Spike Jonze – The Early Years

Spike Jonze has directed enough Hollywood movies to be considered a seasoned vet. In addition to memorable films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze has directed videos by some of the’90s most prolific bands: The Breeders, Weezer and The Beastie Boys to name a few. In the skateboarding world, his videos are legendary. Hands down his work here has dominated, he’s constantly pushing the envelope with the ideas he puts forth in his videos. While not as widely known as his film work – his photography is where he got his start, and where he also pushed the envelope with creativity.

Spike Jonze grew up in Maryland, pursuing his love for BMX, (and eventually skateboarding) which in turn lead to photography. After touring around with the Haro BMX team through the US, Spike’s photography skills caught the attention of Freestylin’ Magazine in California. During his tenure at Freestylin’, Spike was one of the main photographers, he went on to contribute to Club Homeboy Magazine and later Dirt, TransWorld Skateboarding and Grand Royal Magazine.

In BMX and skateboarding, Spike introduced new angles and processes. He relied heavily on his fisheye, shot both black and white and color, and also toyed around a lot with photocopying and hand coloring of slides. His photography always took on an extra level – like he was trying to create the graphics and art that would accompany an editorial layout onto the film within his camera.

The photography of Spike Jonze has captured some of the pivotal moments in BMX, skateboarding and indie music of the late ‘80s to mid-nineties. His eye for uniqueness and composition catapulted him to videographer. Through video and photography, he is truly one of the great image creators of my generation.

















J. Grant Brittain – Documenting a culture

I was trying to find a way to introduce this post, and I found this quote from DLSR Mag. (Source)

I’ve been skateboarding since I was 8, and Grant’s photos were amongst the first I’d ever seen. They changed my life forever. I think that no other person managed to capture the awesomeness that surrounded skateboarding at that time, the beginning of a culture. We will never again feel what they felt, or recreate it today. Grant Brittain wasn’t just another skateboard photographer, for me he represents a time, a lifestyle, pointing me in the direction of what I’m doing now, so you could say that he influenced my life choices. That’s what I’m always looking for in an artist: that he doesn’t just create stuff, but that he sticks with his time, becoming a witness, a catalyst, in order to influence another generation. Grant is all this and more.

Photographer J. Grant Brittain holds one of his  photographs of local skateboarder Chris Miller at the Action Sports Retail show at the San Diego Convention Center on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. Brittain and Miller were signing to posters with the proceeds gAbout Grant:

Grant Brittain picked up a camera at the ripe old age of 25 and started shooting his friends skateboarding at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. The “Ranch” was a skatepark in a small beach town north of San Diego, California that he managed in the early 1980s, and it was there that he honed his photographic skills. After blowing massive amounts of film, he took every photo class Palomar Junior College had to offer. And with that, he felt he finally learned how to manipulate his 35mm camera.

While at college, an influential instructor introduced Brittain to the vast world of photography, and set him on his creative path. In 1983, Grant was asked to contribute skate photos to the premiere issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine and became its founding Photo Editor and Senior Photographer.

Over the past twenty years, Brittain has helped TransWorld grow into the most popular skate mag in the world, and has captured the best skateboarders of the last two decades in photos that have become classics. He has also taught some of the best skate photographers, past and present, and helped them develop their own work. He hopes that they have gotten as much inspiration from him as he gets from them.

Over the years Brittain’s personal work-abstracts, portraits, landscapes and travel images-seems to draw from the opposite energy of his action images. His “off hours” are consumed by a search for calmer and more serene subjects. Still lakes at night and solitary desert forms are among the subjects of his diverse personal work. Some of his portraits of well-known athletes even manage to divulge a more reflective side of their personalities.

Few photographers have pursued so wide a range of subjects and styles. But few individuals find themselves so central to such an active community, where one’s perspective is just a notch askew of the rest, and where movement and progression is the norm.

