Picasso’s Promenade

Photograph by Chema Madoz

 
 

“On a very round plate of real porcelain
an apple poses
face to face with it
a painter of reality
vainly tries to paint
the apple as it is
but
the apple won’t allow it
the apple
it has its word to say about it
and several tricks in its bag of apples
and there it is turning
on its real plate
artfully on itself
blandly without budging
and like a Duc de Guise who disguises himself as a gas duct
because they want to draw his portrait against his will
the apple disguises itself as a beautiful fruit in disguise
and it’s then
that the painter of reality
begins to realize
that all the appearances of the apple are against him
and
like the unfortunate pauper
like the poor pauper who finds himself suddenly at the mercy
of no matter what benevolent and charitable and redoubtable
association of benevolence charity and redoubtability
the unfortunate painter of reality
then suddenly finds himself the sad prey
of a numberless crowd of associations of ideas
And the apple turning evokes the apple tree
the earthly Paradise and Eve and then Adam
a watering-can a trellis Parmentier a stairway
Canadian Hesperidian Norman apples Reinette apples and Appian apples
the serpent of the Tennis Court and the Oath of Apple Juice
and original sin
and the origins of art
and Switzerland with William Tell
and even Isaac Newton
several times prizewinner at the Exhibition of Universal Gravitation
and the dazed painter loses sight of his model
and falls asleep
It’s just then that Picasso
who’s going by there as he goes by everywhere
every day as if at home
sees the apple and the plate and the painter fallen asleep
What an idea to paint an apple
says Picasso
and Picasso eats the apple
and the apple tells him Thanks
and Picasso breaks the plate
and goes off smiling
and the painter drawn from his dreams
like a tooth
finds himself all alone again before his unfinished canvas
with right in the midst of his shattered china
the terrifying pips of reality.”

Jacques Prévert

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The Secret of Architectural Excellence

“The secret of architectural excellence is to translate the proportions of a dachshund into bricks, mortar and marble.”
Sir Christopher Wren

 
 

Portrait of Sir Christopher Wren, Godfrey Kneller, 1711

 
 

Sir Christopher Michael Wren (20 October 1632 – 25 February 1723) is one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history. Other notable buildings by Wren include the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and the south front of Hampton Court Palace. The Wren Building, the main building at the College of William and Mary, is attributed to Wren. It is the oldest academic building in continuous use in the United States.

In Wren’s age, the profession of architect as understood today did not exist. Since the early years of the 17th century it was not unusual for the well-educated gentleman, (virtuosi), to take up architecture as a gentlemanly activity; a pursuit widely accepted as a branch of applied mathematics. This is implicit in the writings of Vitruvius and explicit in such 16th century authors as John Dee and Leonard Digges. When Wren was a student at Oxford, he became familiar with Vitruvius’s De architectura and absorbed intuitively the fundamentals of the architectural design there. In English Medieval tradition, buildings were constructed to the needs of the patron and the suggestions of building professionals, such as master carpenters or master bricklayers.

Educated in Latin and Aristotelian physics at the University of Oxford, Wren was a notable anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist, as well as an architect. He was a founder of the Royal Society (president 1680–82), and his scientific work was highly regarded by Isaac Newton and Blaise Pascal.

 
 

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London – plan and section. Christopher Wren, (1675-1709). Wren wrestled with the design of the famous St Paul’s dome even as it was being built, remodeling its profile countless times.

 
 

Marlborough House, Westminster as designed by Wren

 
 

Cambridge University, Wren Library, Trinity College

 
 

In the 20th century the potency of the influence of Wren’s work on English architecture was reduced. The last major architect who admitted to being dependent on him was Sir Edwin Lutyens, who died in 1944. With the purposeful elimination of historic influences from international architecture in the early 20th century, Wren’s work gradually stopped being perceived as a mine of examples applicable to contemporary design.

