The Influential, Yet Forgotten Martin Munkasci, Part II

The Influential, Yet Forgotten Martin Munkasci, Part II
By Cliff Cheng
The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog
http://www.cliffchengcreates.com
© 2014, 2015 Cliff Cheng
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself. They are the property of their respective owners. Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

Headnote – In the last post we featured Part I of our series on Martin Munkasci. We discussed his background, his early sports photography and photojournalism. In this post we shall finish with his immigration to New York, his fashion and celebrity photography, his rise, decline, death, controversy and restoration.

Immigrating to U.S.

There is again disagreement between Kimmelman, Tuchman, Kessler and Wikipedia on when Munkasci moved from Germany to the United States. Tuchman and Kessler said that on March 21, 1933, Munkasci photographed Hitler taking power from the President of Germany.1,2 “Munkacsi saw the writing on the wall. Within three months, he hightailed it to New York, where his future lay in fashion photography.”3 Wikipedia said that in 1934 the Nazi seized control of Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung.4 Then Munkasci moved to New York. Kimmelman said Munkasci “clearly wasn’t political, or especially clairvoyant.”5 Kimmelman’s account it that Munkasci was visiting New York in late-1933 and was given an assignment, see below, for Harper’s Bazaar; not that he fled Germany due to impending danger from the Nazi regime.6 It was not until a year later he was given a contract with Harper’s Bazaar.7

Harper’s Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar gave Munkasci a $100,000 a year contract as a staff photographer.8 Unfortunately, very little of his work for Harper’s Bazaar is available on the internet.

1934

1934_HB_MartinMunkacsi_1

1935, Summer Evening

1935_MartinMunkacsi_SummerEvening_1

1936, June, Harper’s Bazaar, Peignoir In Soft Breeze

1936.06_HB_MartinMunkacsi_PeignoirInSoftBreeze_1

One of his best known fashion photographs.

Martin Munkasci Shooting

MartinMunkacsi_Selfie_2

Another innovation Munkasci made was the first nude in Harper’s Bazaar, in July of 1935. Since Harper’s Bazaar was at this point in history, the leading fashion magazine, publishing a nude gave nudes a legitimacy it never had before. He would pave the way for Helmut Newton, the young Berliner who was too shy to approach him.

1935, July, Harper’s Bazaar

1935.07_HB_MartinMunkacsi_HealthyBodies_1

1935, July, Harper’s Bazaar, Nude With Parisol

1935.07_HB_MartinMunkacsi_NudeWithParisol_1

Nude With Parisol is reminiscent of what Guy Bourdin would come to do in the 1970s, four decades later. Bill Silano asserted that Bourdin not only copied him but moved from New York to Paris because he was unable to compete with him (see our April 23, 2014). There is a strong possibility that Munkasci influenced Silano, and in-turn influenced Bourdin, or even directly influenced Bourdin.
*
He shot many celebrities of the day.1 Here are a few.

Katherine Hepburn

1935_KatherineHepburn_MartinMunkacsi_1b

Marlene Dietrich

1936-40_MartinMunkacsi__MarleneDietrich_1

Munkasci’s photograph of Marlene Deitrich is unique in that we typically see her being the cold blooded film noir seductress. Here Munkasci has captured a more thoughtful side other photographers have not photographed. There is uncertainty as to when this photograph was made, somewhere between 1936-1940.

Tuchman said Munkasci did not pose his subjects.1 He preferred to – “Let them move about naturally.”2 Kesseler on the other hand said Munkasci did use posing.3

1937_MartinMunkacsi_CaroleLombard_1

This shot of actress Carole Lombard appears to be “posed.” However consider the year, 1937. At the time celebrity portraiture was typically done in studio with large format cameras and hot lights. Munkasci liked shooting outdoors in sunlight. Sunlight enable him to shoot at a faster shutter speed than studio photographers. This enabled subjects to move about more freely and naturally. A casualness and even intimacy were more possible with this technology.

Note Munkasci’s portrayal of women. They are strong and independent. We see Katherine Hepburn with a plane, reminiscent of record breaking pilot Emily Earhart. Leni Renifstahl looks like an world class athlete. Marlene Deitrich is thoughtful. Carole Lombard is show as tan, toned and fit. In this era, prior to the link to cancer, smoking was still thought of as “cool” and even “rebellious.”

*

In 1936, LIFE magazine was bought by Henry Luce, Founder of Time magazine.1 Munkasci was a staff photographer at the newly re-started LIFE magazine.2

1936_LIFE_MartinMunkasci_HarlemitesDoingLindyHop@SavoyBallroom_NY_1

This 1936 LIFE magazine photograph is the only one of Martin Munkasci’s we have – at this point. It is called – Harlemites Doing Lindy Hop at the Savoy Ballroom, New York.

Brief High Point?

 The high point in his career was probably in the early-1940s, as Tuchman says – “By the 1940s, Munkacsi was a celebrity in his own right. He boasted of his big contracts, his penthouse triplex in Tudor City, his extravagant house in Sands Point on Long Island’s North Shore.”1 In Manhattan, his studio address was 5 Tudor Place, one of the most prestigious buildings in NYC; located across from the United Nations in the mid-town eastside Murray Hill Neighborhood.

MartinMunkasci_StudioStamp_2

“In 1936 he earned $100,000, when the average American family was making do on about $4,000. He built a lavish home on Long Island, where his neighbor was the mafia boss Frank Costello, and paintings by Rubens and Tintoretto hung in his living-room.”1 F. C. Gundlach also wrote, Munkasci was the highest paid photographer of his era.2 Kimmelman retorts that Munkasci – “was notoriously self-mythologizing.”3

1940, Munkasci Shooting in Studio

1940_MartinMunkacsi_NY_1

However, all his success is not what it seems. Please read on……

Decline

Tuchman notes the slow decline of Munkasci’s life started with his heart attack in 1943.1 He was 50 years old at this point. Ladies Home Journal gave him a long term assignment to travel across the U.S. to shoot a series called – ”How Americans Live.” The strain – of this assignment may have contributed to his health problems.2 There is also the suggestion, Munkasci’s downfall was financial – due to an extravagant lifestyle and building a lavish home at Sands Point, Long Island, New York.3,4
After World War II, Ladies Home Journal, where Munkasci was a staff photographer was redesigned from being a black and white magazine to a color one.5 His contract for $4,000/month was not renewed due to his inability to adopt to color photography.6 Harper’s Bazaar also did not renew Munkasci’s contract the following year, though Tuchman did not specify it was also for inability to adopt to color.7

Kimmelman asked a rhetorical question:
So what went wrong? Munkacsi suffered a constellation of misfortunes. A daughter died. He separated from his second wife. He moved to Ladies’ Home Journal, where his work suffered. Then he had a heart attack and had to cut back on assignments. His contract at Ladies’ Home Journal wasn’t renewed. He tried screenplays and film. He began his own version of a scrapbook, an autobiography of recycled pictures he hoped to publish but never finished called “The Fabulous World of Munkacsi. After another divorce, alimony payments piled up while he squandered his fortune.8
In 1951 Greenberg Publishing published a book of his photographs called Nudes. Munkasci shot jobs for clients such as Reynolds Aluminum, Ford and King Features.9 He also shot stills on movie sets.10

From the 1940s onward, we were able to find only a few of Munkasci’s pictures that were dated. Here is the only one from the 1950s.

1955

1955_MartinMunkacsi_1

Here are the last 3 dated Munkasci’s pictures we were able to find.