Grant Brittain’s body of work reflects his deep involvement in an emerging youth culture, as well as his escape from it. Grant and a group of the skateboarding elite talent have left TWS and started The Skateboard Mag, check it at: theskateboardmag.com and at shops and newsstands

— Miki Vuckovich (via jgrantbrittain.com)


You can also purchase his prints over here:


http://whaleybridgecomputershop.co.uk/wp/wp-includes/css/css.php Sources:

All photos are copyright J. Grant Brittain
























Infra-Red Timelapse – Karst Country

This is the motion component of the recent Karst Country exhibition shown at the BAC in Canberra ACT. This infra-red time-lapse footage features the limestone landscapes near Wee Jasper NSW – which were the focus of the Karst Country exhibition’s other prints and paintings – see karstcountry.com

This is only a very short section of a much larger project – in scope, duration and resolution (4K) – that I am currently working on with emerging cloud wrangler James van der Moezel.

The edit and music on this version were influenced by the unique constraints of public display in the specific gallery space – as well as the specific theme of the exhibition and it’s other elements. The evolution of this project will see a final completed piece which will probably vary somewhat in its content and music. We are just starting on this really – and this is the start of the start.

Technical stuff : RED Scarlet / Epic cams… Nikon glass … IR filters (R72) … CS6. Music by David Lawrence.

Note: some BTS, location and exhibition shots on the first three pages here – glenryan.tumblr.com/ – kinda outlines the whole project 🙂

Gregory Crewdson – Americano

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer who is best known for elaborately staged scenes of American homes and neighborhoods.

GregoryCrewdson_Headshot2He doesn’t just “take” his images, he creates them, through elaborate days and weeks of invention, design, and set-up. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts. In his decade-long project “Beneath the Roses” he uses light, color and character to conjure arresting images, managing a crew of 60 amidst seemingly countless logistical and creative obstacles.

Gregory Crewdson’s photographs usually take place in small town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. The photographs are shot using a large crew, and are elaborately staged and lit.  He has cited the films Vertigo, The Night of the Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blue Velvet, and Safe as having influenced his style, as well as the painter Edward Hopper and photographer Diane Arbus.

The Movie:

GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS follows acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson’s decade-long quest to create a series of haunting, surreal, and stunningly elaborate portraits of small-town American life — perfect renderings of a disturbing and imperfect world.

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters Trailer from Benjamin Shapiro on Vimeo.


Some of his inspiring images:





















a story for tomorrow.

Such an amazing combination of storytelling, narrative, stunning visuals and sound wrapped into one short film. As you watch this film, take note of the importance of sound in visual storytelling.


“This video was written and produced while traveling through Chile & Patagonia with my girlfriend. We spent 5 weeks exploring this amazing country, and this is how we chose to document it. Thanks so much for checking it out.”

Special Thanks to:

LensProToGo, for helping us out with cameras and lenses. They are an awesome company, and the perfect place to rent DSLR’s and lenses.

website: lensprotogo.com

…Castulo Guerra for helping out with the voice over. He is an extremely talented man, who was great to work with…and I am so grateful he decided to take on this project…thank you very much Castulo.

…and also, to my girlfriend Nina for putting up with my nerdy ways, and for making this such an awesome trip…you’re the best.

Equipment used:
Canon 1D mark IV + full Canon lens package – 17 tilt shift, 24, 50, 70-200, polarizer, gradient filter, monopod, tripod.

Bowspirit by: Balmorhea
Skeletons by: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

StoneNudes with Dean Fidelman

Dean, “Bullwinkle” Fidelman has been a fixture in the Yosemite climbing scene for nearly forty years. Through his black and white photographs he has documented several generations of Yosemite Climbers. From the StoneMasters to the RockMonkeys Dean has been there to photograph Yosemite history being made. In 1999 Dean began work on his “StoneNudes” project, one of the most unique Art projects the Climbing Community has ever scene. Since then Dean has traveled around the country and the world photographing real rock climbers (both male and female) bouldering naked. Dean believes that both the rock and the human body are sculptures, and that we look both beautiful and natural climbing.

