New Amsterdam

Scottish indie pop band Travis. Photo by Stefan Ruiz

 
 

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francois Truffaut,
Robert Zimmerman and de Niro
Paris, Texas – end of the world

New York, New York,
good bye girl

And they meet
on Bleecker Street
or the Park that is Central
oh no
I watched the sun go down
down, down beneath the ground
and it’s a new day,
it’s a new dawn,
in New Amsterdam.

The stranger in the moonlight,
looks stranger in the moonlight

And they meet
on Bleecker Street
or the Park that is Central
oh no
I watched the sun go down
down, down beneath the ground
and it’s a new day,
it’s a new dawn,
in New Amsterdam.

And we meet
on Bleecker Street
or the Park that is Central
oh no
I watched the sun go down
down down beneath the ground
and it’s a new day,
it’s a new dawn,
in New Amsterdam.

Fran Healy

Track #12 from The Boy with No Name (2007)

 
 

To listen to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228

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A Memorable Scene Over Breakfast

Still from Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

 
 

Iris (Jodie Foster) is here seen with the Graal of orange juice (previously discussed). Butterflies are symbolic of the soul, both being the Greek word psyche–and not “mind control,” as conspiracy theorists would have it. Sugar, spice, and everything nice are at the capstone of the Food Pyramid.

Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) succinctly labels Iris’ state in analogous terms, “You can’t live like this. It’s hell.” … The infernal nature of Iris’ situation becomes still more evident in a five-scene sequence documenting her world. First, Sport (Harvey Keitel) describes to Travis all of the perverse sexual acts a customer can perform with Iris…. After a scene between Travis and Iris in a coffee shop, we return to Iris’ room. Sport has metamorphosed into the demon who seduces pubescent girls for his sexual gratification and for financial gain. Lest we doubt the hellish subtext, Martin Scorsese shoots the scene with a conspicuous red lighting, as Sport entrances this child with his embrace and swaying dance.

The hero figuratively descends into an infernal realm in order to save a wayward feminine character (who is not even aware of the diabolic threat facing her), and the hero exposes evil and attempts to rescue the woman. The harrowing of hell, salvation offered to a prostitute, and a vengeful wrath directed against immorality suggest a hagiographic tone … Scorsese explicitly labels him “a would-be saint, a Saint Paul” … (Andrew J Swensen, The anguish of God’s Lonely Men).

In this brilliant, memorable scene over breakfast, Travis takes Iris to a coffee shop where she has toast with jelly and sugar on top. [This conversational scene parallels his coffee shop “date” with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) , but this time it follows an ‘aborted’ sexual encounter.] He becomes obsessed with saving the fresh-faced girl from her circumstances and restoring her to her family and school:

Iris: Why do you want me to go back to my parents? I mean they hate me. Why do you think I split in the first place? There ain’t nothin’ there.
Travis: Yeah, but you can’t live like this. It’s hell. Girls should live at home.
Iris: (playfully) Didn’t you ever hear of women’s lib?
Travis: What do you mean ‘women’s lib’? You sure are a young girl. You should be at home now. You should be dressed up. You should be goin’ out with boys. You should be goin’ to school. You know, that kind of stuff.
Iris: Oh god, are you square.
Travis: Hey I’m not square. You’re the one that’s square. You’re full of s–t, man. What are you talkin’ about? You walk out with those f–kin’ creeps and lowlifes and degenerates out on the street and you sell your, sell your little p—y for nothin’ man. For some lowlife pimp – stands in a hall. I’m, I’m square? You’re the one that’s square, man. I don’t go screw and f–k with a bunch of killers and junkies the way you do. You call that bein’ hip? What world are you from?
Iris: Who’s a ‘killer’?
Travis: That guy Sport’s a killer. That’s who’s a killer.
Iris: Sport never killed nobody.
Travis: He killed someone.
Iris: He’s a Libra.
Travis: He’s a what?
Iris: I’m a Libra too. That’s why we get along so well.
Travis: Looks like a killer to me.
Iris: I think that, that Cancers make the best lovers, but god, my whole family are air signs.
Travis: He’s also a dope shooter.

Pretentiousness Stripped Away

Self-Portrait

 
 

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, born in Florida on 1952,  is an American documentary filmmaker and portrait photographer, son of Miami musician and teacher Dr. Ruth W. Greenfield. The majority of his work is shot in large format.