 
 

Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly known as Viceroy’s House) is the official home of the President of India, located in New Delhi, Delhi, India. It was designed by Lutyens. Lutyens said the design evolved from that of the Pantheon in Rome, while it is also possible that it was modeled partly after the great Stupa at Sanchi, or St. Paul’s dome.

Stamped Lips

Stamped Lips, Andy Warhol, 1959

 

Yves Saint Laurent Spring Summer 1971

 

 “ Lips print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model Viviane Fauny. Photo Helmut Newton.Lips print dress from Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Harpers & Queen, early April 1971. Model: Viviane Fauny. Photo: Helmut Newton

 

Dresses Yves Saint Laurent,  Vogue Italia, February 1971, Photo By Chris Von Wagenheim

 

YSL 1973

 

Zooey Deschanel for ELLE in Saint Laurent by Slimane Lip Print dress, Spring 2014

 

Rihanna wearing the sequined one shoulder top, also by Slimane. Vogue, March 2014. Photo: David Sims

 

Kristen Stewart on the cover of Marie Claire UK, May 2014

 

Marc Jacobs cosmetic bag

 

Lulu Guiness lips clutch

 

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, 2014

 

Peter Jensen SS 2014

 

Giles Deacon SS 2014

 

Alice and Olivia, Resort Collection 2014

 

Prada Spring Summer 2000 ad campaign

 

Michelle Williams on  the cover of ELLE, December 2011 wearing a Prada dress

 

Prada Resort Collection 2012 ad campaign

Who the Fuck is Pierre Laroche?

Pierre Laroche photographed by Brian Duffy, 1973

 
 

Tim Curry and Peter Robb-King (assistant makeup artist to Pierre La Roche on The Rocky Horror Picture Show). In the stage productions, actors generally did their own makeup. However, for the film, the producers chose Pierre La Roche, who had previously been a makeup artist for Mick Jagger, to redesign the makeup for each character. Production stills were taken by rock photographer Mick Rock, who has published a number of books from his work.

 
 

The astral sphere make-up on Bowie’s forehead was designed by Laroche for the Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy’s make up on stage also had a lot of Kabuki influences.

 
 

David Bowie, rare outtake from Aladdin Sane photo session by Brian Duffy, 1973

 
 

Make-up for Life on Mars? music video (Mick Rock, 1971)

 
 

Pin Ups (1973), the seventh album by David Bowie, containing cover versions of songs. The woman on the cover with Bowie is 1960s supermodel Twiggy in a photograph taken by her then-manager Justin de Villeneuve. It was taken in Paris for Vogue magazine, but at Bowie’s request, used for the album instead

 
 

Mick Jagger put himself on the hands of Laroche during the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas, 1975. Photo: Christopher Simon Sykes

 
 

Mick Jagger leans on his stylist Pierre Laroche during the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas, 1975. Laroche wears a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Who the Fuck is Mick Jagger?’ Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes

 
 

Following a lonely childhood in exotic Algiers, Pierre Laroche moved to France and then England, where he became the star make-up artist at Elizabeth Arden in London. Quitting after five years when the company insisted he become more conservative, Laroche went freelance and was soon contracted by rock stars David Bowie and Mick Jagger, who drew upon Laroche’s talent while he continued to do make-up for British fashion magazines, celebrities, and movie stars. During the sixties, inspired by the Arab women of his homeland who painted their eyes black with khool, Laroche popularized black eye-shadow and originated the glitter look. Later, he moved to America, where he reorganized his professional approach to include make-up for all kinds of women—and men. Though he recently did Bianca Jagger’s make-up for the cover of People magazine, Elsa Peretti’s make-up for Helmut Newton’s photograph of her in the April 4 issues of Newsweek, and has worked with Nona Hendryx on major make-up projects, Laroche is equally interested in designing make-up for the “average woman”. Intent on contributing to the American chic, Laroche asserts, “I have lived through the sixties in England. Now I’m getting ready to face the eighties in America.”