1961, Louis Armstrong

1961_LouisArmstrong_MartinMunkacsi_1

1961, Paris

1961_MartinMunkasci_Paris_1

The circumstances of how he was able to go to Paris a year before his death, when all reports were that he was poor, is an unanswered question.

1962, Harper’s Bazaar, July, Halston (hat designer)

1962.07_HB_Halston_MartinMunkasci_1

Munkasci was probably able to see his picture above before he died on the 13th of July, 1962. This was his last published picture.1 The pose is innovative for the early-1960s. In this period models typically were posed stiffly.
Death

On July 13, 1963, Munkasci died of a heart attack.2,3 He was attending a soccer game on Randall’s Island, Long Island, New York.4,5 At the time of his death he was 67 years old and resided in New York City.6
Tuchman said at death was “practically destitute and all but forgotten.”7 Joan Munkasci said her father pawned his cameras to buy her birthday presents.8 Joan was only 15 at the time.9 Davies writes – “When he died in 1963, aged 67, his ex-wife found his apartment virtually empty, only a half-eaten tin of spaghetti in the refrigerator, the fork still in it.”10

“Controversy”

There are differing versions surrounding his death. Wikipedia says of his situation at death – “Munkácsi died in poverty and controversy. Several universities and museums declined to accept his archives, and they were scattered around the world.”11 Unfortunately, Wikipedia did not elaborate on the nature of the controversy.12 Whatever this alleged ”controversy” was, it is now 51 years after his death. It is likely that almost all, if not all the people involved in this so-called “controversy” are no longer alive.
Tuchman’s obituary, she did not mention any “controversy.”13 Unfortunately Tuchman is no longer alive and therefore can not be asked if there was a “controversy.” Next, I attempted to contact the curators of the Intentional Center of Photography (ICP) Munkasci’s exhibit – Erin Barnett and Carol Squiers of the ICP staff, and Dr. Sandra S. Phillips of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, to inquire about this alleged controversy.14 My telephone calls and emails were not responded to. I also attempted to contact Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times whose article is cited in this article and was not replied to. Sebastian Lux of the F.C. Gundlach Foundation, Hamburg, Germany, did not know of any “controversy.”15 Mr. Lux referred me to the copyright owner of Munkasci’ work, the widower of Joan Munkasci’s late daughter, Mr. Lester Nafzger. I wrote Mr. Nafzger an email and was not replied to.16,17 I asked Munkasci’s gallery, the Howard Greenberg Gallery for assistance in reaching Mr. Nafzger but they said he was not available.
Sarah Kessler of the Jewish Daily Forward pointed me to Davies’ (2011) article. Davies wrote:
In May 1939 his second wife sued him for divorce. (He had divorced his first wife, a dancer, in 1926 after discovering she had secretly educated their son in Catholicism despite promising to raise him as a Jew.) Shortly afterwards his daughter died of Leukemia. Ladies’ Home Journal then asked him to drive all over the country for their ‘How America Lives’ series, and his work began to suffer under the strain. After 65 features in six years, his contract was terminated, and soon he suffered his first heart attack. He married again, divorced again, and while the settlements piled up he spent his remaining savings trying his hand at films.18
51 years is indeed a long time! It is common for people to have a divorce or two or even three in recent decades. A child dying is tragic – so is not grieving the loss. Perhaps Munkasci did not grieve properly before launching into a demanding journey all over America? Having a heart attack due to a stressful job is unfortunate but hardly extraordinary. So far, there is no indication this so-called “controversy” is related to Munkasci as a professional.
If Munkasci’s somewhat “messy” personal life were to have occurred in the 2000s and later, he would have been given a reality TV show.19 A reality TV show star, who has no particular talent other than having a messy personal life was recently put on the cover of Vogue. Fashion photographer Terry Richardson has not only been accused of sexual harassment by models for years, which he denies, he has been at the center of a media story that includes a petition signed by over 34,000 people asking major brands to stop hiring him. https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/big-brands-stop-using-alleged-sex-offender-pornographic-terry-richardson-as-your-photographer.20,21 Munkasci’s problems were personal. The allegations against Mr. Richardson are about his supposed professional conduct with models during shoots over the past decade or so. The media controversy and the petition have apparently caused some clients to stop booking Richardson but he continues shooting for not only GQ but Harper’s Bazaar as well. Ironically, Munkasci was loitering in the hallways of the offices of Harper’s Bazaar trying to get an assignment.22

Restoration Begins

It was decades after his death that Munkasci’s work began to be appreciated. The Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City, Munkasci’s dealer, has had shows for his work in 1985, 1992, and 2009.23 In 1992, The Aperture Foundation published a monograph written by Susan Morgan called – “Martin Munkasci.”24
In 2007, the International Center of Photography located 300 of Munkasci’s pictures and showed 150 of them – http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/munkacsis-lost-archive.25,26 After the show ended, an individual in Connecticut offered 4,000 Munkasci’s negatives on eBay.com for the price of $1M.27 ICP and Joan Munkasci bought the collection for an undisclosed amount.28
In 2009, the Center for Photography, Woodstock, New York, had an exhibit of Munkasci’s work http://www.cpw.org/past-exhibitions/munkacsi/.
The events above are important to restoring Munkasci’s place in the history of fashion photography but they are only a beginning…..
In closing, in the words of Avedon – “He was the first. He did it first, and today the world of what is called fashion is peopled by Munkacsci’s babies, his heirs. It was my first lesson in photography, and there were many lessons after, all learned from Munkasci, though I never met him.” Harper’s Bazaar, August, 1963

Postscript: Death, Inheritance and Copyright Conveyance

While the question of how much ICP paid for the collection is important, there are more basic questions that need to be asked. When the photographs of a deceased photographer emerge in the hands of a third party, a determination of ownership is warranted. How did the individual offering Munkasci’s photographs for sale on eBay get them? Who was the legal owner of the physical negatives and their copyright?29 Did Martin Munkasci even own all of the negatives? Since he was a staff photographer at various publications at various times in his career, did he sign a work-for-hire agreement? Did he convey his rights in his will, if he left one, or at any other time? It is unfortunate but it often happens that a photographer will die and there will be problems such as this.
Photographers are advised to plan for their passing so their photographs and legacy is not left in a state such as Munkasci left his.

The lingering questions of how Munkasci’s photographs ended up in the hands of an unidentified third party and other recent cases leads me to ask what would likely happen in a scenario such as this?
A Photographer dies. Photographer was estranged from their child who is now an adult. The ex-spouses have already died. Photographer had no live siblings or parents, or others with can credibly make a claim against their estate. Photographer left a will conveying all of their possession and expressly photographs to their estranged child – who can not be located. The photos and other possessions were in Photographer’s rented apartment. The photographer was destitute and unable to keep up rental payments. Several thousand dollars of back rent are owed is owed to Landlord at the time of death. As per an agreement signed by Photographer, Landlord took possession of the contents of the locker and sold them at auction to pay back rent, interest and handling fees. All the contents of the apartment were bought by a professional Salvage Operator who now had physical ownership of the achieve. Due to the extraordinary talent of the photographer, publicity was generated once the Salvage Operator started selling books and prints of the work, the long lost child read an article in the newspaper comes forth and asserts, based on the will, copyright ownership as per the will and further makes a claim on the profits from the book and print sales. The Salvage Operator counter claims both physical and copyright ownership. A legal battle ensues.

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Acknowledgements

The better articles are not written in a library without communication to the larger industry which they are about. Thank you Alica Colen and Sarah Kessler for your help with this article. Thank you Bonnie Freeman for your proofreading!