Simple yet revealing, his portraits are direct and get right to the heart of the subject. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders prefers to strip away pretentiousness when portraying political figures, entertainers, artists, musicians and other intriguing personalities. His backdrops never distract from the subject, and he often uses a single light source to mimic natural light. His work has elevated him to one of the most acclaimed portrait photographers of our time.

He started out with an interest in filmmaking, and majored in art history at New York’s Columbia University. He later moved to Los Angeles, to study at the American Film Institute. Renowned actors and directors, such as Ingmar Bergman, Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock (“the masters of the cinema”) often made appearances at the school to talk about their work. To document these occasions, AFI sought a volunteer to shoot these visiting celebrities’ portraits. On a whim, Greenfield-Sanders took the challenge and became the school’s photographer.

With these luminaries available to him, Greenfield-Sanders snapped away, and learned much in the process. “Because of AFI, I got tips from celebrities as well as access to them,” he says. Hitchcock once remarked, “Young man, your lights are all wrong,” while Bette Davis criticized him harshly for “shooting from below.” (“She had some great swear words,” he laughs.)

His father-in-law is Joop Sanders, a founder of the abstract expressionist movement in New York, who introduced Greenfield-Sanders to a number of artists. Thus, painters like Willem de Kooning, Larry Rivers and Robert Rauschenberg posed for his camera. Over a 20-year span, he photographed hundreds of artists, dealers, collectors and critics. In 1999, 700 of these images were displayed at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York, and he published an accompanying book, entitled Art World. In the beginning, Greenfield-Sanders’ editorial photos that he shot for clients like Barron’s and SoHo News helped to pay for this project.

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ portraits are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The New York Public Library, The Whitney Museum and The National Portrait Gallery among others. In 2004, seven hundred of his art world portraits were accepted into the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

A number of books on Greenfield-Sanders’ work have been published: Art World (Fotofolio), Timothy Greenfield-Sanders his first monograph, (Alberico Cetti Serbelloni Editori), XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits (Bulfinch Press) “Face to Face” (Skira), Look: Portraits Backstage at Olympus Fashion Week (Powerhouse) The Black List (Atria of Simon and Schuster) The Latino List (Luxury) and The Black List 50 (Luxury).

Greenfield-Sanders produced and directed nine films. His first, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, was a feature documentary about the legendary rock musician. The film aired in April 1998 on the PBS Series American Masters and premiered in the United States at Sundance Film Festival and in Europe at The Berlin Film Festival. It screened at over 50 film festivals worldwide. Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart won a 1999 Grammy Award for best music documentary.

In addition to this once-in-a-lifetime experience, he took the opportunity to build an impressive portfolio of many of the biggest names in Hollywood. His access to these stars bolstered his reputation as a celebrity shooter and he soon got work taking portraits for Interview and People magazines. “I began loving portrait photography more than making films,” he comments. He is also a contributing photographer at Vanity Fair magazine.

Thinking XXX, a film about the making of the XXX book, first aired in October 2004 on HBO. A soundtrack CD was released in November 2004 by Ryko Records. In addition, in October 2004, the XXX portraits were exhibited in New York at the Mary Boone Gallery and subsequently at numerous galleries worldwide including John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, Bernd Kluser Gallery in Munich, Berman/Turner Projects in Los Angeles, Paolo Curti Gallery in Milan and Howard Russeck Gallery in Palm Beach.

In 2006, Greenfield-Sanders photographed injured soldiers and marines for HBO’s film, Alive Day Memories. The images were widely published, shown in numerous exhibitions and purchased by The Library of Congress.

Between 2008-2010, Greenfield-Sanders produced and directed The Black List Project: a series of 3 documentaries for HBO, a traveling museum exhibition of portraits organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a book with Simon and Schuster’s Atria and DVDs with Target. In addition, the project included an educational initiative in conjunction with The United Negro College Fund.

 
 

Alfred Hitchcock

 
 

Orson Welles

 
 

John Waters

 
 

Ethan Hawke

 
 

Toni Morrison

 
 

Robert De Niro Sr.

