Photographer Jeanloup Sieff (1933-2000)

jeanloup_sieffBorn in Paris to Polish parents Jeanloup Sieff (1933 – 2000) began shooting fashion photography in 1956 and joined the Magnum Agency in 1958, which enabled him to travel extensively. Settling in New York for much of the sixties he worked for Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Elle, photographing celebrities such as Jane Birkin, Yves Saint-Laurent, Rudolf Nureyev and Alfred Hitchcock amongst others. Sieff won numerous prizes including the Prix Niepce, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992, and his work is housed in many private and international collections.

Sieff is heralded as one of the great international photographic talents of the last half-century and has left an undeniable imprint on his generation. Prolific in many fields, the variety of his imagery highlights his broad artistry, ranging from fashion, nudes, landscape and portraiture.

With great tenacity, Sieff pursued a personal and highly effective signature style, soaked in playful imagination with a touch of irony. Seldom working in colour he favoured the discipline of black and white, often using to his advantage the spatial distortion of wide-angle lenses, the dramatic potential of shadow and exploitation of tone.

“I have always maintained that there is no such thing as art. There are only artists, producing things that give them pleasure, doing so under some compulsion, perhaps even finding the process painful, but deriving a masochistic joy from it!”, Jeanloup Sieff.






























Remembering Photographer Saul Leiter

Remembering Saul Leiter 1923-2013

Saul-LeiterA self-taught photographer, Leiter undertook his artistic education by spending every summer in the library of the University of Pittsburgh and visiting exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He devoted himself primarily to painting and it is thanks to the abstract expressionist painter Richard Poussette-Dart that he began to take a serious interest in photography. In 1947, he discovered ‘street photography’ by visiting the exhibition of Henri Cartier-Bresson at MoMA and at the same time became the owner of a Leica. He photographed the streets of New York in black and white and in the following year became interested in colour. In 1953, Saul Leiter opened a photographic studio on Bleecker Street and has worked for thirty years for the most prestigious magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Elle and British Vogue. (source)

“Leiter was perhaps the most interesting of the fifties color photographers in his use of form. (Teju Cole – New Yorker)”

“What is particularly interesting about Leiter’s colour (and many of his b/w) photographs is his way of seeing, his way of working with reflections and windows, his layering of information. Many of those photographs are very complex even though they look simple at first sight (this could be a good criterion for what makes a good photograph). Even if one was not very interested in the whole debate about the history of colour (which I’d certainly understand), I don’t think one can that easily pass by the opportunity to experience this particular way of seeing. “ (source – book review by Joerg Colberg)






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One of the most renowned photographers of the interwar period, Brassaï’s reputation rests on contributions to both commercial and avant-garde photography. His long-time friend, the author Henry Miller, nicknamed him “The Eye of Paris” for his devotion to the city, and he was close to many of its artists. His enduring relationship with Picasso in particular yielded many famous portraits of the artist, as well as important books. His first photo-book, published in 1933 and entitled Paris de nuit (published in English as Paris After Dark), remains the most famous exploration of the city’s hidden underbelly, and is considered a classic of early street photography. His series of photo-books of Paris graffiti have also been hugely influential.

brassai-paris-1983-by-michael-somoroffBorn Gyula Halász, in the Transylvanian town of Brassó, he was trained as a painter in Budapest, and then in Berlin. He moved to Paris in 1924 and supported himself as a journalist, writing for publications throughout Europe and the United States (it was in Paris that he changed his name to Brassaï, meaning “from Brassó”). He only turned to photography to document his articles but eventually he became enchanted with the medium. At night he would venture out to capture the city’s deserted streets, its shadowed monuments, and those who only emerged after dark – prostitutes, street cleaners, and rag pickers – many of whom he captured in candid photographs. From 1943-45, when working as a photographer was difficult due to the German occupation, Picasso encouraged him to return to drawing, and later sculpture. He was also an accomplished writer and painter. But Brassaï’s career as a photographer resumed after the war and continued through the late 1960s; it includes work for periodicals including Harper’s Bazaar, Picture Post, and Surrealist magazines such as Verve and Minotaur. He is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

Brassaï was the subject of several major exhibitions during his lifetime, and recent retrospectives have included “Brassaï: The Soul of Paris,” at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2000 (toured to the Hayward Gallery, London); and “Brassaï: The Eye of Paris,” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1998 (toured to J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Gallery of art, Washington, D.C.). His publications include Le Paris secret des années 30 (1976); Conversations avec Picasso (1964); and, co-authored with Picasso, Graffiti (1960). He was the recipient of several major awards, including the Gold Medal for Photography at the Venice Biennale (1957), the first Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1978), the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (1974), and the Chevalier de l’Order de la Legion d’honneur (1976). His film, Tant qu’il aura des bêtes won Most Original Film at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.











Eve Arnold

Eve Arnold was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Russian immigrant parents. She began photographing in 1946, while working at a photo-finishing plant in New York City, and then studied photography in 1948 with Alexei Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research in New York.

Arnold first became associated with Magnum Photos in 1951, and became a full member in 1957. She was based in the US during the 1950s but went to England in 1962 to put her son through school; except for a six-year interval when she worked in the US and China, she lived in the UK for the rest of her life.

