The Electric Intimacy of Alice Springs

Charlotte Rampling. Photo: © Alice Springs / Maconochie Photography

It’s a joy to contemplate the photography of June Newton, a.k.a. Alice Springs. The Australian-born Springs is the 95-year-old widow of the provocative fashion photographer Helmut Newton, but that’s the least interesting thing about her.

Under Springs’s gaze, world-famous actresses like Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, and Audrey Hepburn look like people, not icons — conversational, intent, their eyes telegraphing depths beneath. Springs respects their beauty, but doesn’t accept it as a mask. There are shadows beneath Deneuve’s perfect features; Hepburn looks gorgeous, but her age.

Vivid personalities leap from Springs’s portraits, which depict not just her subjects but her dialogue with them. Early on, Springs decided to forgo studio portraits and photograph people on their own territory, peeling back the protective facades that prominent people — especially the famous and beautiful — often construct.

“She quickly realized that photographing people in situ, their situ, was more revealing than bringing them into the studio,” says her longtime agent, Tiggy Maconochie. The resultant photos, while artful, convey a feeling of frank exchange. “[Alice] does not use any tricks,” her husband Helmut wrote.

Anjelica Huston.

Springs’s earlier career as an actress in her native Australia surely informed her sensitivity to character and personality, but it was Helmut who introduced her to photography. The couple met in Melbourne in 1947, when Springs was 23, and were married a year later. She followed his career, first to London, then Paris for 20 years, and later Los Angeles and Monte Carlo, where she lives to this day.

It was in Paris that Springs launched her own photographic career, on a day in 1970 when Helmut was too sick with the flu to shoot a Gitanes cigarette ad. Perhaps sensing an opportunity, Springs convinced him to let her go in his place — and after a quick tutorial in how to operate his camera and light meter, she went off.

As it turned out, she was a natural. The photos Springs took that day, of a model smoking, launched her decades-long career in both commercial photography and portraiture. She adopted the professional pseudonym Alice Springs after a town in Australia (chosen by randomly sticking a pin into a map of her home country).

Grace Jones, Monte Carlo, 1987.

Throughout the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Spring’s work documented the heady world she shared with Helmut: the upper reaches of European art, fashion, society, even royalty. Under her gaze, though, these iconic, powerful, and often gorgeous people look human and approachable.

Springs captured the “shock” of the individual — that electric current you feel when you really connect with someone. And she invited us to share those connections. Look at her portrait of Yves Saint Laurent model and muse Loulou de la Falaise and Nicole Wisniak, publisher of the magazine Egoiste, both lounging on a beach in white robes.

Loulou looks glamorous even in terrycloth, with stacked bangles, dark manicure, and cigarette. Nicole, hand covering her face (in keeping with her more “behind-the-scenes” profession), looks toward Loulou, and a third figure forms the triangle’s apex — the bottom half of a man wearing a similar beach robe. He strides toward Nicole, whose head moves toward Loulou, who gazes toward us. The circuit of energy moves through them, then out, inviting us to sit down in the sand.

Loulou de la Falaise and Nicole Wisniak.

Such a pattern occurs also in Springs’s portrait of the designer Kenzo, leaning lovingly toward his look-alike mother who gazes outward with similar warmth — affection streaming from son to mother, through Springs, to us. We see an oddly similar dynamic with artist Anna Mahler, who mirrors the downward gaze of her own sculpture (a giant face) which hangs above her.

Springs was especially sensitive to artists’ hands. Bella Freud stands resolute, hands clasped on hips with an odd intensity that punctuates her defiance. Betty Jackson holds a cane in one hand, while the other makes a fist–balancing fragility with strength. Sonia Rykiel’s graceful fingers cast shadows echoing the sculptural planes of her cheekbones. Diana Vreeland’sfascinating hands wrap around the complicated wrap she’s wearing. And a regal Vivienne Westwood has one black-and-white glove on, and clasps its mate upward, as if holding a third, ghostly hand.

Diana Vreeland.

Most startling are Spring’s unsentimental portraits of mothers and children, which upend expectations by refusing any trace of a beatified Madonna-and-Child motif. These women and children are fully separate, distinct beings.

Model and actress Brigitte Nielsen, in glamazon, not maternal mode, stares impassively, peculiarly hoisting her limp, sleeping infant to shoulder-height. Princess Caroline’s toddler son twists away from her as she stares straight ahead.

Some portraits are quite witty: Margot Werts, owner of the trend-setting L.A. boutique American Rag, holds her baby who looks like a miniature drunken sailor, cap askew. Artist Mirène Le Floch’s infant might be performing a modern dance contraction. And Tiziana Zenecla’s tiny son resembles a Hollywood gangster — with spiked hair and tough-guy stare.

