, no family, waiting for Ethan. He is cursed, just as he cursed the dead Comanchee. He is a drifter, doomed to wander between the winds.

– Martin Scorsese


Bob Carlos Clarke | Faithful
Faithful © Bob Carlos Clarke

Faithful © Bob Carlos Clarke

I want my photographs to bear the highest amount of sexual charge as possible, those touching the most animal instincts.

– Bob Carlos Clarke

I remember seeing this image years ago in some book I had been flipping through, looking for stock photography for a project at work. I was just struck by the dress and the context of the graveyard. I was not even taking photographs back then so I never knew about Bob Carlos Clarke nor his work.

Have just read that he threw himself under a train a few years ago.

Here is his site.


Helmut Newton | Tomb of Talma, 1977
Tomb of Talma, 1977 © Helmut Newton

Tomb of Talma, 1977 © Helmut Newton

I had found out that I did not function well in the studio, that my imagination needed the reality of the outdoors. I also realized that only as a fashion photographer could I create my kind of universe and take up my camera in the chic place and in what the locals called la zone, which were working-class districts, constrution sites, and so on. To work for French Vogue at that time was wonderful: Who else would have published these nudes or the crazy and sexually charged fashion photographs which I would submit to the editor in chief?

– Helmut Newton


David Baiely | Michael Caine, 1965
Michael Caine, 1965 © David Baiely

Michael Caine, 1965 © David Baiely

It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary.

– David Bailey


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