Tag Archives: Actors

‘Act’: Meditations on the Disabled Body

“Physically and psychologically disabled people still aren’t very well accepted in society,” says photographer Denis Darzacq. “And this is a situation that artists have to take care of.”

More than two years ago, Darzacq began photographing people facing challenges such as cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, which has culminated in a series called ACT, on display at New York City’s Laurence Miller Gallery though June 15. Darzacq worked with his subjects to think of poses that would capture the mood of his previous series, HYPER, in which teenagers and young adults tumbled and danced through bright and modern supermarkets in Europe. “The images in HYPER had young, powerful men and women,” the Paris-based photographer says. “I want to do the same images with people who have had trouble finding a place in society from the beginning of their lives.”

The series has taken him to the United States, the United Kingdom and France as Darzacq has worked with various organizations to find his subjects, with whom he collaborated on movements as well as location scouting. “I wanted them to get into reality—the real spaces of cities because they belong to the society, too,” he says. “I told them, ‘If you want to go to museum, park or city hall—let’s go there and try to find the image that you want to express.’”

The photographer’s favorite moment came during a shoot with the actors of a theater company in Bradford, England. “One guy told me, ‘Denis you made a mistake,’ and he corrected my English,” Darzacq says. “I was teaching them something about photography, and they were teaching me about language. Suddenly, it was a wonderful moment of sharing.”

Denis Darzacq is a Paris-based photographer. ACT is on view through June 15 at the Laurence Miller Gallery in New York City. 

Oscars 2012: Great Performances

Each January, Los Angeles is effervescent with anticipation, as the world’s biggest stars gather to participate in a flurry of parties, dinners and events in the walk-up to the Golden Globes, marking the beginning of the awards season. This year was no exception.

TIME’s annual Oscars portfolio showcases each year’s best performers through a portfolio of striking portraits. Tears, giggles, pranks and emotions ran high, and loads of laughter pealed through the studio during this year’s shoot, which resulted in a series of images and short films photographed and directed by Sebastian Kim. It was our most ambitious Oscars shoot yet. We had just three days to photograph and film 12 world-class actors during their busiest time of the year.

George Clooney arrived early on set, but it didn’t take long for the actor to settle in and begin joking around and planning pranks with Michael Fassbender, who had recently been photographed by Kim for the February issue of Interview magazine. This previous experience of working together made for a great rapport between them. And it wasn’t the only happy reunion on set: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer happily embraced upon seeing each other on our set, giving us a glimpse of the fun these two had while working together on The Help. Later, Adepero Oduye was brought to tears when introduced by Joel Stein, who was on hand to interview the actors, to Davis, one of her greatest heroes. “It was so unbelievably Hollywood and yet really real,” Stein says.

Kim says that the project was the most star-studded he’s photographed so far. “I was quite excited photographing Meryl Streep,” he says, noting that his girlfriend is a big fan of the actress’s, “so naturally I was quite nervous when I met her. Being nervous on set is not a good thing as it impedes your concentration, but I just kept thinking, ‘My gosh…I better a get a good shot of her and make my girlfriend happy!’”

But Kim needn’t have been nervous. Streep was running a bit late, having arrived from a previous shoot with MGM studios, where she was taking part in a project to photograph the greatest living actors of our time. She was immediately forgiven—and how could she not be? Streep is kind and gracious, possesses a rare elegance and professionalism that made the photo shoot feel like anything but work. In fact, this set the tone for all of our actors’portraits, which also included sittings with Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Jean Dujardin, as well as the adorable Uggie, the dog in The Artist.

It’s a rare pleasure to watch actors of this caliber play for the camera. Instead of characters, they play themselves, with a focus and passion that can only come from years of experience on set.

The performers’interviews with Joel Stein can be viewed here.

Photographer #423: Kahn & Selesnick

Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, both 1964, UK, are two photographers / installation artists based in the US who have been working together since 1988. They met at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1995 they started using photography as the way of telling their stories. Together they have created a large number of series that can best be described as “complex narrative photo-novellas.” The fantastical and extremely wide panoramic images are accompanied by texts. They conceive an alternate reality, use costumed actors, construct detailed three-dimensional miniatures and combine all these elements into their compelling and mythical photographs. Even the website takes the viewer on a journey through the world of Kahn and Selesnick. Their work has been released as books on numerous occasions and has been exhibited throughout the world extensively. The following images come from the series Mars: Adrift on the Hourglass Sea, Apollo Prophecies, City of Salt and Scotlandfuturebog.

Website: www.kahnselesnick.com

Re Runs: Pieter Hugo

This post first ran in 2009…

Pieter Hugo is a photographer that consistently offers imagery that is startling, mezmerizing, and other worldly. His new series, Nollywood, is no exception. Hugo takes a look at the third largest film industry in the world, but it’s very different than world of movie-making we are familiar with. Movies are produced and marketed in a week, using low cost equipment, basic scripts, actors cast the day of the shooting, and improvised locations, with no permits necessary.

Pieter brought together a group of actors and crew of assistants to recreate Nollywood myths and symbols. Shot as if taken on the actual movie sets, the photographs reflect a fictional world where reality is suspended. These surrealistic images are uncomfortabley real, yet unreal, and like a good horror movie, keeps the viewer in suspense.

Photographer #325: Paolo Ventura

Paolo Ventura, 1968, Italy, studied at the Accademia di Bella Arti di Brera in Milan and currently lives and works in New York. He envisioned scenes he wanted to photograph, but these situations could not be found anymore. Therefore he started to construct entire sets by hand. He creates miniature buildings, trees and other objects. At the same time he constructs all the figures himself, making tiny clothes for the little men and women that he uses as actors in his scenes to tell his narrative and magical stories. In 2006 he released his series War Souvenir as a monograph and in 2009 the book Winter Stories came out. In the last five years Paolo has exhibited extensively throughout the USA and Europe. The following images come from the series Civil War, Winter Stories and War Souvenir.

Website: www.paoloventura.com

Photographer #254: Pieter Henket

Pieter Henket, 1979, The Netherlands, works and lives in New York. He is a self-taught portrait photographer who in recent years has photographed various celebrities. In 1999 he left for New York to study at the Film Academy but soon fell in love with the photographic medium. At a young age he managed to get an internship with the film director Joel Schumacher. The influence of cinema is easily noticed in his images. The Interrogation Project is a series in which he asked directors, actors and musicians how they would react to a police interrogation. He might be most known for the cover of Lady Gaga’s first album The Fame. The following images come from the Interrogation Project and his portfolios Images and Portraits.

Website: www.pieterhenket.com

Irina Werning – Big Hair in Argentina

Making the rounds of the blogosphere the past couple of weeks has been Argentine photogpher Irina Wering’s project Back to the Future. Browsing her site, however, I was much more struck by her project Mi Pelo Largo Querido. Let’s just say that young women in Argentina have a LOT of hair.

© Irina Werning

© Irina Werning

One of the big hair images that really stopped me in my tracks was this one, from an entirely different series, Little Schools in the Andes:

© Irina Werning

This series reminded me of a hilarious advertisement for a Brazilian beer put out last year during the World Cup. The spot was for the Brazilian market but they hired Argentine actors who are speaking Spanish in the clip. One sip of the beer and they enter into a frenzied identity crisis that has them dancing Samba, cutting off their Argentine mullets and extolling Brazilian soccer. Here it is:

I’ve shown this to foreigners who’ve lived in Argentina and they think it’s the funniest thing ever. I’ve shown it to various Argentines who have told me that it’s Not. Funny. At. All.

Photographer #230: Dan Winters

Dan Winters, 1962, USA, is most known for his celebrity portraiture. An endless amount of politicians, musicians and actors have been photographed by Winters. However he does not limit himself to portraiture. Within his photography he also focuses on objects and documentary work. He also draws and makes videos. His photographs have been published in a vast number of magazines and he has received numerous awards for his work. The subjects he chooses to photograph are diverse, from Texas gangs to honeybees to his very own son. His first monograph was released in 2009 with the title; Periodical Photographs. The following images come from the portfolio People; People of Interest, Friends & Neighbors and Actors.

Website: www.danwintersphoto.com