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About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away. Please visit his website http://www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.) He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky. Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

____________________________________________________________
Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog
http://www.cliffchengcreates.com
© 2014, 2015 Cliff Cheng
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Influential, Yet Forgotten Martin Munkasci, Part I

The Influential, Yet Forgotten Martin Munkasci, Part I

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014, 2015 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself. They are the property of their respective owners. Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

Introduction

After our May 27, 2014 article on Martin Munkasci 1934 puddle jump shot – comments were received asking who is Martin Munkasci? This week we shall answer. Munkasci was a sports, aerial, fashion and celebrity photographer and journalist.1 He worked in Hungary, Germany and New York from the 1920s to 1960s.

There is some uncertainity about his identification that we must first attempt to clear up. While there is agreement on his birthday, May 18, 1896, there is disagreement on his place of birth and the spelling of his birth name. According to the Getty Research Database, he was born in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.2 Wikipedia says he was born in Kolosvar, Hungary on.3 Tuchman says it was Transylvania, which is a region in the country of Romania.4 The Getty Research and Luminous Lint Databases both says his name was – “Martin Marmorstein.”5 Wikipedia reports his birth name as – “Mermelstein Marton.”6 Kimmelman and Tuchman said his name was – “Morton Mermelstein.”7 It is unknown when he changed his name to – Martin Munkasci.8 He had a younger brother Muky Munkasci who was a celebrity portrait photographer.9

His importance in the history of fashion photography is not in his fashion pictures that are well known to the present generation – although they are worthy to be known, which is why we have written this article. His importance lies in the number of great photographers who acknowledge that he influenced them – Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, to name a few. Avedon and Newton are 2 of the 3 Great Masters of Fashion Photography. Cartier-Bresson is often regarded as the most influential photojournalist. Avedon consistent ranks as the most influential photographer of all time (see our April 21, 2014 article). When photographers of this caliber all say Martin Munkasci was an influence on them, his work merits a closer look.

Davies even gives Munkasci the title of – The Father of Fashion Photography.10 He certainly is one of the central pioneers of fashion and sports photography. To call him the one and only “Father of Fashion Photography” would require extensive research to rule out other possibilities.

5 Well-Known Photographs

Let us discuss 5 well-known Munkasci photographs before we go further. “Well-known” is a relative term. The case maybe these photos are better known than the photographer who made them.

In May of 1977, Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote:

I saw a photograph of three black children running into the sea, and I must say that it is that very photograph which was for me the spark that set fire to the fireworks. It is only that one photograph which influenced me. There is in that image such intensity, spontaneity, such a joy of life, such a prodigy, that I am still dazzled today.11

1930

1930_MartinMunkasci_BoysRunningIntoSurf_LakeTanganyika,Zambia_112

Cartier-Bresson changed careers from being a painter to a photographer after seeing this photograph.13,14it made me realise that photography could reach eternity through the moment… I said, “Damn it,” I took my camera and went out into the street.”15

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1931, The Dance Team of Tibor Von Halmay and

Vera Mahlke Having a Coffee Break, Berlin16

1931_MartinMunkasci_DanceTeam OfTiborVonHalmay&VeraMahlke_2

The negative of this shot is often on display at exhibits of Munkasci’s work to prove it was shot in-camera since people are often astounded that someone can dance up a wall.

*

1933, Harper’s Bazaar, Lucile Brokaw On A Long Island Beach

The photo below is Munkasci’s first Harper’s Bazaar assignment. Kessler wrote that –

His first assignment (for Harper’s Bazaar) was a bathing suit reshoot with socialite model Lucile Brokaw. Munkacsi headed to the beach on Long Island and had Brokaw run toward the camera, cape flying in the wind — a classic example of Munkacsi’s knack for photographing an everyday location that, by studied placement of subject and angle, became a new stage.17

Davies continues:

On a blustery November day in 1933 Carmel Snow, the recently appointed editor at Harper’s Bazaar, brought a little-known Hungarian photographer to Piping Rock beach on Long Island to shoot a swimwear spread. ‘The day was cold and unpleasant,’ she recalled in her memoirs, ‘not at all auspicious for a “glamorous resort” picture. I was shivering in sympathy with poor Lucile.’…As Lucile stood trembling in the gauzy cape and suit, Snow began to despair: ‘The photographer didn’t speak a word of English; his friend seemed to take forever to interpret.’ The photographer began making ‘wild gestures’ with his arms. ‘What does he want?’ Snow asked, but Lucile understood, and began running towards him.

At that moment Martin Munkácsi (pronounced moon-kashi) took the picture that would make both his career, and photographic history. Until then fashion was a staged affair, using mannequin-like models in a musty studio. Here, on Lucile’s face, her chin stretched resolutely forward, was a genuine, breathless grin, matched in ebullience by the triumphant billowing of the cape behind her. ‘This was never done before,’ Snow wrote. ‘This was the first big innovation I introduced to Harper’s Bazaar .’18,19

1933.12_HB_MartinMucakasi_LucileBrokawOnALongIs.Bch_1d20

An 11 year old boy living in the New York City saw this picture.21 It inspired him so that he tore the picture out of Harper’s Bazaar and pasted it to the ceiling above his bed.22 He recalled later that as an 11year old – the women in Munkasci’s photographs – “[strode] parallel to the sea, unconcerned with his camera, freed by his dream of them, leaping straight-kneed across my bed.”23 That little boy’s name was Richard Avedon.24 Further he said – “He brought a taste for happiness and beauty and a love of women, to what was, before him, a joyless lying art.” Richard Avedon, Harper’s Bazaar, August, 196325

Cook suggests that Munkasci “innovation” was unintentional, that he did as he always did in sports photography.26

It should be noted that prior to World War II, fashion magazines often asked socialites to model. Being a model was not entirely respectable in some circles. Socialites had more legitimacy due to their higher social standing.

We will discuss his sports photography in a few pages.

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In our May 27, 2014 article, we discussed Martin Munkasci and his 1934 puddle jump shot.

April, 1934, Harper’s Bazaar

1934.04_HB_MartinMunkasci_JumpingThePuddle_1

We showed his original 1934 shot (see above) and Richard Avedon’s 1957 homage with the model Carmen dell’Orefice. Then we showed Bill Cunningham’s spontaneous journalistic 1986 picture in which he caught Carmen jumping a puddle on a rainy day in New York City.27 Lastly, we showed Elliott Erwitt’s romantic Paris homage to Munkasci made in 1989.

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His 1936 photo of Fred Astaire dancing is definitive.28

1936_FredAstaire_MartinMucakasi_1b

Photojournalism and Sports Photography

In 1913, at age 17, Munkasci was hired as a sports reporter for Az Est magazine.29 When World War I started, he became a photographer for Az Est (The Evening) using a camera he made himself.30 He was a self-taught photographer.31 There is no information available about his inspirations and his early years.32

In 1923, Munkasci was shooting on the streets, location unknown, and photographed a person being killed.33 Those photographs became important evidence in the subsequent murder trial.34 Munkasci became famous as a result of the trial.35,36 That photograph is apparently unavailable today.37

1923, Motorcyclist, Budapest

1923_MartinMunkacsi_Motorcyclist_Budapest_1

In 1923, this shot was considered innovative. Film emulsions were slow. The freeze action, especially a splash requires a faster shutter speed. In order to freeze action, sports photography was often done in daylight. He used a “4×5 reflex camera by Adams of London for portraits and a 4×5 speed graphic camera for the outdoors.”38

Not only did Munkasci master the technical component, he added the artistic element with his framing. Munkasci shot at innovative angles.39 His fellow photographers even called him “Crazy Angle Munkasci.40

Here is an eyelevel shot from his Goalkeeper series in 1928.