Her time in China led to her first major solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 1980, where she showed the resulting images. In the same year, she received the National Book Award for In China and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers.

“If a photographer cares about the people before the lens and is compassionate, much is given. It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.

In later years she received many other honours and awards. In 1995 she was made fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and elected Master Photographer – the world’s most prestigious photographic honour – by New York’s International Center of Photography. In 1996 she received the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award for In Retrospect, and the following year she was granted honorary degrees by the University of St Andrews, Staffordshire University, and the American International University in London; she was also appointed to the advisory committee of the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford, UK. She has had twelve books published.

Eve passed away in January of 2012.


A little celebration of her work:













Phil Stern

Born in Philadelphia in 1919, Phil Stern quickly found the American dream and his calling at the young age of 12 when he received a promotional Kodak box brownie camera, which changed his life forever.

Immediately hooked on photography, Stern worked as an apprentice in a New York City photo studio lab where he learned the tools of the trade and was soon hired by “Friday” magazine and “The Police Gazette” to cover news features, before being sent to Hollywood where he secured freelance assignments to shoot images for “Life,” “Look,” “Colliers” and other popular magazines.

In 1942, during World War II, Stern enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the ranks of “Darbyʼs Rangers,” a much- heralded fighting unit. Stern spent two years serving as a combat photographer, documenting the harsh and brutal battles in North Africa and then the invasion of Sicily. After being wounded at the Battle of El Guettar, he went on to be staff photographer for the Army newspaper, “Stars and Stripes.”

Stern returned to Hollywood with a Purple Heart, and quickly re-established himself in the photo world with assignments for “Life” and “Look” magazines, which were becoming more and more focused on Hollywood personalities. Stern became a trusted source and still cameraman on numerous feature films including “West Side Story,” “Judgment at Nuremburg,” “Guys And Dolls,” and more. At the same time, he worked for jazz label legend Norman Granz, photographing album covers for Verve, Pablo and Reprise record labels.

A golden-era industry insider, Sternʼs access to the greatest legends of the time allowed him to create indelible portraits of some of the most celebrated icons of the 20th century including James Dean, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, JFK, Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Lester Young, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Ray Charles, among many others. Frank Sinatra was comfortable with Stern and liked his work, and as such gave him access, which in Sternʼs words “is the motherʼs milk of a freelancer.”

I call him the Cartier-Bresson or Robert Frank of Hollywood. He wouldn’t allow the orchestrated P.R. photograph. He made authentically real photographs, and in the context of Hollywood, to make a real picture is odd.

– Los Angles photography gallery owner, David Fahey

In 1961, Stern was tapped by Sinatra to be his photographer at JFKʼs Presidential Inauguration, with the assignment of creating a unique commemorative photo book for the select group of Sinatraʼs hand picked performers. Stern documented this historic event, capturing the intimacy of the people, a street-side view of the Pennsylvania Motorcade, a front row center view of JFKʼs acceptance speech as the newest U.S. President, along with behind-the-scenes, backstage activities of stars and performers in attendance at the Gala celebration, as well as at the intimate “thank you” party given by JFK and Sinatra for the performers.

As one of Hollywoodʼs most celebrated photographers, Stern chronicled the fabric of American entertainment during his more than 60-year career, with iconic images of celebrities, musicians, politicians and historical events. Vanity Fair editor David Friend describes Stern as the “chronicler of cool.” His photo from Sam Goldwynʼs office window of Marilyn Monroe is the only image in existence where you can see evidence of her obvious pregnancy. His whimsical sweater series with James Dean were the result of a nearly fatal ʻmeetingʼ when Sternʼs car narrowly missed Deanʼs motorcycle as Dean ran a red light, after which the two became instant friends and shot a series of entertaining photos together.

In 1993, he released a hardcopy book entitled “Phil Sternʼs Hollywood,” featuring ninety black-and-white photographs showcasing his work from the 1940s through the 1970s. In 2003, he released “Phil Stern: A Lifeʼs Work,” which incorporated his entire body of work, including never-before-seen photographs of the greatest figures and times of the American twentieth century. He was awarded the “Outstanding Achievement in Still Photography for Motion Pictures” Lucie Award in 2003, the Sony World Photography Legacy Award in 2008 and the Beverly Hills Film Festival Living Legends Award, also in 2008. As well, he has received several certificates of appreciation from the city of Los Angeles.









009-photographer-phil-stern Continue reading Phil Stern

The Man in the Crowd: The Uneasy Streets of Garry Winogrand

Most people who walk through a city ignore it – or, more precisely, ignore the other people in it. Garry Winogrand did the absolute opposite: he spent most of his walking life hunting down his fellow citizens, watching, looking, and photographing: thousands upon thousands of photographs. He also made pictures at museum openings, at the zoo, at airports and rodeos, but it was the streets of Manhatten which provided the central metaphor of his work.