Brigitte Nielsen, Beverly Hills, 1990.

A similar wit runs through Spring’s socialite portraits — Mica Ertegun merges into the painting behind her, to odd Surrealist effect. Judy Peabody holds up her pampered brown dachshunds breast-high, before a painting that depicts … a brown hunting dog.

Springs never sought the limelight, content to let her husband be the famous half of their couple. But right now seems like a perfect time to shine new light on her work. With a wave of American women flooding into the political arena at all levels, Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim, and a Frida Kahlo exhibit opening at the Brooklyn Museum, we seem surrounded lately with striking examples of women’s talents and power. What better way to keep up this momentum than by drawing inspiration from Springs’s humane and insightful portraits of these complex, gifted, and grown-up women.

Nicole Kidman, Hollywood, 1988.
Anna Piaggi, La Gorra, 1996.
Catherine Deneuve.
Eva Whalen, Antibes, 1978.
Joan Juliet Buck, Paris.
Tina Chow.
Candice and Vanessa Vettier.
Mica Ertegun, New York, 1999.
Hanna Schygulla, Hollywood, 1981.
Bella Freud, London, 1995.
Margot Werts, San Francisco, 1985.
Judith Boortolomi, Marseille, 1988.
Jane Birkin.
Jenny Kapitän, Paris, 1983.
SAS Caroline de Monaco and Andréa, 1985.
Andrée Putman.
Vivienne Westwood, 1995.
Loulou de la Falaise, Paris, 1986.
Betty Jackson, London, 1995.
Marianne Williamson and Baby, Beverly Hills, 1991.
Anna Mahler, Los Angeles, 1986.
Lynn Wyatt.
Sonia Rykiel, Paris, 1980.
Mirène Le Floch and Iris, Paris, 1976.
Roybn Duke.
Tiziana Zanecla, 1989.
Niki de Saint Phalle.
Pat Buckley.
Source: THECUT.COM

Photos of Celebrities Posing with Their Younger Selves

Dutch artist Ard Gelinck has been working on an ongoing “then and now” project in which he uses Photoshop to create portraits of famous people posing with their younger selves.

Richard Gere
Tina Turner
Justin Timberlake
Michael Jackson
Lady Gaga
Ellen DeDeneres
Elton John
Harrison Ford
Paul McCartney
Sylvester Stallone
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Clint Eastwood
Haley Joel Osment
Freddy Mercury
Matt LeBlanc
Amy Winehouse

You can follow along with Gelinck’s personal project on Instagram and Tumblr.

 

Source: PETAPIXEL.COM

William Eggleston in the real world

“William Eggleston In the Real World” is a documentary film about the photographer William Eggleston directed by Michael Almereyda and released in 2005.

The film reveals the deep connection between William Eggleston’s personality and his work, and also reveals his parallel commitments as a musician, draftsman and videographer.

The film follows Eggleston on trips to Kentucky, Los Angeles, New York City and Memphis, where Eggleston lives.

Eggleston  is one of the most influential photographers of the latter half of the 20th century.
Born July 27, 1939, he is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium.

His portraits and landscapes of the American South reframed the history of the medium and its relationship to color photography.

He said: “I had the attitude that I would work with this present-day material and do the best I could to describe it with photography, not intending to make any particular comment about whether it was good or bad or whether I liked it or not. It was just there, and I was interested in it.”

The artist’s experiments with color film during the 1960s challenged the conventions of photography, since at the time, dye-transfer photography was considered beneath serious photographers, relegated to commercial prints and tourist snapshots.

He wasn’t interested in photographing “decisive moments” like Cartier-Bresson nor was he interested in capturing extraordinary moments.
He was all about finding the beauty in the mundane.

As street photographers, we tend to find extraordinary moments in life. We want to find the craziest-looking characters and surreal moments.
However Eggleston wasn’t interested in the crazy and odd things in life.

On the contrary he was drawn to the everyday, boring, and the banal– and wanted to show the inherent beauty of things that we often overlook.
Over the last three decades, Eggleston’s photographs have generated a profound and sweeping influence.

No other photographer has matched his bold and nuanced use of color, or his singular ability to locate emotional undercurrents within commonplace surface facts.

Eggleston’s photographs can now be found in the collections of major museums throughout the world, and are the subject of retrospectives and traveling exhibitions.

With his documentary “William Eggleston in the Real World”, filmmaker Michael Almereyda poses a fundamental question to the renowned photographer: What does it mean to see the world so differently that “common” images are converted into unforgettable photos?

source:  Exibart Street PHT