1928_MartinMunkacsi_Goalkeeper,Budapest_7

Even by today’s standards this would be considered a good shot. He captured the goalie breaking his fall with one arm and two-legs in-the-air. The limbs are sharp by the standards of that day.41 There is just enough dust to indicate motion in the ball. The ball is distorted and softly focused due to motion blur but this is acceptable given that the Goalie is airborne.

Here is a shot reminiscent of Eadweard (Edward) Muybridge’s 1878 horse in motion series.42

1929_MartinMunkacsi_TheBedouinEgypt_1

Here is another of Munkasci’s earliest surviving shots. A high angle shot such as this was innovative for 1927 when this picture was shot in Palmero, Sicily.

1927_MartinMunkacsi_TheHappyFamily–ThePoorRelative_1

What he did with these and other sports photos would later be applied to his fashion photography. Here is a fashion photo for Harper’s Bazaar, photographed at the World’s Fair, September 1938, that best shows the “crazy angle.”

1938.09_HB_MartinMunkacsi_NY-WorldFair_1

Seeing this shot, one wonders if Bill Silano, the subject of our April 23, 2014 article was influenced by Munkasci? We asked Silano’s protégé, fashion photographer Christian Di Lalla if there was an influence. Christian said he did not recall Silano mentioning him.

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In 1927, Munkacsi was 31.43 He immigrated to Berlin, Germany.44 1928, Munkacsi become a staff photographer at Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung (BIZ), a picture magazine with 2M subscribers.45 He also shot for the German fashion magazine Die Dame.46 He shot 3 covers for BIZ – “aloft in the dining room of the dirigible Graf Zeppelin; another with Greta Garbo’s legs appearing beneath a large, striped beach umbrella; and a third of Leni Riefenstahl on skies when she was acting in mountain-themed movies”.47

1931, Leni Riefenstahl48

1931_VU_MartinMunkasci_LeniReifenstahl_1

1932, On Holiday With Greta Garbo

1932_MartinMunkasci_OnHolidayWithGretaGarbo_2

Munkasci worked in Berlin from 1927-1934. His studio was near the home of a sickly young German Jewish boy named – “Helmut Neufstadler.”49 This young boy was fascinated by photography and the work of Munkasci.50 He would spy on Munkasci because he was too shy to approach him.51 Due to WWII and his family’s escape from Hitler, that young boy would later change his name to – “Helmut Newton.”52

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Please visit us next month for Part II of this series in which we will discuss and show Martin Munkasci’s work after he immigrated to the U.S. to be a Harper’s Bazaar, LIFE and Ladies Home Journal Staff Photographer, his rise, fall, death, controversy and restoration.

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About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away. Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.) He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky. Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

____________________________________________________________

Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014, 2015 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

4 Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci. Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html.

6 Ibid.

7 Kimmelman, Michael. (2007). The innovator and master, side by side. New York Times. Jan. 19. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/arts/design/19munk.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0. Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci, Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html.

8 Tuchman (2009) says, Munkasci’s father changed the name to “Munkacs,” a variation of the name of a village in Hungary. There is suggestion that the name change was to avoid discrimination based on his Jewish ethnicityhttp://www.anothermag.com/current/view/1218/Martin_Munk%C3%A1csi.

11 Ibid.

12 Regrettably, a larger version of this picture was not found on the internet.

13 Ibid.

14 Tuchman (2009) noted that unbeknownst to Cartier-Bresson, Munkasci had cropped the photo. Cropping was against Cartier-Bresson’s concept of the decisive moment. Kessler (2009) said Cartier-Bresson kept this photo on his desk for the rest of his life.

15 Ibid.

16 Different sources give different names for this photograph.

17 () added.

19 There is a discrepancy in dates. Davies (2011) cites Snow as recalling the photograph was taken in Nov. 1933. Beetles & Huxley, the London photography dealer, sells this photograph with the caption Dec. 1933, Harper’s Bazaar http://www.beetlesandhuxley.com/gallery/photographs/lucile-brokaw-harpers-bazaar-december-1933.html. While it is possible to shoot a picture and have it in next magazine month’s issue, it is unlikely. A typical lead time is 3 months in the technology they had in this period. Most magazine print and mail an issue well in advanced of the month it is slated to come out in so subscribers have it days or even a week or more before the beginning of month. One of these sources may have an incorrect date.

20 Unfortunately, we could not find a larger version of this photograph on the internet.

21 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Avedon. Davies, Lucy. (2011). Martin Munkasci: Father of Fashion Photography. Telegraph. July 3. http://www.anothermag.com/current/view/1218/Martin_Munk%C3%A1csi.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Ibid.

25 Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci, Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html

26 Cook, Fiona. (2011). Martin Munkasci. AnOther. July 13. http://www.anothermag.com/current/view/1218/Martin_Munk%C3%A1csi.

27 Bill Cunningham started the specialty of – Street Fashion Photography. See our May 5, 2014 article.

28 Ibid.

29 Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci, Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html.

30 Ibid.

31 Kimmelman, Michael. (2007). The innovator and master, side by side. New York Times. Jan. 19. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/19/arts/design/19munk.html?pagewanted=print&_r=0.

32 We contacted the Center for Photography, Woodstock, New York, in hopes of obtaining a copy of an article that the late-Joan Munkasci wrote about her father in the Center’s defunct journal Photography Quarterly, 54. The Center did not reply. We were hoping that article, entitled – “The Man Who Loved Women,” would shed light on Munkasci’s beginnings as well as other missing pieces in his history.

33 Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci, Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html.

34 Ibid.

36 Tuchman (2009) reported than after seeing the Michelangelo Antonioni movie Blow-up, (1966) in which the lead character, a fashion photographer inadvertently photographs a murder, Munkacsi’s widow remarked the stole the plot from her husband.

37 Copyright Owner Lynn Nafzger did not reply to my inquiry. Munkasci’s dealer, The Howard Greenberg Gallery told me they do not have a copy and Mr. Nafzger was unavailable for interview.

38 Tuchman, Phyllis. (2009). Martin Munkasci, Obit-magazine. June. http://mastersofphotography.blogspot.com/2011/06/martin-munkacsi.html

40 https://www.blogger.com/profile/12174358381421657827. We are unable to find other sources which also say this was his nickname.

41 It appears sharp based on the small (103kb) jpeg we have access to.

43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

47 Ibid. Greta Garbo was a popular actress in silent and talking pictures. Leni Riefenstahl was a brilliant documentary filmmaker and commercial photographer whose documentaries about the Nazis made her highly controversial figure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHs2coAzLJ8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TI6yIo-tcc. She was also a good friend of Helmut Newton.

48 It is uncertain if this is the photo is one of the photos referenced. This photo says – UV. It does not say – Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. The following cover says the later. The photo maybe not be a cover. We lack a translation into English. We are mentioning the highly controversial Riefenstahl as a matter of history. The reader is asked to refrain from projecting his/her political interpretations into her mention.

49 Newton, Helmut. (2003). Autobiography. New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday.

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid.

3 Views of North By Northwest: Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber: Part III: Producing

3 Views of North By Northwest:

Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber:

Part III: Producing

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

Introduction

This is the last in a series of three articles, comparing remake versions of the crop duster attack scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 movie – North By Northwest, www.cliffchengcreates.com.