The Richard Avedon of Asia

Self-portrait

 
 

Russel Wong is a Singapore-born Hollywood celebrity photographer. He had his primary and secondary education at Anglo-Chinese School. His celebrity portraits have earned him celebrity status. He is heralded as “the Richard Avedon of Asia” –an association Wong doesn’t seem to mind.

Like Avedon, Wong creates stunning portraits that are minimal, dramatic, and brilliantly composed. However, his photographs lack the cool indifference and stiffness of Avedon’s work; instead, the imagery is warm, personal, engaging.

Where does that gift comes from? “It’s difficult to explain”, he begins. “When I shoot someone, I feel like I’m dancing. The idea I’m working with is equivalent to the melody I hear in my head… then I improvise what that song’s ups and downs. I often try something wild at the end.”

The legendary celebrity-photographer the late Richard Avedon [1923-2004] had once sharply noted ‘my portraits are more about me than about the people I photograph’. This observation from the towering figure who chiselled his reputation on photographing the celebrated and the powerful suggests that the portrait-image could reveal as much about the photographer as it does the sitter-subject – or more. Russel Wong [b. 1961-] who (as stated before) has been christened the Richard Avedon of Asia by the popular media, wields an inventory of celebrity portraits that would exhaust most name-droppers. Joining the tradition of celebrity photographers like Avedon, Annie Leibovitz [1949-] Helmut Newton [1920-2004] and Herb Ritts [1952-2002], Wong’s practice ruptures the slender line between celebrity photography and fine art. Whilst some critics banish this genre as a soft art form shaped by the pressures and demands of celebrity publicity machines, most agree that this species of photography remains one of the most potent and most difficult to commandeer. It is one thing to wrestle for access to celebrities and quite another feat to persuade strong self-willed celebrities who are well-acquainted with camera tactics to trust if not share, one’s vision.

Several pivotal shifts in Wong’s practice occurred after his enrollment in the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1984 for a fine art degree (Photography). There he encountered tutors and mentors whose personal charisma and professional triumphs exerted great influence over his formative development. In his second year, Wong made a 4-month ‘immersion trip’ to Milan, Italy – ‘the Mecca, where all aspiring fashion photographers go to, and where all the big-name photographers pay their dues’ [Russel Wong, interview 2004]. Wong learnt the language, ate the food and hung out at the Italian fashion cafes, like The White Bear, where models and photographers congregated. Most importantly, his photographic style and approach changed radically, and these shifts were not lost on his mentors. Amongst these was Paul Jasmin [1935-], the renowned fashion designer and photographer who worked with Vogue and Interview. Jasmin introduced Wong to his agent who also represented Herb Ritts.

The agent subsequently became Wong’s first agent in his career – opening the doors to major magazine assignments. Another seminal figure was Antonio Lopez [1943-1987] the flamboyant Puerto Rican fashion illustrator noted for his portraits of Jerry Hall, Jessica Lange and Grace Jones. Lopez, a cult figure in the circles, had in the 1970s, run a Paris salon with Karl Lagerfeld for fashion celebrities. Lopez noted Wong’s work and connected Wong to the remarkable photographer Art Kane [1925-1995] who had photographed The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan among others.

“Antonio said, ‘Go to New York. I will help you!’ He invited me to his New York studio in Union Square and he called up a bunch of photographers. At the point when Antonio introduced me to Art Kane, I was ready to be an assistant, intern, anything. I didn’t really care, because I just wanted to see what it was like to do real photographic work in a New York loft.
I would have waited tables, carried the photographer’s lights, made coffee… you name it. But it turned out that I didn’t have to do any of that. I don’t know if this is good or bad but I didn’t have to assist any photographer on my way up. They liked my work, and it all began.”
[Russel Wong, interview 2004]

 
 

Antonio Lopez

 
 

David Lynch

 
 

Isabella Rossellini

 
 

Kenzo Takada

 
 

Helmut Newton

 
 

Oliver Stone

 
 

Joan Chen

 
 

John Galliano

 
 

Cindy Crawford

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

Sensuality Unveiled

For the calendar’s 50th anniversary (2014), Pirelli is unveiling a never-before-seen Helmut Newton-lensed collection of photographs that was supposed to be for 1986. Serendipitously, 2014 and 1986 share the same calendar year.

