Backbeat is not just another Beatles biopic; it’s more of an intimate story of friendship, love and ultimately death. The film’s focus is not on the rise of the group’s fame but, more on the triangular relationship between German photographer Astrid Kirchherr, Stu Sutcliffe, the original fifth Beatle, and John Lennon.
The years were 1960 to 1962. Stu Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff) is an art student, a talented painter with sensitive, good looks, a James Dean aura and a rock and roll heart. He also has a best friend by the name of John Lennon (Ian Hart). Lennon’s ragtag band then consisting of Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best were on their way to Germany to perform along the Reeperbahn district. Stu played base and was in the band due to John’s insistence and Stu own loyalty to his friend. Continue reading →
By 1992, Joe Pesci had been around for thirty years beginning with a small role in the 1961 film, Hey, Let’s Twist, a showcase for the then chart-topping rock and roll group, Joey Dee and the Starliters (Peppermint Twist). Pesci began getting some attention in the mid-1980’s with films like Easy Money and Once Upon a Time in America. But it was not until 1989 with Lethal Weapon 2 and 1990 with the double whammy of Home Alone and Goodfellas that Pesci became a name on everyone’s lips. Riding this success, Pesci had a series of important roles over the next few years. In 1992 alone, he appeared in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Lethal Weapon 3 and My Cousin Vinny. That same year he also had the lead role in the little-known film, The Public Eye.Continue reading →
Photography was in its infancy when Abraham Lincoln was running for President. It was a cumbersome and deliberate process. Cameras were these large boxes, set upon sturdy bulky tripods, using wet plates and a slow exposure making the possibilities of the sort of images captured limited. Continue reading →
One Hour Photo is a sobering introspective look on why we are a world addicted to taking pictures. Today even more than ever we have this passion, desire, this need to record almost everything we do with a photograph. Many of us photograph as a sort of visual diary of family, friends, place we have been. For some of us, we take pictures to capture a fleeting moment that will never happen again. It could be a person’s expression or clouds patterns or waves crashing; they only happen once, and the camera catches it forever. For others taking photographs is a validation of sorts that yes we live, we exist. For Seymour “Sy” Parrish (Robin Williams) though, photographs are an escape from his painful past and an imaginary lifeline to a normal life. Continue reading →
Some movies, well actually a lot movies, are flawed, but you like them anyway. There are reasons that even though you know the movie doesn’t work, it connects with you. When Eyes of Laura Mars came out in 1978 I was excited. On paper it had a lot going for it; a script by the then hot and upcoming John Carpenter, there was Faye Dunaway, still hot with recent hits like Chinatown, Network and Three Days of the Condor, just behind her, and most personally for myself, the main character was a photographer. Continue reading →
Richard Avedon was one of the best known and most influential portrait and fashion photographers of his day. He changed the concept of what was fashion photography and how it was presented. He has remains an artistic hero to many, right to this day. Born in 1923, in New York City, Avedon’s parents were both in the fashion business. His father, Jacob Avedon, owned and ran Avedon’s Fifth Avenue, a clothing store. With his family background, young Richard took an early interest in fashion and began photographing outfits from his father’s store. When he was twelve years old, Richard became a member of the Camera Club at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association. Continue reading →
Photographer Bill Cunningham admits he is no artist. He is neither a commercial photographer like Bert Stern nor a documentarian such as Dorothea Lange. But what he does, he does well. Cunningham is a well-known photographer in the world of fashion but don’t pin that label him either. That’s not what he does. He emphatically says so himself. He says this though he has worked for Vogue, the original Details and currently works for The New York Times. Continue reading →
Tomorrow night on the PBS American Masters series at 9PM (check local listing for exact time and date in your area), the premiere of a full length feature documentary on photographer Dorothea Lange. According to press releases “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightening” will feature “newly discovered interviews and vérité scenes with Lange from her Bay Area home studio, circa 1962-1965, including work on her unprecedented, one-woman career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA.” The film is produced, written and directed by Emmy award winning Dyanna Taylor, the granddaughter of Lange and her second husband Paul Schuster Taylor. Continue reading →
The information highway can and does contain a lot a detours. For researchers it can be a slippery road to travel. In writing this blog, I have done my share of research and have come across much misinformation and even some outright attempts to deceive. You can’t always believe what you read or see.
Richard C. Miller began his career as a photographer when he submitted a photograph of his baby daughter to The Saturday Evening Post and it was not only accepted, but made the cover of the magazine. His met Brett Weston, son of Edward Weston, during the war and they became friends and photographed together. After the war, Miller worked for various magazines and around 1946 photographed a young model named Norma Jean Dougherty, soon to change her named to Marilyn Monroe, selling the photo to TrueRomance magazine. Miller went on to photograph a wide variety of subjects including some Hollywood work in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. During the making of Giant, Miller shot the above photo of James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor in Dallas, relaxing during the making of George Stevens’ epic modern day western. Continue reading →
E.J. Bellocq is best known today for his evocative photographs of the prostitutes of Storyville, the notorious section of New Orleans where prostitution became legal in the late 1800’s and lasted through the early years of the 20th century. Bellocq was a native of New Orleans and began his photographic career, first as an amateur photographer then turning professional, shooting mostly ships and machinery for local companies in the area. However, Bellocq did have a private side to his life few people knew about. He would travel across Basin Street to Storyville where he turned his 8×10 camera on the ladies of the New Orleans night. It is these photographs Bellocq today is best remembered for. In many ways, the portraits at first seem standard portraits of the women of the day except that in many pictures the ladies are nude, though not always. Some of the women seem uncomfortable in the photos, not because they are naked, but more likely because they have no idea how to pose in front of the camera. Yet, others come across as very comfortable, relaxed, posing with an innocent grace. Bellocq was no pretencious “artist,” his work is very informal, almost anti-artistic. They have an old world charm, the women are plump, the clothes almost 19th century. The photographs become even more intriguing for the details they reveal about the interior living conditions, what it looked like inside these “specialty” houses. For example, in one of the photos we surprisingly see college banners (Louisiana, Michigan and Missouri) hanging on a wall. Continue reading →