1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_1

In article one, we introduced Hitchcock’s original and remakes by Helmut Newton (1969, British Vogue, Willy van Rooy, model)

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_3

and Art Streiber (Vanity Fair, 1999 and 2008).

Ernest Lehman, Screenwriter, North by Northwest (nominated for Oscar)

1999.04_VanityFair_ErnestLehman_ArtStreiber_1

Seth Rogen

2008_VanityFair_SethRogen_ArtStrieber_1

There was another remake, by Martin Schoeller with actor Hugh Jackman for Entertainment Weekly in 2003 that we have not included in this series. Scholler was non-responsive to attempts to reach and interview him through his agent and via Art Streiber.  His agent was sent a link to Article 1 in this series and again asked to participate.  There was still no answer.

Article Two discussed The Talent, The Crew and Technique.

In this article we will discuss producing.  We found 4 remakes by fashion and celebrity photographers shooting editorials.  Finding old ads is much more difficult as they are not as well archived as fashion editorial and celebrity photographs.  There is no central database to reference.  There are collectors who have private archives.  Many of them are on social media.  Almost none of the collectors collect general advertising.  One would be wise to assume that remakes have been made by general advertising photographer but have not been saved.  If they were saved, they are not on an accessible site on the internet.  As we noted in our first article, remakes have also been in the forms of other movies as well as kids doing a remake in their backyard.  In short, there is a great deal of interest in remakes and this will likely continue.  An article on producing this kind of shot is warranted.  We will discuss both history and producing together.

There are 3 major expense components to producing a low flying aircraft shot such as the remakes we have been discussing in this series:

  • Routine Production Fees and Expenses – these are typical of any shoot. The degree to which these expenses are incurred will vary widely.  Helmut Newton traveled very lightly.  He often traveled the world with one assistant and one camera bag, much like an annual report photographer.  There are photographers on the other hand who insist on having large crews and lots of equipment.  We will not discuss these fees and expenses for they are more general in nature than is our purpose in this series.
  • Celebrity Expenses – These expenses can vary widely depending on the celebrity. Some celebrities will ride-up by themselves on their Harley without an entourage. Other celebrities will bring along a full entourage, Personal Assistants, Interns, Publicist, Managers, Agents, Lawyers, Boyfriends/Girlfriends, bodyguards, various others, pets……  The later will require you to provide extra facilities and food.  You may have to rent a larger studio to accommodate the entourage.  We will also not discuss these expenses for this topic is also outside our purview.
  • Aviation Expenses – we will discuss these expenses.

Sample Budget

What would the additional aviation expenses?  Normal production expenses involving regular personnel, rentals and expenses are excluded from this estimate.

Aviation Coordinator/Ground Controller, Pilot, Airplane    $8,000 to $26,000

Water Truck & Operator                                                           $800 to $855

$8,800 to $26,855

Optional:

Insurance for Airplane Owner                                                            $1,000

Insurance for Photographer                                                                $6,000

$7,000

We will cover insurance in the coming pages.

Real Cases

Let us discuss real cases before returning to the budget.  Here is the second of Helmut Newton’s behind-the-scenes stills.  As you can see the airplane is flying towards him as he is in a fixed position standing on top of his camera case.  Model Willy van Rooy was in-between the plane and Helmut.  The plan was for the airplane to turn last second to avoid hitting Willy, Helmut and his Assistant, and the Editor and then crashing.[1]

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Helmut wrote in his autobiography – “He (the pilot) warned me that he could only make a right-hand turn at the end of the field.  In the excitement I gave him the wrong signal.  When he landed he was furious – he had followed my instruction and practically crashed.  He showed me the grass on the tip of his plane”.[2]

Grass on the tip of the plane, means the plane made contact with the ground.  There was factually a collision between the aircraft and the ground.  However, the pilot did not lose control and crash.  The plane could have exploded.  In our interview, Willy said the pilot had told her, he was unable to see her and how low he was flying.[3]  I asked Art Streiber’s 1999 remake’s Aviation Coordinator Kevin LaRosa if the bi-plane’s design make it hard for the pilot to see.  He said no and questioned the pilot’s competency.[4]  Patlin’s view is that the engine obstructed the pilot’s vision.[5]

It is extremely fortunate for the pilot, Willy, Helmut and his Assistant, the Editor and the Pilot that a more serious collision did not occur and cause their injury or death.  A fashion photograph is not worth injury or death.  For the history of fashion photography, if Helmut’s career had ended at this point, due to his permanent injury or death or if he survived, and no one would hire him because of the accident, he would not have gone on to become the Helmut Newton we know today.  It was not until the early 1970s, after his cardiac episode, that he started shooting the work that would make him one of the three great masters of fashion photography.

Both of Art Streiber’s remakes, 1999 and 2008, did not result in accidents.  He hired Aviation Coordinators on both shoots (more later).  In the first shoot, his subject was standing fixed, as was he as the plane flew towards them.  In the second shoot, all three elements were moving. Art shot from the back of a flatbed truck while Seth Rogen ran and the plane was flying towards them.  I asked LaRosa, if one of these methods was safer than the other.[6]  He said they are the same.[7]  Patlin had a similar opinion, but added that Helmut standing on the camera case gave the pilot a good visual point of reference.[8]  Both Aviation Coordinators emphasized good radio communication between Pilot and Ground Controller are needed.

Elaine Browne (photo), Used With Permission

2008_VanityFair_SethRogen_ElaineBrowne(ph)_1

I asked Art Streiber if he took out a rider on his insurance or even took out a special policy due to the danger of working with low-flying aircraft.[9]  He had not and was unsure of Vanity Fair had.[10]  Insurance will be dealt with in greater detail in the coming pages.

Way Down East, 1920

Director D. W. Griffith, placed actress Lillian Gish on an ice flow and sent her into Niagara Falls while filming her.[11]  A fire had to be built to keep the camera from freezing.[12]  Griffith’s face froze.[13]  Gish was seriously injured and unconscious.  This incident was cited by the Judge in the Twilight Zone accident as an example of Hollywood’s unwillingness to learn from its mistakes.

Twilight Zone Accident, 1983

Although Helmut Newton lucked out and did not have a full crash, actors Vic Morrow and two children were killed, plus 6 other people were injured on July 12, 1983 during the filming of the motion picture – The Twilight Zone movie directed by John Landis, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_Zone:_The_Movie.  .[14],[15]  This was the worse low-flying aircraft filming incident in Hollywood history.[16],[17]  The two child actors were hired illegally.  They did not have the required permits, and work illegal hours.  Children are not allowed to work at 2am.  They are also not allowed to work near pyrotechnics.[18]

In the shot, Morrow was rescuing 2 children from an attacking helicopter.  The helicopter was hovering 25ft. off the ground above pyrotechnics which were set off as part of the shot.[19]  Instead, the explosion caused the tail of the helicopter to break off.[20]  The pilot lost control, spun and plunged to the ground killing the 3 actors in a gruesome manner.[21]  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru6I9Cc9XnE   Landis reportedly ignored warnings prior to the accident.[22], [23]

1982.07.24_TwilightZone_Accident_1

A few months before the accident, the United States Federal Aviation Administration issued regulations covering only fixed-wing aircraft used for filming.[24] After the accident, rotary winged aircraft were covered.[25]  Apparently these regulations cover motion and television filming, and not commercial still photography.[26] Since the accident:

The most comprehensive safety manual is the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) Safety Manual for Television and Feature Production – http://domesticproduction.com/iipp/PRODUCTION%20SAFETY%20MANUAL%202013.pdf

