Thursday, March 22, 2012

Imogen Cunningham

Probably one of Imogen Cunningham's most renowned photographs is that of the Magnolia Blossom, shot in 1925. Magnolias, along with Cherry Blossoms and Dogwoods are some of the first trees to bloom in Spring ... and this being Spring here in New York, well ..................

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cecil Beaton

What I should have done was to put these photographs in chronological order, for then we would see the development of Cecil Beaton's work. But, I didn't do that. I have allowed these images to load in random order as a deliberate measure to emphasize how varied yet consistent his work. (Actually, I didn't do it deliberately, some were clustered together intentionally while the rest were simply just random. I'm trying to justify my laziness in not curating these properly. Part of the problem is that Beaton was prolific -- even editing down to this selection was no easy feat.)

As a young child, Cecil Beaton's inspiration came from society women and actresses. He got his first camera -- a Kodak camera -- at age eleven. In the 1920s, Beaton was a staff photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair ... he continued as a staff photographer for Conde Nasté publications through the 1960s. For me, personally, his name is synonymous with 'Old Hollywood Portraiture'. From heavily staged scenes to dramatic portraits, he then turned to being an official war photographer when he signed up with the British Ministry of Information at the beginning of World War II. After the war, he turned his attention back to his photography, fashion illustrations and costume design. He won Academy Awards for Costume Design both for Gigi and My Fair Lady and an additional award for Art Direction for My Fair Lady.

(Photo above of Greta Garbo)

Norma Shearer for Vanity Fair, 1930

Jungman Twins, 1926

Tallulah Bankhead

Jean Harlow

Nancy Beaton

Mrs. Charles James, New York, 1955

Truman Capote, Morocco, 1959

Mick Jagger

Marlon Brando

Marlene Dietrich, 1935

Marilyn Monroe

Kyra Nijinsky, 1935

Gwili Andre, 1932

Eileen Dunn (shot for Life Magazine)

Charles James Gowns for Vogue, 1948

Baroness von Thyssen at Roger Vivier's Apartment

Audrey Hepburn, 1960

Andy Warhol and Candy Darling, 1969

Greta Garbo
Jean Shrimpton, 1964

Princess Ira von Furstenberg, 1955

Self Portrait while shooting portrait of Mick Jagger

One of Beaton's sketches of a gown he designed.

The Royal Air Force: The rear gunner in his position in a Wellington bomber. (From the Ministry of Information Second World War Collection.)

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Here is an editorial piece on Beaton from the TSY blog that is an interesting read.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Steven Meisel

I am reminded how much laundry is piling up at home. If only it could be so glamorous.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Helmut Newton Polaroids

Last year, Taschen released a book of Helmut Newton Polaroids. As did many photographers, Newton used Polaroids to test a shot before shooting actual film. His widow, photographer June Newton (a/k/a Alice Springs) edited the book.

I fondly remember using the Polaroid 110A and 110B converted with Polaroid backs for test shots ... and then the dinky 600 just for fun ... and then the Spectra with which I must have taken hundreds upon hundreds of shots, none of which were test Polaroids, but instead just for the thrill of instant gratification and spontaneity. And, we used the Spectra for casting calls. Then, of course, there was the folding SX-70 Land Camera that produced images which were a medium unto itself. (Remember image and emulsion transfers?) I also have the Highlander roll film camera -- it was a camera my father used. I digress! The story of Polaroid could continue, but this post is about Helmut Newton's test Polaroids, of which he kept a significant collection.

Here is a sampling from the Helmut Newton book: