Friday, January 21, 2011

The Week in Watching

A few random pictures and thoughts from the visual week that was:

1. More Rock and Roll

Kirshner, Al Nevins, Little Eva, Gerry Goffin, and Carole King, by PopSie Randolph
In my last post I went on about how the art of rock-and-roll photography had become the delight of many photo historians and museum curators. Then while I was reading the newspapers I saw that Don Kirshner, rock impresario, had died at age 77. A very successful music publisher, he is best known--to people my age, that is--for his syndicated TV show "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert," which went on the air in 1973. (The show sort of marked a mid-way point between American Bandstand and MTV.) The article about him in the New York Times included a great photo--taken in 1962 to promote one of the most superb pop songs ever, "Loco-Motion," which was written by that hit-writing team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King and performed by the great Little Eva. The picture was taken by one William PopSie Randolph, a photographer I unfortunately had never heard of, so I looked up his archive online. Randolph, a.k.a. "The Legend of Broadway, died in 1978, leaving behind some 100,000 negatives and prints, according to the website, with images of everyone from Sinatra to Eddie Fisher to the Rolling Stones. I probably should have known about him before this, but I'm very glad to find his work. Historians and curators take note--and please let me know what you think...

2. The Environmental Portrait

Jospeph N. DiVincenzo, and Bird, by Richard Perry for the New York Times
The Times also had an article on Wednesday about Joseph N. DiVincenzo, the executive of Essex County in New Jersey, who is a Democrat but likes to make deals with Republicans, such as Governor Chris Christie, who has yet to start losing weight for a possible White House run in 2012. Yes, this piece was in the regional section. At any rate, I was stopped dead by the accompanying picture of DiVincenzo, taken by Times photographer Richard Perry. This is a little master class in how to describe an individual who probably isn't very photogenic in one single, dynamic photo. First, it completely illustrates the point of the article, because the guy is on the phone, eyes shuttered with what might nicely be described as a shrewd squint...let's see, could he be making a deal? (Did Monty Hall have a pocket full of Benjamins?) But it's the surrounding environment that does the real work in this know exactly what kind of character you're dealing with when you see that stuffed bald eagle--I'm thinking and hoping it's paper mache and not a real bald eagle, but I could be wrong. The eagle  perches over DiVincenzo's head like a thought balloon--a outward representation of the man's self-image? I can only imagine that Perry's eyes bugged out when he saw the bird, knowing that he had the perfect prop for a terrific environmental portrait.

3. All the Girls Fit to Print

Kidman by Lubomirski for Harper's Bazaar--subscription cover
 My favorite magazine cover of the month, so far, is this portrait of Kidman by Alexi Lubomirski for the February issue of Harper's Bazaar. (Note: I'm assuming this cover went to subscribers, and that the cover below is the one you'll find on newsstands. Subscribers do much better.) I just think it's a beautiful picture of Kidman. You?

 In other media news we have model Brooklyn Decker on the February edition of Esquire. I know, we've all seen this same cover (substitute different hot chicks) about a billion times...but so what. Decker's name makes a good cover line. Photo by Yu Tsai.

And then in advertising we have Scarlett Johansson starring in a pretty fabulous new campaign for Moet & Chandon. The campaign was shot by British photographer Tim Walker.

Here's another, better, shot from the campaign:

Does anyone else think the shot above references Ed Feingersh's famous shot of Marilyn with her Chanel bottle?

A few years ago, Nicole Kidman became the face of Chanel for a while. Which brings us full circle. Enough watching for one week.

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