Midnight Rider – Accident, 2014

SarahJones_2

There was another accident that caused a death during production – earlier this year.  Second Camera Assistant Sarah Jones was killed by a train on Feb. 20, 2014 during production of the low-budget independent feature film Midnight Rider.[27],[28]  A Grand Jury in Georgia has indicted Producers – Randall Miller, Jody Savin and Jay Sedrish on criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.[29],[30],[31] Miller was also the Director.[32],[33]  Producers did not obtain a permit to film on a trestle outside of Doctortown, in Wayne County, Georgia over the Atamaha River.[34],[35]

SarahJones_Bridge_2

For a dream scene, the crew was ordered to place a heavy metal hospital bed on the trestle.[36] “The trestle’s wood and metal bottom was covered with pebbles and had gaping holes in some places. The blustery wind rang through the girders, making it hard to stay steady” according to hair stylist Joyce Gilliard.”[37]

The tracks were active and being used by trains since no permit was obtained.  The safety plan was that people would have 60 seconds to clear the tracks if a train appeared.[38]  Two trains had gone by.[39]  Gillard, 46 years old, asked if anymore trains were expect and was told – no.[40]

A train did come.[41]  Director Randy Miller ordered people to – run.[42]  Jones attempted to save several bags of expensive camera equipment which were draped over her shoulders.[43]  Jones’ nickname was “The Ant,” for her ability to life heavy objects much larger than her.[44] Gillard and others yelled at her to drop the equipment but she persisted in her attempt to save the gear.[45] Miller and a crew member attempted to and failed to remove the bed from the tracks – so there would not be a train derailment.[46] “The only viable escape route to the closest shore lay in running toward the approaching train, now traveling, by one estimate, at almost 60 mph. Gilliard tried to make her way onto the metal gangplank parallel to the tracks.”[47]  Jones was killed and  6 others were injured, including Gillard.[48]  Jones was 27 years old and a film student at the College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.[49]

Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia, opened investigations and later said Jones death was a negligent homicide.[50]  Not only was there no permit, Location Manager Charlie Baxter had sought a permit and were denied by CSX; the owner of the train, tracks, trestle, land and easement – Carla Groleau representing CSX.[51] The Producers went ahead and shot anyway.[52] Further, there was no Rail Safety Coordinator, no on-set Medic, no safety instructions on the Call Sheet.[53],[54]

Miller had attempted to restart filming of “Midnight Rider” in LA.  Gregg Allman had sent Miller a letter pleading with him not to resume production.[55]  Allman said to Miller – “Your desires as a filmmaker should not outweigh your obligations as a human being…I am asking you to do the right thing and to set aside your attempts to resume the production out of respect for Sarah, her family and the loss that all of us feel so deeply.”  When Miller persisted, Allman sued the producers for their failure to timely make the movie of his life.[56]  Allman did not want his reputation to be damaged by his association with the Producers of Midnight Rider.[57],[58]  At trial, Miller testified he did not know if a permit had been obtained to shoot on the train tracks.[59]  He said it was other people’s job to deal with permits and safety.[60]  He also stated he was told by Rayonier, the owner of the property adjacent to the train tracks, that here would be no more trains that day.[61]  Miller also said Allman, contrary to what he public stated, knew they were shooting on the train tracks.[62]  Allman and the Producers settled out of court.  Producers relinquished their story rights.[63]

The star of the film William Hurt withdrew from the film.[64] Sarah Jones parents are suing the Producers.[65]

On July 13, 2014, Miller and Savin, surrendered and were charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.[66]

140713_BookingPhots_JodySavin_RandallMiller_1

They plead not guilty and were released after posting a $27,000 bond.[67]  Miller and Savin’s lawyer, Don Samuel gave their statement that – “We never had criminal intent. We never would knowingly or intentionally put anybody’s safety at risk.”[68] Jay Sedrish surrendered on July 17, 2014.[69], [70]

140717_BookingPhoto_JaySedrish_1

He was also booked on involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass.[71]

A conviction of involuntary manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years under Georgia law.[72]  Criminal trespass can result in up to one year in jail.[73]  “Jones’ parents filed a civil suit against Miller, Allman, the production companies involved with the film and the operators of the trains and owners of the land that the incident occurred on, accusing them of wrongful death through negligence.”[74],[75]

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed an unnamed insurance industry veteran who pointed out even if the production company bought a standard insurance package, policies have limits and an exclusion for gross negligence, such as shooting on a live railroad track without a permit.[76] An unnamed source told The Hollywood Reporter there is likely no completion bond.[77]  This leaves suing the Producers to be the only recourse for investors.[78]

Here is a picture of Sarah (on the left) doing her job in an earlier production.[79]

SarahJones&Unkwn_1

*

The safety resources named above are available for still photographers.  Since still photography is unregulated and un-unionized, and anyone can, and does, call themselves a “photographer.”  There is a wide range of experience and skill levels.  Even having a degree in photography from  an expensive art school does not mean one knows how to operate safely.  When one assists, hopefully one learns some basics about safely handing grip gear and so on, but this does not prepare one for safety with stunts and low flying aircraft or trains.  The later requires trained and experienced professionals who have a history of success with those kinds of stunts.

Experienced Team

Low flying aircraft shots are dependent on the right Aviation Coordinator, Ground Controller and Pilot and airplane combination. [80]  I asked Art Streiber’s second remake’s Aviation Coordinator, Mike Patlin, what he people like him do for a living:

They coordinate all the aerial assets i.e. camera ship, story ship, etc., in order to get what the script calls for. Specifically they coordinate all the communications and direction, acting mostly as the 1st AD but confined to aviation aspects. They also do the necessary paperwork for the FAA – usually a plan of activities which is required by the FAA is filming an aircraft. In my case, I also source and manage the story/ picture ships and flight crew. A “ground controller” can be the Aerial Coordinator but could also be the ground safety coordinator that works as an assistant to the Aerial Coordinator especially if the AC is part of a flight crew.[81],[82]

They also do the breakdown for the aviation parts of a layout/storyboard/script and write-up a budget for the aviation aspects while working with the Producer/Unit Production Manager on the overall budget.  From there they take part in discussions/negotiations to determine what the shot that will be put into production will be and what it will cost.   Further, they coordinate the clearances needed to do a safe and legal shot.  Also Aviation Coordinators coordinate the safety zone, see next sections.  And they determine if additional safety personnel and equipment are needed, see next sections.

The Aviation Coordinator came into being as part of the motion picture industry’s safety reforms:

The Twilight Zone crash showed a glaring issue with safety as there really weren’t any standard or guidelines to go by and people – whether production or flight crew- pretty much did what they wanted. Sometimes good sense was not part of the formula. The FAA mandated a SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) manual AKA “Movie Manual” that would address exactly how aviation assets were to be used and how aerial sequences could proceed. These manuals were formulated from the FAA guidelines and consider the regulations so he aerial sequences can be performed with safety as the paramount issue.[83]

Please see the safety links in the previous section.

An Aviation Coordinator may employ a separate Ground Controller, as called Ground Safety Coordinator.  They are the ground based assistant to the Aviation Coordinator.  If the Aviation Coordinator is flying, s/he will likely need to hire a Ground Controller to be in radio communication with the Pilot, and relay to the Photographer/Director/1st Assistant Director, and talent.  They keep the Pilot on mark and tell the pilot when to turn and adjust speed.  However, in the case of Streiber’s two remakes, the shot was small enough, that the Aviation Coordinator could also be the Ground Controller.  Helmut Newton, as he said attempted to be his own Ground Controller, while he was also shooting and directing.  This was an unsuccessful decision as a collision ensued.

How does a commercial photographer go about finding a good Aviation Coordinator?  I started with my network.  Dan Wolfe, a talent advertising photographer who I first met in the 1970s, later started a highly successful company that rents aircraft for filming http://wolfeair.com/.[84]  Dan referred me to Aviation Coordinator Kevin LaRosa, http://www.kevinlarosa.com/.  Then I found out LaRosa, was the Aviation Coordinator on Art Streiber’s first remake.

In talking to LaRosa, he referred me to aviation insurer Transport Risk Management, Mr. Terry Miller, President http://www.transportrisk.com/index.html.  Mr. Miller only insurers Aviation Coordinators that have a proven safety track record working with pilots and aircraft that have similar records.  Mr. Miller added he mainly insures members of the Motion Picture Pilots Assn. http://www.moviepilots.com/.  Both LaRosa and Streiber’s 2008 Aviation Coordinator Mike Patlin are members – http://www.moviepilots.com/membermain2.htm.  Art Streiber put together an experienced team.  We will discuss insurance in the coming pages.

The Aviation Coordinator often rents an airplane and if necessary has it painted, as well as hires the pilot, or may even pilot the plane himself.

I asked Mr. Patlin:

  • How can a commercial photographer best work with an Aviation Coordinator and Pilot?  “The more information we have to start with – especially script and or storyboards- the better a position we’re in as we can “get” what the photographer is after. Also – best for the aviation crew to be included in the location scout as things like obstacles, terrain, buildings, and the proximity of the non-participating public can affect the ability to function as the job requires.”[85]
  • What are the major pre-production tasks to make a successful low flying aircraft shot? “Make sure that everything is legal – see above- and safe for crew, aviation personnel and the public at large. Briefings are a must and ALL entities must be part of the discussion. Dry runs are also invaluable.”[86]
  • What are the regulatory restrictions on commercial photographers when doing low flying aircraft shot? “There are many but mostly not putting the non-participating public at risk and not being a nuisance.”[87
  •       Airplane.

If the airplane needs to be re-painted for the shot, it might be more cost effective to re-paint it in post-production.  LaRosa needs 2 days to have a re-paint done.  He charges $2,500/day.

LaRosa says contrary to popular belief, the plane Hitch used in North by Northwest is not a Boeing Stearman bi-plane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_Stearman.[88] It is a converted U.S. Navy N3N Trainer.[89]  Helmut Newton used a “Stomp” bi-plane.[90],[91]  Art Streiber used a Stearman in both of his shots.[92]

Bi-planes by definition consist of an upper and lower wing.[93]  For some unknown reason British Vogue decided to remove the upper wings on two pages of Helmut Newton’s spread.  On one of the planes they added a curved bar.  If the concept is to do a remake of North by Northwest, then why did they change the plane?[94]  And they only changed the plane in the middle pages of the spread.  There is no continuity.

 1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_4

North by Northwest’s Blocking Diagram[95]

1959_NxNW_Scene115_Blocking,CameraPlacement_1

Planning and Production

Informed Consent

Art Streiber’s first Aviation Coordinator Kevin LaRosa on the 1999 Vanity Fair shoot with Ernest Lehman said that both the talent and movie studio must consent to having the talent ride in a stunt airplane being filmed.[96]  It would be wise to extend this practice to a ground shot, instead of taking the attitude many commercial photographers do, that what the motion picture industry does, does not apply to them.  This practice is about getting informed consent.  It is about advising someone they are being put at risk and asking them if they wish to take that risk.  Patlin only got Seth Rogen’s informed consent, he did so on-camera through the lens of behind-the-scenes filmmaker Adam Grossman.[97]

Safety Briefing

Kevin LaRosa’s assessment of the Twilight Light Zone incident is that it was not that people were intentionally setting out to be unsafe.[98]  Rather it was small problems and a lack of communication and coordination brought together caused a tragedy.[99]  The use of hand signals and signal flags is unsafe.[100]  Radio communication between pilot and Ground Controller is required. [101] Ground Controllers relay information to the Photographer.[102]  After this tragedy, the mechanism put into place was the Safety Briefing so that all key players could coordinate at the start of the shoot day.  Of course, people are getting ready for the Safety Briefing in pre-production.

In addition to the Safety Briefing, please consider using applicable sections of a form from emergency management called the Site Safety Plan ICS 208 and the Safety Officer Job Aid (handbook) http://ocean.floridamarine.org/acp/sjacp/Documents/ACP/PR_USVI_Reference_Documents/Safety%20Officer%20Job%20Aid.pdf

Safety Zone

In Streiber’s second shoot he was required to clear a 500 yard area from where they were flying and shooting.[103]  The farmhands had to stop work and their owners compensated.[104]  Newton shot at an airport which simplified things greatly.  Shooting at a quiet airport is good option to avoid disrupting and compensating people below the shot.  The use of Photoshop and CGI would avoid the safety zone problem entirely.

Fire Truck

It is good practice to notify the local fire department about the shoot so they can be aware in case their response is needed.  On certain shoots, not the shot at hand since it was simple, it may be necessary to have a dedicated fire truck standing by on-set to respond should the need arise.   Local jurisdictions vary in their pricing for this service. There are lesser options such as on-set medics and on-set fire wardens which may or may not be appropriate for aviation shots.

Preparing the Surface

In article two, we listed the job titles of the crews of Helmut Newton and Art Strieber’s shoots.  One job description drew comment in particular – that was the Water Truck Operator.  No, the crew of 14 was not unusually thirsty.  The water was used to prepare the surface.

If one is shooting on a surface, such as dirt or sand, which is light weight and easily kicked up and blown around by a low flying plane or helicopter, one is wise to water down the surface to weigh down the dirt or sand.  If you are shooting fashion, getting dirt on the client’s product will ruin the shot.

There are also photographic reasons for watering down.  A dust cloud will desaturate the shot.  Auto-focus may be confused by large dust clouds.  Dirt becomes darker when water is applied.  A darker surface will make a subject running stand out more.  Dust clouds may result in  equipment having to be cleaned, especially the electronic kind, such as cameras, lenses, computers, monitors and hard drives.

Mr. Water Truck quoted $800/day for a non-union shoot – http://rmrwatertrucks.com/.[105]  A truck, driver and 4,000 gallons of water is included.[106]  If more water was needed, it would cost $40.[107]

Mel Underwood Water Trucks quoted: http://www.melunderwood.com

The cost of a 4,000 Gallon Water Truck which includes a driver for 10 hours, portal to portal is $675.00 we then are $85.00 per hour after 10 hours. We would bring in our first load of water @ $80.00 but if we needed to refill you would need to arrange water at the airport; you would need to ask them for permission for us to refill at the airport after we go through our first load of water.  Fuel would be approx. $100.00.  So total cost with no overtime hours would be $855.00.[108]

How much water is required is not known.  It would be ill advised to try to water down the field one’s self.  These water trucks have spray nozzles on their sides to carry out the task.  Experienced water truck operators can look at a surface and tell how much water, at what pressure, how many passes are needed, how long it would take for the water to penetrate.  And they would do this without getting the truck stuck in the dirt.