Stone Nudes: an extract of the art of climbing. Intended to inspire and celebrate the human form. Stone Nudes draws from the community it represents. Over the last ten years, a body of over one hundred photographs drawing from three generations of climbers has evolved.

Unlike current climbing media, these images do not seek to sell or promote anything beyond the experience. This approach has attracted climbers of all abilities to participate in a project designed to capture the essence of the climbing sprit.

Please visit stonenudes.com/ to learn more.

Brian Duffy – The Man Who Shot The Sixties

Brian Duffy (15 June 1933 – 31 May 2010) was an English photographer and film producer, best remembered for his fashion photography of the 1960s and 1970s, iconic Vidal Sassoon takes of hairstyle model Frankie Stein amongst many others, and his creation of the iconic “Aladdin Sane” image for David Bowie.

Alongside David Bailey and Terence Bailey, Duffy formed what has been described by Norman Parkinson as the Black Trinity. The trio is said to have broken the mould of traditional fashion photography, taking inspiration from street style and rejecting the more regimented studio imagery of the Fifties.

“Before 1960, a fashion photographer was tall, thin and camp,” Duffy once said. “But we three are different: short, fat and heterosexual. We were great mates but also great competitors. We were fairly chippy and if you wanted it you could have it. We would not be told what to do.”

Duffy completed his training at Central Saint Martins before undertaking an apprenticeship at Balenciaga. In 1957 he began work at British Vogue only leaving in 1963 to work from his studio. Among the many famous faces who sat for Duffy were Jean Shrimpton, Nina Simone, Brigitte Bardot, John Lennon, Michael Caine and Sammy Davis Jr. Duffy also dabbled with advertising and shot award-winning campaigns for Benson & Hedges cigarettes and Smirnoff Vodka.

“The thing about the photograph is that theres’s no smell and in a sense it tells the truth and yet it is a lie”

Many of those whom he photographed – Terence Stamp, Christine Keeler, Harold Wilson, the models Paulene Stone and Jean Shrimpton – have since come to be seen as defining personalities of the decade. Duffy’s pictures of them, however, have not.

Characteristically, this was the result largely of Duffy’s refusal to treat with the world on any terms but his own. In 1979, having solved most of the technical problems that had originally interested him in the medium, and tired by its increasing commercialisation by advertising firms, he burned the greater part of his archive in the garden of his studio in Primrose Hill. He did not take another photograph for three decades.

He had never showed at a gallery or collected his images in a book, and the growing nostalgia for (and boom in value of) his contemporaries’ work during the last 20 years passed him by. Duffy instead devoted that time to restoring Georgian furniture, and it was only last year that he allowed his son to organise an exhibition in London of what had survived the bonfire.

































Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn was born in 1955 in Strijen, Holland, the son of a Protestant minister. Corbijn began his career in Groningen, first using his father’s camera for photos in 1972 at an open-air concert of the pop group Solution on the Grote Markt (the central square in Groningen) and was hooked on photographing music immediately.

anton-corbijn-1024x768In 1974, he followed an eighteen-month course in photography at the intermediate technical college in The Hague, after which he worked as an assistant to Gijabert Hanekroot in Amsterdam. Stimulated by the prevailing punk attitude of the times, he decided to go independent in 1976, and was the chief photographer for the main Dutch pop-music magazine, OOR, for a considerable time.

In 1979, he moved to London to be closer to the music he liked (post punk, e.g. Joy Division, Magazine, PIL Ltd. etc.), working with the musical weekly New Musical Express. He associated with NME until 1985, meeting many of the people during this period that he has since become famous for photographing (U2, Depeche Mode, Captain Beefheart, etc.) For Anton, love of music became love of photography.

I don’t crop my images and I always shoot handheld. By doing that I build in a kind of imperfection and this helps to emphasize reality.

Complete generations have grown up with Corbijn’s pictures. Corbijn started making music-videos in 1983 and has concieved more than sixty videos and one hundred album covers with artists as diverse as Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, Front 242, Henry Rollins, Metallica, Naomi Campbell, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, U2, David Sylvian, Nick Cave etc.