 
 

Elaine De Kooning

 
 

Louise Bourgeois

 
 

David Wojnarowicz

 
 

Francesco Clemente

 
 

Keith Haring

 
 

Dennis Hopper

 
 

Slash

 
 

Lou Reed

 
 

Mark Strand

 
 

Norman Mailer

 
 

William S. Burroughs

 
 

David Bowie

V.I.P.’s (Very Important Portraits) by Roxanne Lowit

Roxanne Lowit is one of the pioneers of behind-the-scenes fashion photography as we know it today. “For the first 10 to 15 years I was the only one shooting backstage at all the shows. I had no credentials to begin with but quickly realised that that was my métier, that’s what I found most fascinating.”

The revelation came when she was gifted an Instamatic camera while still attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York studying Textile Design. At the time Lowit was a keen painter, but with this new tool discovered a more efficient way of capturing the spirit of her subjects. “I wanted to paint the people I admired but nobody had the time, so I thought I’d take a photograph of them and work from the photograph,” she says. “However, once I took the photograph I realised that I didn’t need to capture the whole soul in a painting. So I traded in my paintbrushes for a camera.”

Her background in textile design became her backstage pass when she was invited by the designers who worked from her patterns to photograph the completed garments before their shows. Eventually word got out that Lowit’s images were something worth publishing, and in 1978 she was contacted by Annie Flanders from the SoHo News. “She heard that I was going to Paris so she said ‘if you get a real camera I’ll use your pictures when you get back’. I learnt how to put film in a real camera on the plane on the way over. Next thing I was on the top of the Eiffel Tower shooting with Yves Saint Laurent and Andy Warhol. It was all downhill from there because how could it get any better?”

But things did get better, much better. After that first trip to Paris doors flung open for Lowit and her career as a backstage fashion photographer gained swift momentum. As industry insiders came to know and love her, the invitations to the parties flooded in, which was where much of the magic happened in front of Lowit’s lens. The 80s were heady times for fashion and she was always there, stationed in the fray, ready to catch the fanfare, frivolities and outright excess as it happened. “It was phenomenal,” she recalls. “We had the Supermodels and all those designers who loved the Supermodels. There were great parties – Elton John was always there and all sorts of celebrities started coming to the shows and parties.”

These days Lowit finds the more homogenised collections produced by contemporary designers as a result of an increasingly commercialised fashion industry much less inspiring, but revels in rising to the challenge all the same. “I usually play a game with myself, how good can I make this look?” she laughs. “But really it’s just about taking a great picture and finding a great moment. It’s always exciting to think, where am I going to go and what am I going to shoot next?”For the fashion designers themselves, as Lowit recalls, it was a time of tremendous creative freedom, where their unique artistic vision was nurtured by the industry and experimentation was encouraged. The shows, it seems, were less about selling clothes and more about the artistry, theatre and spectacle of it all. “It was so much more creative back then. You didn’t need a name at the end of the runway to know who it was you were watching,” she tells me. “When you saw long red nails with vampish clothes and great big hair you knew it was Thierry Mugler. When you saw flower dresses and a girl on a horse you knew you were at Kenzo. Stripes and knits, you were at Sonia Rykiel.”

Lowit gets a kick out of shooting just about anyone who gets a kick out of being shot. “All the pictures I’ve taken are important to me. They’re all like my children. It’s always the next image I look forward to. But looking back I think my favourites are the ones where the people just enjoyed having their picture taken – they were just having a good time. That’s really when I can capture something great.”

 
 

Roxanne Lowit, Andy Warhol, Jacqueline and Julian Schnabel, Kenny Scharf, Jean Michel Basquiat

 
 

Andy Warhol

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent

 
 

Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld

 
 

Helena Christensen, Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour

 
 

Diana Vreeland

 
 

Ralph Lauren and Diana Vreeland

 
 

Salvador Dalí, Janet Daly and the recipient of a kiss

 
 

Helmut Newton

 
 

Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton

 
 

Peter Lindbergh, Arthur Elgort and Patrick Demarchelier

 
 

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino

 
 

Patrick Kelly, Iman, Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell

 
 

Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista

 
 

>Manolo Blahnik and Anna Piaggi

 
 

Lauren Hutton and a chauffeur

 
 

Elton John in concert wearing the Donald Duck costume, Central Park, New York

 
 

Shalom Harlow

 
 

Amanda Lepore

 
 

Halston

 
 

John Galliano

 
 

Annabelle Neilson Rothschild and John Galliano

 
 

Backstage from Dior Show, Paris

 
 

Kate Moss and John Galliano

 
 

Kate Moss

 
 

Ellen Von Unwerth and Mario Testino

 
 

Herb Ritts, Christy Turlington and Steven Meisel

The Devil is in the Detail

 
 

The creator of the cover of Dangerous was the artist Mark Ryden. It took six months to end in. Much of the life of Michael Jackson is reflected in it both in pictures as symbols. This artist was born on 20 January 1963, in Medford, Oregon, California. In 1987 he received the School of Design in Pasadena. Among his clients include Stephen King, Leonardo Di Caprio, Robert De Niro, etc …  Jackson asked very specific things, he told to Ryden that “the design should be mysterious, that people will interpret in their own way …”So, as that famous idiom which refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden: the devil is in the detail.

Account Mark Ryden, artist of the cover of Dangerous that had previously worked with the Art Director for Sony, Nancy Donald in many other projects and when the project was commissioned by Michael Jackson she thought of him. A Michael Jackson’s friend showed him a book with their jobs and liked a lot. Ryden was thus that he met with the King of Pop in his study where he could hear some of his new music and talked about the idea. He then had a week to create some strokes, doing 5 pencil drawings. Only one was elected, the current draft of the lid. The other four sketches were not accepted by Michael Jackson, but had the same general style that the cover of Dangerous. One was a circus poster with a skeleton jumping from the innards of a clown, another was focused on a girl in her hand she held a skull, another idea was very similar to the final cover, but the scene was set outdoors and the Michael Jackson’s eyes were mixed with clouds over the chimp Bubbles which was standing on a pile of animals. Mark Ryden also note that for the first sketches of the cover of Dangerous drew heavily on the video for the song Leave Me Alone found in the feature film Moonwalker, saying that  “it was the image, design and the items were great.”

Although the original painting is very large, the great challenge of the artist was that by reducing the size of a cover of a compact disc detail and the concept did not disappear. One of its inspiration to the many details was listening to the tracks on the album as Michael Jackson was finishing his recording and song titles also served to introduce certain concepts. And so the album title and the song Dangerous provided a starting point for the base of the drawing. Mark Ryden said that despite the great advances in digital technology, the drawing is not supported by computers, only brush with acrylics on a panel, which still remains in its original study.  As for the freedom to create his work, Ryden had the opportunity to draw without pressure, except for some very specific added that Michael Jackson asked himself near the end of the work. For example he wanted the actor Macaulay Culkin was in one of the cars that pull out of the tunnel on the right and placed the pin “1998″ on the lapel of P. Barnum, creator of the world’s most famous circuses. The image of Afghan dog on his throne is inspired by an oil,  Napoleon on his Throne, painted by artist Jean-Auguste Ingres in 1806.

Like Father… (Artists)

English author, critic and mountaineer Leslie Stephen and Virginia Woolf

 
 

Painter Lucian Freud with his daughter, fashion designer Bella Freud

 
 

Gerolamo “Gimmo” Etro, the brand’s founder and his four children: Jacopo (manages textiles, leather goods and the home collections), Kean (is responsible for the menswear collections) , Ippolito (the CEO) and Veronica (is responsible for the women’s collections).

 
 

Gabriel García Márquez, his wife Mercedes Barcha, alongside their sons Rodrigo (screenwriter, television and film director) and Gonzalo (graphic designer)

 
 

Spanish fashion designer Adolfo Dominguez and two of her three daughters

 
 

Tommy Hilfiger and His son Richard, a rapper who is known as Ricky Hil

 
 

Alex Bolen, her wife Eliza Bolen, Oscar de la Renta’s step-daughter, and Moisés de la Renta

 
 

Jerry Hall, Oscar De la Renta and his adopted child Moisés, who debuted his very first collection (a limited edition T-shirt line called MDLR for a Spanish chain) in 2010

 
 

Ralph Lauren, his wife Ricky and their children Andrew (film producer and actor), David (Senior Vice President, Advertising, Marketing and Corporate Communications at Polo Ralph Lauren) and Dylan (owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar, which claims to be the largest candy store in the world, based in New York City)

 
 

Pablo and Paloma Picasso

 
 

John and Anjelica Huston

 
 

Henry Fonda with his children Peter and Jane

 
 

Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia and Roman

 
 

Alain Delon and Anthony

 
 

Vincente Minelli and Liza. Photo: Bob Willoughby

 
 

