The Podcasts I Am Listening to This Fall

On a recent flight I started to catch up with two of my favourite podcasts and discovered another one, too, in the process, so here are the three podcasts (I believe in quality, not quantity) I am planning to keep listening to this fall.
 
The Podcasts to listen to this fall
 
I have been a long-time fan of Racquet magazine, “a journal that celebrates the art, ideas, style and culture that surround tennis”. That’s exactly what I love about tennis, the whole picture, not just the game. And Racquet understands and celebrates that. Beautifully. And now they have their own podcast, hosted by Rennae Stubbs. She’s had some first-rate guests so far, from Kim Clijsters to Judy Murray, but my absolute favourite has been the Chris Evert episode. I love this woman. In a sea of feminism-oriented media I wholeheartedly disapprove of, 18-time Grand Slam winner and mother of three boys Chris Evert gave the soundest piece of advice I have been hearing in a very long time from a public figure: “I feel there is so much emphasis on women and little girls, but let us also add to that men and little boys and mothers who are bringing up little boys, let’s help them out a little bit.” As a mother of a little boy, I want to say: Thank you, Chris.

We seem to forget that we need to raise independent, self-confident boys, too, not only girls. Boys struggle, too. They are vulnerable, too. They are shy, too. They can be introverts, too. They need encouragement, too. They must be taught, too, that there are no two separate worlds, men and women, that we must love and respect each other. That rules are the same, for boys and girls, for men and women, and that whether you are Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, you must follow the rules (please, do not even get me started on the Serena Williams moment at the US Open – what a crass display of lack of fair play and sportsmanship from both Williams and the American public). Chris, once again, thank you for your sportsmanship, grace, elegance, objectivity and genuineness.
 
The Racquet magazine podcast
 
I very much loved the episode with Judy Murray, too, in which she gives a very straight-forward insight into the world of tennis, advising parents to be prepared for everything the sport demands from their children. She also talks about her admirable efforts in educating a nation (Scotland) of the benefits of sports and an active life (and making tennis more accessible to more people), and also her pertinent and honest thoughts on why there are not more women tennis coaches – I am sure many hasty opinions do not take into consideration that women tennis players prefer to train with men coaches because they see it as a way to improve themselves and become stronger players. I have never played tennis professionally, but I have nonetheless been playing it since I was little and always with boys and later men for that same reason, to better my game. To this day, I have never played once with a girl or woman, and the boys and men I have played with have never complained or treated me as a weaker opponent. What I want to say is that I am sick and tired of this feminist viciousness based on nothing but social networks outrage and diatribe.
 
Fresh Air podcast with Terry Gross
 
Not watching tv (I haven’t for years) has all sorts of benefits I can not praise enough. Besides affording me the time to get things done I would otherwise not be able to squeeze into a day’s schedule and helping my mind stay sane (I believe that 90% of television media is toxic), it has been partly responsible for my discovering Terry Gross’ Fresh Air. I do want to be in the know about the contemporary issues, arts and everything in between, and although I still read the written press, my go-to program remains Terry Gross’ podcast. She is a virtuoso with exceptional range. She interviews everyone from all different industries and backgrounds, from politics to cinema, and does it with such ease and diligence and candour and human touch that there really aren’t other more consistent interviews available on the medium. I have recently started to search the archive of the program and listened to the episode with Matthew Walker, neuroscientist, professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at Berkeley University, and author of the book Why We Sleep, which I am currently reading. I will soon talk about it on Classiq, but, for now, let me just say that it is a book that everyone should read, and that, until you do that, you should listen to Terry’s interview with the author mentioned above.
 
Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin
 
I have previously heard about Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing, but I haven’t given it a listen until recently. And I couldn’t have started with anyone else but Patti Smith, one of my favourite artists and writers – she never wanted to be a musician, she wanted to be a poet and writer (“Books were my salvation”, she says about the magical worlds she found when reading hundreds of books in her childhood), she tells Baldwin, and what a writer she has become. Just Kids and especially M Train are two of the books I’ve become most fond of in recent years, and Devotion and Woolgathering are waiting on my bookshelf. But what I especially loved about the podcast is that I learned new things about Patti or that she shed new light on certain aspects of her life. “I wasn’t put on the planet to climb the ladder of success, I was put here to do some kind of work.” Then, at a question from the audience asking her about the women who have inspired her, Patti, who had just mentioned Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Gregory Corso as her mentors, went on to enumerate a few women, saying that she is truly inspired by many others, but then added: “I love being a girl, but I am partial to fellas.” And that is another thought I would love to be voiced more often in the times we are living. She ended the conversation with a few words about being an artist, naming hardwork and sacrificing happily as most important to the pursuit of being a true artist. “Being a real artist has nothing to do with fame and fortune.”

Another great Here’s The Thing episode was with Viggo Mortensen. A great actor with a low-key, no-star persona, who loves books and who, in 1999, founded his own publishing house, Perceval Press, which publishes indie books (in small-run prints) just for the sheer love of books. What’s not to love about the man? I am now on the mission to listen to as many episodes as possible as soon as possible. Alec is a very direct and lighthearted host and his conversations have that unpredictable factor that makes them genuine and sincere. And that’s one of the best things about his interviews with actors, he just shows us that Hollywood people are “just like everyone else”, as photographer Laura Wilson recently said in my talk with her. His guest range is however much wider than that, from artists to policy makers and performers, and Baldwin sets out “to hear their stories, what inspires their creations, what decisions changed their careers, and what relationships influenced their work.”

Posted by classiq in Crafts & Culture | | Leave a comment

Ready for Autumn: Best Windbreakers in Film

Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry - Best windbreakers in film

Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” (1971) | Warner Brothers, The Malpaso Company

 
As the leaves begin to go earthward and our evenings tend to become more and more homebound, we are slowly regaining our sense of style. Yesterday was the first official day of autumn and it’s time we acknowledged that we must wave summer farewell and start reaching for light layers of clothes, especially on the early crisp mornings. Ah, these crisp early autumn mornings… It just shows you that each season has its own beauty and things to be thankful for. And one of the best things about fall is the way it sharpens your sense of style. I mean, as soon as September 1st rolled in, sandals and shorts became a definite no-no even on those 30-degree C days. And you bet I can not wait to break in one of my favourite menswear-inspired piece, the windbreaker, which I literally stole from my husband, convincing him it was not fair for him to own both a leather bomber jacket and a classic windbreaker, especially that both items look just as good on women as they do on men. But let’s stick to the men for now: here’s an autumnal round-up of the men who have worn this classic jacket best.
 
James Dean in Rebel without a Cause - Best windbreakers in film

Janes Dean in “Rebel without a Cause” (1955) | Warner Brothers

 
James Dean in A Rebel without a Cause (1955)

The windbreaker – also known as a blouson, golf jacket or Harrington (Ryan O’Neal wore a G9 jacket in the TV Series Peyton Place and his character name was Rodney Harrington, hence the jacket’s informal moniker) – owes its appeal in large part to its functionality: it’s lightweight but showerproof. Its style (waist length with its trademark Fraser clan tartan lining, button-fastened slash pockets, zipper that goes up the front to an extended tab on the collar) dates back to 1937, to a garment factory in Manchester, England, where the first G9 blouson under the Baracuta brand name was made. The public service utility garment as well as the official attire of the presidents of the United States to wear on Air Force One, the windbreaker became a menswear staple in the second half of the twentieth century as it was adopted as part of the 1950s teenage uniform and went on to achieve cult status among Ivy Leaguers and Mods alike – everyone from John F. Kennedy to The Clash was fan of the jacket. But nobody contributed to sealing its legendary status more than Hollywood.

“When you first see Jimmy in his red jacket against his black Merc, it’s not just a pose. It’s a warning, it’s a sign,” director Nicholas Ray said about James Dean’s red windbreaker. Ray was a director who paid great importance to colour in his films and the colour red was a conscious decision. For Rebel, he called in a colour consultant and they looked for ideas in old copies of Life magazine. He chose to use primary colours in vivid blocks, creating symbolism through colour and costume. Costume designer Moss Mabry created three copies of the jacket. “Even though it looked simple, it wasn’t,” Mabry said. “The pockets were in just the right place; the collar was just the right size.”

The entire look became iconic – Dean wore the windbreaker almost undone but not quite, allowing that other 1950s youth essential, the t-shirt, to show, and pairing them both with the most democratic piece of all, the washed Lee jeans. It may have been a look in tune with the 1950s – Moss Mabry spent several days at Los Angeles high schools, observing the clothes and styles of teenagers and Nicholas Ray also showed him a picture from Life of a group of college students for inspiration – but it hasn’t aged one bit since. However, it was not just the look, it was something universal in what James Dean transmitted on screen, through looks, attitude and expression, and I believe therein lies his ongoing image as a hero, as an ideal.
 

Steve McQueen in The Hunter 1980 - best windbreakers in film

Steve McQueen in “The Hunter” (1980) | Rastar Pictures

 
Steve McQueen in The Hunter (1980)

The Hunter was Steve McQueen’s final film. Ralph “Papa” Thorson (McQueen) is a modern-day bounty hunter who goes after and captures criminals who have skipped on their bail to bring them back for a 20% of the reward to his bail bondsman employer. A running joke used throughout the film was that Thorson was a bad car driver. But there’s no joke about his dressing style. It’s right up there, where McQueen has always been, among the paragons of men’s style. The jacket McQueen wears in the film is not exactly a windbreaker, but a flight jacket (McQueen, however, often sported a traditional G9 Baracuta blouson off-screen).

The MA-1 nylon flight jacket, as it was officially named, was created specifically for the United States military in the 1950s and its functionality inevitably found a life in civilian service. It came in the standard air force sage green or army olive green, in light, windproof nylon, with chest tabs and sleeve pocket. Steve’s jacket has orange lining (known as Indian or rescue orange), a revision introduced in 1963 to the model (it previously had a sage-green lining), as the jacket was reversible and downed pilots wore their jackets bright side out to be more visible to search and rescue parties. This is arguably the most iconic of all versions of the MA-1, which, thanks to no small degree to Hollywood’s stars like McQueen, has become a classic.
 
Paul Newman in Winning 1969

Paul Newman, Cary Grant and Joanne Woodward on the set of “Winning” (1969) | Universal Pictures, The Newman-Foreman Company

 
Paul Newman in Winning (1969)

In Winning, Paul Newman plays Frank Capua, a rising race car driver who aspires to win the Indianapolis 500. Newman was a winning race driver in real life, too. He loved fast cars, but he arduously avoided the movie star image of expensive sports cars, although his various convertible Beetles were rumored to be equipped with Porsche engines. There is not much to be unforgettable about the drearily predictable Winning, but its leading man’s screen style is not one of those things. Maybe because by now Paul Newman had transcended the characters he played. You almost feel that you are expecting to watch Paul Newman, the man, on screen, especially with Joanne Woodward by his side. And we would expect to see Newman cladded in Ivy League style, as shown here, of which he was one of its most famous adherents. Suede windbreaker, striped sweater, chinos and driving shoes. It doesn’t get any more classic preppy than this.
 
Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry - Best windbreakers in film

Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” (1971) | Warner Brothers, The Malpaso Company

 
Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry (1971)

Mr. Clint Eastwood, I feel I have been unjust to you. I have written about your films a few times, but not about your screen style. It’s time I undid that wrong and put you right up there with all the great male role models men and women alike pour over for style inspiration. And from a style perspective, Dirty Harry was Clint’s defining film. Admitedly, if we have to compare San Francisco cop style in movies, Eastwood’s Callahan has quite some competition from Steve McQueen in Bullitt. But while Bullitt prefers a more casual style, Callahan smartens up his look by wearing his herringbone tweed jacket with a burgundy sweater vest and burgundy/navy Guards tie, slim cut charcoal flannel trousers and his Ray-Ban Baloramas – his choice of sunglasses is in fact very suggestive for his character’s style; I love it how reactionary this choice of shades is, taking the regular idea of “cop” glasses and reinventing it altogether. His aforementioned prep school outfit looks new on him, too, while remaining practical and comfortable. And that’s because Clint carries it with such confidence and all-American cool.

But I would like to pause a little on the brown windbreaker he wears in this production shot above. That’s an American look, too, and he does such a great job again at smartening up an otherwise very casual look, by pairing the brown jacket with black jeans. It just works on him. And I love the colour brown. Why don’t men wear it more often?
 
Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace - Best windbreakers in film

Daniel Craig in “Quantum of Solace” (2007) | MGM, Columbia Pictures, Eon Productions

 
Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace (2008)

I have said it before and I will say it again. Daniel Craig makes a damn good modern-day James Bond. I am not debating who the best Bond is. I don’t know whether anyone will ever equal Sean Connery’s popularity, charisma and appeal as James Bond, and I’ve always been partial to Timothy Dalton’s 007. But Casino Royale is my all-time favourite Bond movie. Not only was it a very good film in its own right, but it was new, a new type of Bond film, with a story anchored in reality, stearing away from many James Bond movie rituals, starring my favourite Bond girl ever, Eva Green, and a 007 who was darker, sharper, edgier and colder, but also more human than the earlier Bonds (although Timothy Dalton was truly the first to impersonate a tougher, darker, more serious, but also more vulnerable Bond). But it was in Casino Royale where we really got to see Bond inventing himself.

James Bond’s style has gone through some changes, too, since Daniel Craig took over. That is not to say that, in the days of Sean Connery, Bond’s wardrobe was the exclusive domain of tailored suits. It was not. But the Bond of the 2000s wears jeans for the very first time in Quantum of Solace (2008). Along with them, a jacket inspired by Baracuta’s G9 Harrington nylon jacket, designed by Tom Ford, who created most of Craig’s Quantum of Solace wardrobe. On Daniel Craig, classic and modern merge perfectly.
 
sources: The Ivy Look: An Illustrated Pocket Guide, by Graham Marsh and J.P. Gaul / Icons of Men’s Style, by Josh Sims / Classic Hollywood Style, by Caroline Young / “James Dean Remembered” documentary

Posted by classiq in Film, Style in film | | Leave a comment

Three Classic Films Get New Posters

Plein soleil movie poster - Classiq Shop 
Autumn is ripe with new beginnings, so on the brim of the new season, I am happy to present you an exclusive Classiq collaboration, with illustrator Irina Perju. And it’s movie posters, no less! Need I say more? I would love to say that one of the aims of this collaboration is to attract a new, young audience for classic films and to make classic cinema more accessible to a wider public. And I sincerely hope it does. But I guess it is first and foremost another way to funnel my lifelong passion for cinema. It truly is a celebration of classic films and storytelling that, paired with Irina’s beautiful artwork and end product, wants to bring a new, tangible appreciation for artistic expression and for the world of film.

You can find all the details about the posters on shop.classiq.me, where they are exclusively sold. What I want to point out here though is that the colours of the poster prints you will receive in the mail are very faithful to the colours you see in the unframed illustrations (with the specification that colours may vary slightly from one screen to another), not in the photos of the framed posters.
 
Plein soleil (1960) movie poster - Classiq Shop
 
The first adaptation after Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, Plein soleil (1960) is a visually beautiful film – Highsmith described it as “very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect” – and its style reminds me of Alfred Hitchcok’s works. Director René Clément was a technician himself, who had trained as an architect and made his debut in cinema as a cameraman. In fact, he was named the French Alfred Hitchcock after he made this film. Of course, part of the film’s dazzlingly beautiful quality is Alain Delon in the role of Tom Ripley. With his arresting good looks and impeccable style, Delon makes a sinister Ripley, of a darting intelligence and of few words, a mixture of ravishing beauty and inhumanity. Henri Decaë’s exquisite cinematography and the sun-drenched mise-en-scène (the picture was shot entirely on location, in Rome, Naples and the vicinity islands) sharply contrasts the themes of envy, deceit and murder. What I have found extremely fascinating about this film is that it is an unusual noir: all is bright and in the open, inviting the viewer in – plein soleil.
 