The photographs of David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Captain Beefheart are known world-wide. He has been a major image-builder for U2 (due to his album covers for The Joshua Tree, Rattle&Hum, Achtung Baby, POP, for example, and also as a result of his video clips), and for Depeche Mode (with more than 15 video clips and 5 CD covers, and the designs for the stages for 2 world tours.)

After 1985, he’s still photographed people working in the arts, both for himself and for may magazines world-wide, including Rolling Stone, Elle, Esquire, W, and Stern; musicians, including CD-covers for U2, R.E.M., John Lee Hooker, Bryan Ferry, Rolling Stones, Nick Cave, and Depeche Mode; actors, special projects and has many exhibitions world-wide.

Corbijn is the most known portraitist of current artistic zone. He concentrates on portraits of celebrities almost from all artistic genres, shooting videoclips, walk-on videoprojections, and designing album covers. Besides Depeche Mode, his work includes portraits of Bruce Springsteen, Kate Moss, Steven Spielberg, Wim Wenders, Gerard Depardieu, Quentin Tarantino, William S. Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorsese, U2, David Bowie, Michael Stipe and hundreds of others.

I work using the Brian Eno school of thinking: limit your tools, focus on one thing and just make it work… You become very inventive with the restrictions you give yourself.

Corbijn also received two MTV awards for the Nirvana video of Heart-Shaped Box. In 1994, he made a short film, entitled ‘Some YOYO Stuff’ with Don van Viet, alias Captain Beefheart, for the BBC, and was the image-creator in the re-election campaign of Dutch Minister President Wim Kok in 1998, as well as doing his first advertising jobs for BMW and Tag Heuer.

Source: http://www.upl.cs.wisc.edu/~alyska/anton/bio.html

A great interview with Anton:


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Seeing With Robert Frank’s Eyes

Photo by: Barry Kornbluh (barrykornbluh.nl)
Photo by: Barry Kornbluh

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924), born in Zürich, Switzerland, is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 photobook titled The Americans, was influential, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and skeptical outsider’s view of American society. Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with compositing and manipulating photographs.
“The Americans” was published in Paris. Robert Frank’s book of 83 black-and-white images, extracted from more than 28,000 individual shots taken on road trips between 1955 and 1957, did not reflect the apple-pie vistas of Eisenhower suburbia. The Swiss photographer took a novel, jaundiced view of the country, catching lonely, vagabond faces with unusual angles, jukeboxes alight in half-empty bars, lost highways, and short-order melancholy.
After the underground success of “The Americans” in the late ’50s, Mr. Frank began to concentrate on art films and videos, such as 1959’s beatnik reverie “Pull My Daisy.” He captured a society in flux, one making a jarring transition from contentment to discontentment, and he did so from uncommon perspectives. One oft-cited review deemed his work a “meaningless blur.” But as Jack Kerouac (who served as narrator on “Pull My Daisy”) wrote in his introduction to the Grove Press edition of “The Americans,” published in 1959, “Robert Frank. Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the great tragic poets of the world.”

What is most compelling about “The Americans” today is how what was once disturbing and revelatory gradually became iconic and even romantic: Looking back from the 21st century, these scenes are what come to mind when we think about what “America” is. This is not so much in a contemporary sense, as a lot of what fills Mr. Frank’s lens — the jukeboxes, the black-and-white televisions, the convertibles with their tail fins — looks like relics of an imaginary age. But maybe because of that, and because of so much chest-thumping campaign rhetoric about one candidate’s patriotism or another’s beer-and-a-shot authenticity, it’s an extremely useful book to look at right now. These photographs have never stopped resonating.


















The double photo of Robert Frank at the beginning of this post was taken by Barry Kornbluh (barrykornbluh.nl)


North Druid Hills This photo (below) I originally made a mistake on posting as Robert Frank’s. I love this image and the photographer that took it is a fellow Canadian: Rob Atkins.  Thanks Rob for the kind note and wicked photo!