Mel Ferrer with Audrey Hepburn Holding Newborn Sean

 
 

Alfred Hitchcock, Alma Reville and Patricia

 
 

Kelly Curtis, Jamie Leigh Curtis, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh

 
 

de niro and his father Robert De Niro Sr. (painter) and Robert De Niro Jr.(actor)

 
 

Jaime Haven Voight, Angelina Jolie, and Jon Voight. Photo: Ron Galella

 
 

Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and their blended family

 
 

Steve McQueen, Neile Adams, Terry Leslie and Chad

 
 

Jean Paul Belmondo and Patricia

 
 

Heath Ledger and Matilda

Anything but Boring

Thanks to The Perfumed Dandy for inciting my curiosity about this theme:
 

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, who was considered the female embodiment of the Jazz Age.

 
 

“The only horrible thing in the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness”, advised Lord Henry Wotton, Oscar Wilde’s alter ego from The Portrait of Dorian Gray. “Intelligent people never get bored,” said a character from Ifigenia, the novel by the French-Venezuelan writer Teresa de la Parra. Diana Vreeland suggested “Never fear being vulgar, just boring.” For Sir Cecil Beaton boredom was the world’s second worst crime (the first is being a bore). On the other hand, Leo Tolstoy affirmed that boredom was the desire for desires. And everyone would agree the cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. But we all are constantly escaping from ennui and feelings like that.
 
Being Boring is a song composed by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe; the Pet Shop Boys. It is the opening track and second single from Behaviour (1990), an album influenced by Depeche Mode’s Violator, which was released the same year.
 
It’s been said that the title apparently materialized after someone in Japan accused the duo of being boring. The title is also derived from a Zelda Fitzgerald quotation, “she refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn’t boring”. The song is concerned with the idea of growing up and how people’s perceptions and values change as they grow older.
 
Due to various factors (for example, it being hard to sing), it wasn’t initially performed on 1991’s Performance Tour, leading many fans, Axl Rose among them, to complain about its omission. It is considered among the greatest, most beautiful Pet Shop Boys’ songs, despite the track’s moderate commercial success.
 
The Pet Shop Boys first asked photographer and film maker Bruce Weber if he would make a video with them when Domino Dancing was corning out. They met him in New York whilst recording demos with Liza Minnelli. At the time he was keen, but too busy; he was working on his second documentary film, Let’s Get Lost, (a Film about the late jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. His first film was about boxing, Broken Noses).
 
Weber hadn’t done a video before because of “time and circumstance, and I also fell that I really wanted to fall in love with a song. Because I knew I was going to have to listen to it about a million times (laughs). I got the tape and I loved it; I had an immediate reaction to it. I thought it had a lot of musicality and a lot to say, I loved the lyrics and really felt that it was something I wanted to be part of.” he said to Neil and Lowe.
 
The video is shot in black and white. In what is either a coincidence or conscious decision, two previous videos, 1989’s It’s Alright and 1990’s So Hard also lacked color. Apart from these, only 2000’s You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk and partially 1987’s Rent were also recorded in black and white.
 
The video was filmed entirely in one day at the beginning of October 1990 in a house of Long Island. Bruce Weber chose that particular setting, outside New York City, because of its association with Zelda and Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Bruce Weber explained his idea of a wonderful party. He wanted to keep away from the streets after looking at MTV a lot of video clips filmed on roads. He thought it was a corny trend.
 
Weber cast people he was friends with or knew the girlfriends or boyfriends of or had photographed before, including Neneh Cherry’s half-brother, musician Eagle Eye and Drena, Robert de Niro‘s daughter.
 
Weber incorporated a dog because “in certain French films of Renoir there was always a country animal brought as a pet. Like the Bertolucci film where Dominique Sandra comes into the house on a horse.”
 
Originally, the video begun with everyone on the stairs, eyes closed and Neil speaking the Zelda Fitzgerald quote to the camera. This concept turned out to be a bit too complicated so the video eventually began with a handwritten message (written by one of Bruce Weber’s friends) based on Neil’s instructions.
 
In a way, the video is a literal projection of the first video of the song. The video begins with with a nude swimmer and a message: “I came from Newcastle in the North of England. We used to have lots of parties where everyone got dressed up and on one party invitation was the quote ‘she was never bored because she was never boring’. The song is about growing up – the ideals that you have when you’re young and how they turn out”.