Winogrand’s photography defines an American decade, the 1960s, in a way comparable to Robert Frank in the 1950s and Walker Evans in the 1930s. Winogrand himself – large, energetic, voyeuristic, obsessively curious about the world around him – represents, for many, the archetypal street photographer. The formal turbulence of his images with their dynamic tilted viewpoints, their grainy immediacy, their frenetic crowds and their temporarily isolated strangers, matches the political turbulence of the Vietnam years and provides a defining portrait of a society caught unawares.

I never shoot without using the viewfinder—Oh, yes, there’ll be a few times,—I may have to hold the camera up over my head because for just physical reasons, but very rarely does that ever work.

Winogrand ‘s work synthesizes the documentary and photojournalist traditions. Influenced by Robert Frank’s The Americans, he employed a wide angle lens on a handheld camera, and shot from an intimate distance. This enabled him to incorporate more of his subjects, and gave his images an unfamiliar, compositional complexity. He took shots, he said, “to see how things would look as photographs”. The medium of still photography he described as “the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space”.


I also found this great post, worth checking out.
10 Things Garry Winogrand Can Teach You About Street Photography


















Bettina Rheims

Since the early 1980s, Bettina Rheims has become one of the most internationally respected contemporary photographers. Through her many books and exhibitions of her work she is renowned throughout Europe, the USA, Asia and Australia. Rheims discovered her love of photography after working from the other side of the lens as a model, and later as a journalist and an art dealer.

lg_512f9a2e-630c-4da2-a30c-5d860aa613dbIn 1981 her first exhibition featuring strip-tease artists and acrobats appeared at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by the success of her first show, Rheims produced a series of images of stuffed animals which were also exhibited in Paris and later in New York.
Her powerful portraits of women taken from the 1989 monograph, Female Trouble, were exhibited in Germany and Japan; Rheims then turned the camera on androgynous teenagers. The portraits titled Modern Lovers (1990), were exhibited in France, England and the USA.

Rheims’ collaboration on several books with famed writer Serge Bramly has also brought her further international recognition. Chambre Close (1992) – featuring intimate portraits of women with prose written by Bramly became a best seller and is regularly re-edited.
In 1999 her book I.N.R.I., the life of Jesus Christ is retraced using portraits of young people, including women, in Biblical scenes. The book was another collaboration with Serge Bramly, and was published simultaneously in several countries including the USA, Japan, Germany and France – where it sparked outrage and provoked calls for an immediate ban. Images from I.N.R.I. are still being exhibited in various museums throughout Europe. In 2000 Rheims published X’Mas. Also seen as controversial, the book contains portraits of teenage girls posing nude for the first time.

In 2003 after spending six months in Shanghai, Rheims again worked with Bramly on a book of the same name. The fast-paced and ever-evolving life of the city is captured in portraits of the women from all walks of life who live and work there.

More Trouble – A retrospective of Rheims’ photographs was published in 2004 and focused on the previous ten years of her work, mostly her portraits of famous women.
In addition to the book there were also a major exhibitions of her work in Helsinki, Oslo, Vienna, Düsseldorf and Brussels.
Rheims continues to shoot beautiful photographs and to publish books. Additionally she has worked on editorials for magazines such as Elle, L’Officiel, Citizen K, Tatler, 10 magazine and Marie Claire. She has also shot advertising campaigns for Chanel, Lancôme, Diane Von Furstenberg, Bebe and Well.

To view additional work by Bettina, click below:





















Edward Steichen

11586029_1_xAs chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair, Edward Steichen profoundly shaped the look of celebrity and fashion photography in the 1920s and ’30s. He immortalized leading writers, artists, actors,dancers and politicians in striking portraits. Fashion photography was revolutionized when he began depicting the creations of all the great designers of the age, including Poiret, Chanel, Lelong, Lanvin, Patou and Schiaparelli.

Edward Steichen became interested in photography at age sixteen. Influenced by the atmosphere of moonlight that came to characterize his early Pictorialist photographs, he also painted. Upon turning twenty-one, he left for Europe by way of New York, meeting Alfred Stieglitz, who purchased three of his photographs. On returning, Steichen set up a studio specializing in portraiture at 291 Fifth Avenue, a space that later became part of “291,” Stieglitz’s celebrated Photo-Secessionist gallery. Steichen became a founding member of the Photo-Secession group in 1903. In 1923 Steichen went to work for the Condé Nast publications Vanity Fair and Vogue , where he photographed celebrities and fashion. From this he received advertising commissions; he once also made photographic designs for silk fabric. Steichen closed his New York studio in 1938 and embarked upon a new, more spontaneous photographic phase. During World War II he joined the Navy to head up a unit of photographers. Steichen was the first curator of photographs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he curated the famous “Family of Man” exhibition in 1953.

“The camera is a witness of objects, places, and events…. The technical process simply serves as a vehicle of transcription and not as the art.”
-Edward Steichen


















Vincent Price

Vincent Price was among the movies’ greatest villains as well as one of the horror genre’s most beloved and enduring stars.

In the small pantheon of actors closely identified with the horror film, Vincent Price holds a prominent position. Heretofore a reliable character actor of the studio era, in the late 1950s Price became a major star in exploitation horror films directed by William Castle and Roger Corman.

I would call this post inspiration for an upcoming personal shoot.