A Place in the Sun film poster - Classiq Shop
 
Noir merges with romantic drama in George Stevens’ classic A Place in the Sun (1951). George Eastman (Montgomery Clift) travels west from Chicago, chasing a dream and the promise of a new life and self. Pursuing happiness and wealth, in that order, he makes bad choices, which will seal his faith. George finds comfort in a poor girl (Shelley Winters), but he finds love in wealthy Angela (Elizabeth Taylor). And the mastery of this film lies in the way the director uses two contrasting styles to show Clift’s conflicting feelings. When George Eastman is with Angela, Stevens bathes him in light. The scenes with the two of them are sensual and intimate, in soft focus and close-up, it’s like they are the only two people left on the face of the Earth. He is tender and vulnerable and he comes to life around Angela. The sequences with his girlfriend, Alice (Shelley Winters), and later in the courtroom, are marked by a suffocating bleakness, filmed in chiaroscuro lighting, in pure noir style. His expressions are opaque and it’s always dark around the two of them, which suggests the threat to George’s desire for “his place in the sun”.
 
L'Avventura film poster - Classiq Shop
 
L’Avventura (1960) was the first film from Michelangelo Antonioni’s trilogy that would go on to include La notte (1961) and L’eclisse (1962). Visually speaking, it’s a hauntingly beautiful picture, thanks to Aldo Scavarda’s cinematography. On any level, it is a groundbreaking film, stark and pure, advancing the language of cinema. Antonioni often turned away close readings of his films, encouraging an instinctual approach to viewing similar to that which he claimed he used while filming. Surpassing any conventional denouement and offering an on-going theme of reflection, L’Avventura, with its acerbic sensibility, expresses a modern alienation that has endured only too well, just like the film. Questions remain unanswered, the characters’ reasonings are left unexplained, the story does not quite resolve itself, the mystery remains – just like life.
 
L'Avventura (1960) movie poster

Posted by classiq in Crafts & Culture, Film | | 2 Comments

Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Harry Dean Stanton by Laura Wilson

Harry Dean Stanton on the set of “The Wendell Baker Story”, Circleville, Texas, 2003 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
She always carries her camera with her. Be it in the wide-open spaces of the great American West or on a movie set, whether capturing the beauty and fragility of the vast American land, the bleak reality of the Indian reservations, a pioneering cattleman on a Texas ranch, or showcasing an actor in a revealing way on the movie set, Laura Wilson’s photography evokes a sense of earnestness and closeness. It is not easy to get close to the insular and distrusting Hutterite community of Montana or to an actor emerged in his performance, but close she gets every single time.

She goes wherever it is a story worth telling to tell. And she always gets the story right. Laura Wilson is a restless, honest and profound visual storyteller. Each one of her photographs is like a world in itself. Without trying to debunk the myths, but always in search of the truth, Laura has a photojournalistic eye that enables her to seek for authenticity and an instinct for non-invasively penetrating and exploring enclosed, tightly knit societies, true to their traditional ways of life, portraying their uniqueness and independence and thus trying to preserve their identity.

As a film set photographer, Laura Wilson’s work is no less enthralling, always leaving me with a sense of wonder and privileged access to the fascinating universe of cinema. She has collaborated with the likes of Joel and Ethan Coen, Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, and also with her sons, Owen, Luke and Andrew (yes, the film actors). Her photography has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ Magazine, English Vogue, London’s Sunday Times Magazine and The Washington Post Magazine, and she has produced five photographic books, including That Day: Pictures in the American West, Hutterites of Montana and Avedon at Work.

I have talked to Laura about why it is so challenging to be a photographer on a movie set, about a photographer’s responsibility to respond to world issues and about the biggest misconception people have about Hollywood.
 
 

“There is not one time something has appeared before me
that I haven’t wanted to photograph it.”

 
 
Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody on the set of The Darjeeling Limited - Laura Wilson

Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody on the set of “The Darjeeling Limited”, Rajasthan, India, 2007 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
Laura, what does it take to go there, to want to tell a story through your photographs?
Curiosity and energy.

Your book, That Day: Pictures in the American West, depicts the majesty as well as the tragedy of the American West today, like the desolate reality of Indian reservations. As an artist, as a photographer, do you feel a responsibility not only to reveal, but also to respond to world events and issues?
Yes, I feel strongly that a photographer must respond to world events and issues to reveal these circumstances that weigh upon people.

What is the most important lesson your travels across America have taught you?
How splendid and beautiful the nation is and how varied and interesting the people are. And also how generous they are with their stories if you are serious and thoughtfully respond to their lives.

Are you hopeful that their stories will continue to be told and heard?
Most of all, I hope I hear and learn and continue to tell their stories myself.
 
 
Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Hutterite Girl in Wheat Field, Hutterite Colony, Montana, 1994 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Hutterite Girls during Haymaking Season, Hutterite Colony, Montana, 1991 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
Do you always carry a camera with you?
Yes, always.

Are there moments when you simply witness a moment without shooting any picture? Is it true that even photographers keep some of the most special moments they experience to themselves?
Yes, there are times I haven’t photographed, but these moments are unplanned and always leave me wishing I’d been more alert, quicker to seize the moment. There is not one time something has appeared before me that I haven’t wanted to photograph it.

Do you try to get to know someone a little before you do a portrait? How predictable or unpredictable is the encounter between you and your subject when you do a portrait?
Yes, I always try to get to know the person ahead of time by doing research on the person, or speaking to others who might know the person, or looking at photos of the person. If none of this is possible because of limitations or lack of information, I always talk to the person while I am photographing him or her. By talking to the subject during the process, I can also find out things that I might want to reveal or to enhance in what I see before me.

I am interested in people, they generally respond by being generous with information about themselves.
 
 
Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Cowboys Walking, J.R. Greene Land and Cattle Company, Shackelford County, Texas, 1997 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Child with Father and Sister, Colonia, Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 1993 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
You worked six years as the assistant of Richard Avedon and your book, Avedon at Work, documents the creative process of the photographer during his classic In the American West project. What is one thing that you and Avedon have taught each other?
I wouldn’t presume to say I taught Avedon anything. I learned from him that a good photographer, a great photographer, is not about f-stops and shutter speeds, but about the content of a photograph. This is what gives an image its power. And the more one knows about literature and psychology, mythology and the theater, the better a photographer can respond to what he or she sees before him.

In your book, That Day, there is a photograph of Harry Dean Stanton, on the set of The Wendell Baker Story, Circleville, Texas. I love that photo (and I love Harry Dean Stanton’s films, too) and I keep coming back to it. What’s the story behind that photo? I believe it is one of those photos that prove the importance of the still set photographer. Because a set photographer can not only capture the essence of a film in a shot, their photography can also reveal an actor in a moment of contemplation, in a fleeting moment of vulnerability, showing them with their guard down, just being themselves, not in character, and that’s a very rare and special thing.
I love being on a movie set for the opportunity to photograph people in revealing ways. In this moment, Harry Dean Stanton, oblivious to the heat, waited near a beautiful aluminum Beech 18 for the next scene in The Wendell Baker Story. He sang one of his favorite tunes, “Canción Mixteca”, the story of a man filled with sadness and longing for his home in Oaxaca, Mexico. With almost 200 films over 50 Hollywood years, Harry Dean is known on movie sets to regularly serenade actors and crews with Mexican Ranchera music. He has the same, strong, haunting voice he had nearly a quarter-century ago when he sang “Canción Mixteca” for Wim Wenders in Paris Texas and before that the gospel song, “A Closer Walk with Thee” for the soundtrack of Cool Hand Luke.
 
 
Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums - Laura Wilson

Like Wilson on the set of “The Royal Tenenbaums”, New York, 2001 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
Anjelica Huston by Laura Wilson - The Royal Tenenbaums

Anjelica Huston on the set of “The Royal Tenenbaums”, New York, 2001 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
Many filmmakers are very particular about the set photographers they allow to document their work. Wes Anderson is one of the filmmakers you have worked with and he is well-known for his close and loyal team of collaborators. What is it that gained you his trust? Although I do not believe it is just a matter of trust, one also has to know and respect film.
I’ve known Wes since he was an undergraduate at the University of Texas, and because of his friendship with my sons, Andrew, Owen and Luke, and with us, my husband Bob and I, we have a special bond. I was the first person to photograph Wes when he began in film as the director on Bottle Rocket, and he has remained loyal to me for many years.

A set photographer has to be determined while remaining quiet, gentle, unseen. Have there been moments when you felt you didn’t want to intrude and disturb an actor in the middle of a difficult performance and at the same time that you had to remain driven to be able to get the picture? How difficult is it to get close while keeping your distance?
This question is the main issue when you are a good photographer on a film set. By the very nature of photography, you have to get in close. As Robert Capa said, “if your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” But on a movie set, you are kept at arms length by the director, by the lighting people, by the actors themselves. It’s an extremely challenging job and to do it well is extremely difficult. And nowadays, sets are so controlled by the marketing people, they are often times impenetrable. My relationship with Wes Anderson has been a particularly happy one because I have been given tremendous access because of our long friendship.

The challenges of any set photographer have been my struggle on every movie. The actors are tired of the set photographer and bored by any request to remain longer on set. Jackie Chan and Anjelica Huston, however, were two of the most cooperative actors I have worked with.
 
 
Anjelica Huston and Wes Anderson by Laura Wilson

Anjelica Huston and Wes Anderson on the set of “The Royal Tenenbaums”, New York, 2001 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
There is that beautiful photograph of Anjelica Huston and Wes Anderson on the set of The Royal Tenenbaums, of them both sitting down Anjelica in Wes’ lap with her legs crossed over his. Whose idea was that photo?
That photo was my idea. Wes was sitting on a low wall of the outside entry of the Royal Tenenbaum house, lost in thought, perhaps reviewing scenes that he had shot or was about to shoot when Anjelica came into the doorway. I asked if she would sit next to Wes for a portrait and she, in a lighthearted way, sat in his lap. Wes, who knew Anjelica’s lineage (she is the granddaughter of Walter Huston, and daughter of the great director John Huston), was thrilled. Anjelica is Hollywood royalty.

Speaking of Hollywood royalty, you are working on a book about making movies. Can you tell me a little bit about it, and when will it be published?
I have been working for ten or more years on this book, accumulating pictures of all sorts of people. I now need to work with our designer on the layout of the book and present it to publishers.

What is one misconception people have about Hollywood?
I think the biggest misconception is thinking the behavior of people in Hollywood is isolated to Hollywood when, in fact, people in Hollywood are like everyone else. They have the same ups and downs, talents and shortcomings. They’re just on such a large international stage, we pay more attention.
 
 
Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson by Laura Wilson

Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson get the green light, Paramount Studios
Los Angeles, California, 1992 | photo by Laura Wilson

 
 
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, preparing to take a shot, where would you want to be?
Along any border with a large number of migrants trying to cross.
 
 
Interview with Photographer Laura Wilson

Young Woman with Child, border camp, Arizona-Sonora border, June 30, 2000 | photo by Laura Wilson

 

Website: laurawilsonphotography.com

 
 
Laura Wilson photography books
 

Laura Wilson’s photography books: That Day: Pictures in the American West /
Avedon at Work / Hutterites of Montana /
Watt Matthews at Lambshead / Grit and Glory

 

Posted by classiq in Interviews, Photography | | Leave a comment

Women of Style

Women of Style - Classiq Journal 

As much as I hate seeing summer fading, each September I realise how I revel in the frenetic energy of autumn. I like the back-to-school feeling, I like the organised routine the season brings along, I like the cooler temps in early fall that give you the impulse to seek for and embrace new beginnings. And I like how we reclaim our style in autumn.

It’s been a while since I wrote an article solely about style. I now prefer a more subtle approach. I like to celebrate style quietly, by featuring women and men from all artistic fields and talking about values and work and lifestyle as a whole. Isn’t that what style really is about? I sometimes casually bring up the notion of style in our conversations. So today I wanted to mark the approaching shift of seasons and its sartorial supremacy by gathering some of the most inspiring style quotes from my interviewees along the years. They are all incredible, beautiful, stylish women, but who prefer their work, not their looks, to be in the spotlight. However, in order to avoid a possible repetitive feeling, I chose to feature different women in the photographs. Women who, why not, I would love to interview one day and present them in their element, be it on an Australian shooting location, in the streets of Paris, in their home or in their kitchen. Because everyone is best at being themselves. And they all wear timeless pieces for fall.
 
Women of Style - Classiq Journal
 
Style comes from a sense of self, of knowing and understanding who you are, what is you and what is not. I cultivate that in myself and I work to bring that forth in my clients. My designs definitely speak for my style, but if I were to choose just one object as a reference, it would probably be horseback riding pants. I love horses, and the way they complement the feminine. I have always associated them with the Amazons. They were not just women warriors, they were free spirits of great charisma. Only in my story, they dismount and put on a wide skirt and host dinner parties.
Fashion designer Oana Manolescu
 

“Being yourself and no one else.”
Author and designer India Hicks

 
I believe in trying one’s best. And if we all try to make our surroundings pleasant and inviting, that must be better than not doing so. Style to me is how you carry yourself, your posture, your choice of colours and pattern when it comes to clothes, and, most of all, the overall look. As I live in a country with six months of winter, am a mother of three young boys, as well as an illustrator that works in a messy, drippy way, I wear a lot of jeans with second hand tops and blouses and boots.
Illustrator Stina Persson
 
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Tapping into the creative brain, self expression, not following the mainstream, but molding the ideas that are out there to create your own thing. You actually have to care enough about style to have any and, in some cases, being courageous in your approach.
Kara Johnson, founder of Kara Thoms Boutique
 

“Being yourself. Elegance with a twist that makes us different.”
Johanna Lepeu El Iman, founder of Zoobeetle Paris

 

“Style is the slow distilling of its culture – art, music, literature, religion –
that over time seep into our being and give us a sense of who we are.”

Patricia Gucci

 
Style to me is a way in which someone does something that just exudes their true self, it’s never forced. It’s innate and ultimately I think it’s a way in which someone carries themselves. I think it’s just a way of communicating who you are without speaking.
Valerie Santillo, Kamperett
 
Women of Style - Classiq Journal
 
For me, style is about protocol, it is about doing things in a certain way that makes experiences more pleasant for people. That may include taking time to present a meal in an attractive way for a guest, dressing appropriately if you are accepting an invitation, or simply acting courteously.
Polly Leonard, founder and editor-in-chief of Selvedge magazine
 

“I like it to be a mix of comfort, playful and personal.
I am not a fashionista, but love beautiful clothes and things.
Style, I think, is an individual take on what’s surrounding you.

Illustrator Cecilia Carlstedt

 
Living in Paris, ‘The Fashion Mecca’, is hard to ignore fashion! My style hasn’t changed much over the years. I love timeliess and effortless items of clothing. A classical look, but with personnal details. An elegant fabric, classic colors, beautiful and authentic silver jewelry I brought back from Chile or vintage jewels that have been in my family. I love silver jewelry and bought some fantastic pieces in Santa Fe Indian Market. I like stylish elements. I suppose that my style is as direct and frank as my writing, and in a way, if I like white shirts it’s certainly because it summarizes all that.
Travel writer Francisca Mattéoli
 
photos: 1-Kara Rosenlund / 2-Claire Thomson Jonville by Atelier Doré / 3-Juliette Hermant by Atelier Doré / 4-Mimi Thorisson by Oddur Thorisson

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