 
 

In 1985, Pirelli’s British and Italian teams both commissioned a 1986 calendar – Britain enlisting photographer Bert Stern, Italy enlisting Helmut Newton. Until then, the project had been handled solely by the UK arm of the company.

A slight ruckus ensued as to which version would be published. Coincidentally, Newton had to abandon his project mid-way through shooting due to personal issues, and as such the commission was won by his contemporary Stern.

Nevertheless, Newton’s vision was completed by his faithful assistants Manuela Pavesi and Xavier Alloncle – to his precise specifications – and then stored in the Pirelli archives as a ‘family heirloom’ waiting for the right occasion to step into the limelight.

Leda and the Swan

Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduces, or rapes, Leda. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. In the W.B. Yeats version, it is subtly suggested that Clytemnestra, although being the daughter of Tyndareus, has somehow been traumatized by what the swan has done to her mother. According to many versions of the story, Zeus took the form of a swan and raped or seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched.In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.

 
 

Greco-roman mosaic

 
 

Giovanni Battista

 
 

(atributed to) Leonardo da Vinci

 
 

Raphael

 
 

Virgil Solis

 
 

Cesare da Sesto

 
 

Michelangelo Buonarroti

 
 

Ridolfo Ghirlandaio

 
 

Paolo Veronese

 
 

Peter Paul Rubens

 
 

François-Edouard Picot

 
 

Théodore Géricault

 
 

Giovanni Boldini

 
 

Paul Cézanne

 
 

Gustav Klimt

 
 

Henri Matisse

 
 

Cy Twombly

 
 

Jerzy Hulewicz

 
 

François Boucher

 
 

Gustave Moreau

 
 

Salvador Dalí

 
 

Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto)

 
 

Arturo Michelena

 
 

Fernando Botero

 
 

Constantin Brâncuși

 
 

Frederic Leighton

 
 

Warwick Globe

 
 

Louis Icart

 
 

Sam Taylor Wood

 
 

Helmut Newton

 
 

Joel Peter Witkin

 
 

Kate Moss photographed by Steve Klein

 
 

Derrick Santini

Fashionable Bunnies

Dorian Leigh in a hat by Paulette. Harper’s Bazaar, October, 1949

 
 

Halston black velvet dress with mink trim, 1966. Collection Museum of The City of New York

 
 

Alber Elbaz

 
 

Stella Tenant and Charles Guislain, photographed by Tim Walker, Tim Walker

 
 

Candice Bergen at Truman Capote’s Black-and-White Ball. The Plaza Hotel, New York. November 28, 1966

 
 

Liza Minnelli, Truman Capote and Studio 54 owner, Steve Rubell

 
 

Andy Warhol and Eddie Sedgwick

 
 

Elsa Peretti in a Halston-designed Bunny costume, photographed by Helmut Newton in New York City, 1975

 
 

Lauren Hutton

 
 

Playboy-inspired logo bathing suit

 
 

 Yasmin Le Bon for Ralph Lauren Fall 1985 “Rabbit Hole” ad campaign

 
 

Betsey Johnson

 
 

Reese Whiterspoon in a still from Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic, 2001)

 
 

Hilary Swank. Photo: Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, 2007

 
 

Marc Jacobs. Photo: Craig McDean for the CFDA

 
 

Madonna. Louis Vuitton, 2009 Fall-Winter ad campaign photographed by Steven Meisel.

Lady Gaga in the cover of Neo2 Magazine. September 2009 issue. Photo: Olivier Rauh

 
 

Dita Von Teese

 
 

Beth Ditto

 
 

Emma Watson for Elle UK. November 2011. Photo: Rankin

 
 

Ewan McGregor. Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

 
 

Helena Bonham Carter. The Sunday Times, April 2012

 
 

Carolina Herrera’s Bunny Print dress 2013 Resort Collection