This contact sheet from North by Northwest lends credibility to the rear projection,

as if it were shot in camera[109]

1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_ContactSht_1

Insurance

To learn about insurance coverage for shots with low-flying aircraft I contacted APA Insurance Services, the provider of the American Photographic Artists, one of the two largest commercial photographers’ trader associations.  They did not reply.  At the time this question came up, PhotoShelter released its insurance guide for photographers and interviewed two insurance agencies.  I contacted them and showed them the photos under discussion and asked them – would a shot like in the photos attached require additional insurance?  The results were varied.

Yes our clients are covered for the photos attached. There is no extra charge for this coverage. The General Liability portion of the policy covers “negligence” due to the insured’s still shoot. However if the pilot of the aircraft crashed the plane, and there was no “negligence” by the photographer, the insurance of the owner of the aircraft would pay for damages, not our insured.

In my follow-up question I gave them the quote from Helmut Newton’s Autobiography in which he admitted to have given the pilot the wrong signal and the plane grazed the ground but did not lose control and crash.  I asked, what if the pilot did lose control and there was a crash?  Don Pickard replied:

There are a few outcomes that could happen from your example. The claim could be considered “contributory negligence”. Meaning it could be that a court rules that 50% of the claim was the pilots fault and 50% was the photographers fault. There’s no way to speculate how a claim settles, each case is based on its merits. The main point is that the photographer’s insurance policy provides defense costs above and beyond the limit of liability. If there is a claim, defense would be provided and the legal system determines negligence, if any.

The insured photographer would not be able to purchase an endorsement to his policy from his existing business insurer. Almost all insurers who write coverage for ground based exposures, whether for business or homeowners’, will have an absolute exclusion written into the policy for aviation risks.

The photographer would need to go to the aviation insurance markets to buy a policy written on aviation specific forms.  We do not write aviation risks other than for the small UAV systems exposures. However, we do know that aviation insurance is considerably more expensive than coverage for most ground based exposures as occurrences that generate losses are quite frequently catastrophic.[110]

Aviation lawyer Dan Cathcart, Esq. Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy, Los Angeles echoed that most insurance policies exclude aviation risks.[111]  Mr. Miller echoed this.

In my early attempts to find out how much a rider policy would cost on this type of shot.  Ms. Ducot recommended I contact Forrest Agency Insurance, Forrest Park, IL.  I sent 2 email inquiries and left a voicemail for Dan Browne, President and Manager of Aviation Lines.  Mr. Browne ignored all three inquires.  I next did an internet search for aviation insurance and found USAIG.  I sent Los Angles Regional VP Andrew Spiegel and was ignored.  Then I remembered Dan Wolfe from my far distant past in the commercial photography industry.  I called Dan and he provided me contacts.

Once I reached Art Streiber’s Aviation Coordinators, I was put into contact with insurers who specialize in covering filming.  However, like the commercial photography insurers, they had different solutions:

  • Terry Miller, President, Transport Risk Management, Confier, CO, USA, http://transportrisk.com/. When I spoke to Mr. Miller, he gave me a cost while I was on the telephone.[112]  He emphasized that the quote is based on approved use – that the Aviation Coordinator, pilot and aircraft be approved for use in filming.  His specialty is so small, he is already familiar with the players he is willing to insure.  He says he is unwilling to insure unknown people and aircraft no matter what premium they are willing to pay.

Having said this, Mr. Miller’s quote is based on a one-day shoot.  The primary policy would be for the aircraft owner who would pay $1,000 for a $1M policy.  The photographer would have an excess policy since s/he is not the aircraft’s owner.   It would cost $6,000 for $5M policy.  This would cover photographer’s liability, such as Helmut Newton giving the wrong hand signal.  The policy is based on a 5-day window in which any 24-hour period would be covered.  This allows the production flexibility in-case of weather or other delays.

  • Greg Hiser, President of Air Capitol Insurance, Tulsa, OK, USA, http://www.aircapitalins.com/, offered another solution. His solution would not involve the extra expense of buying a rider policy for the production day(s).  He suggested asking the Aviation Coordinator to put the photographer on the Aviation Coordinator.  This would not cost the Aviation Coordinator or photographer any extra expense.  The insurer would issue a certificate of insurance covering photographer.  This solution covers accidents caused by the aviation personnel and their plane(s).  It does not cover photographer errors.

Helmut caused a collision due to his giving the pilot a wrong hand signal.[113]  Had the pilot crashed, he surely would have needed insurance to cover in case of photographer’s liability.

LaRosa said using hand signals and flags is unsafe.[114]  Radio communication between pilot, ground controller, photographer and talent is required.[115]  They did not have radio communication on the Twilight Zone.[116]  Radio communication would have enabled coordination.  The lessons here for Producers and Photographers is to hire a respected Aviation Coordinator/Ground Controller.  Do not try to do this yourself.  Hire someone who the insurers trust and then, let them do their job.  If you contract the aviation function out, and get added to their insurance as an additional insured, you will decrease your liability.

If you want an added measure of risk management, LaRosa is an Aerial Director.  He has directed complicated chase scenes and dogfights (between airplanes).  Remaking North by Northwest’s Crop Duster Attack Scene into a still is a simple job for someone like him.  Consider turning over directing the shot to him or someone of his expertise.  Such a move should decrease your liability as photographers and producers.  Of course, have him sign a work for hire agreement so there is no doubt of your ownership of the images he shoots for you.

Making sure there is sufficient insurance coverage is a key pre-production task.

Mathias Calmer

Here is Mathias Calmer’s 2005 photo inspired by Scene 115.  It is not a “remake” of North by Northwest for he changed several key elements.  In Hitch’s version, the plane chases Thornhill as Thornhill runs directly into the camera.  Streiber faithfully remade Hitch’s shot twice as did Schoeller.  Helmut, who loved being a “bad boy,” pushed things further and made it appear, and perhaps it was the fact, that the plane was closer to the model and camera than in Hitch’s and Streiber’s shot.  Calmer’s shot in a side-angle shot.  The models and plane are not directly running/flying into the camera.  In his shot, the plane is not as menacing as in Helmut’s.  He has a couple instead of one person in the shot.  He used a different kind of plane.

 2005_MathiasCalmer_LelandNeff_Boliva_1

 Calmer did not respond to my requests for an interview.  But Leland Neff, the male model did.[117],[118]  He told me the shot was his idea.  It is based on a real life plane accident involving his parents.[119]  Of course there is a North by Northwest Hitchcockian influence here. Calmer’s shot on location in Salar de Unyuni, Boliva, which has the world’s largest salt flats, and an elevation of 12,000ft.[120]

Which One is Your Favorite? And Why?

In closing, let me ask you which one you like best: Hitchcock’s original, Helmut Newton’s, one of Art Streibers’, Martin Schoeller’s or Mathias Calmer’s?  ….My favorite is Art Streiber’s 2008 Vanity Fair remake with Seth Rogen.  The plane is so low, the pilot had to pull up to clear the last post.  This makes the plane seem lower.

2008_VanityFair_SethRogen_ArtStrieber_1

Art told me the plane was about 20ft. off the ground in this shot.[121]

I also like Helmut’s variation in which Willy van Rooy has fallen and her legs are up in the air.

 1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_4

Closing

Here is fun fake photo I found on the internet (Author unknown).  It adds Will van Rooy into Cary Grant’s shot as they are evading the bi-plane.

 1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy,CaryGrant_FAKE

*

In closing, here is Rodney Smith’s take North By Northwest.  Rodney known for only shooting film!  This shot was done in camera; no sandwiching of negatives.  He is also known for a quirky English sense of humor.

 A.J. Chasing the Plane

1998, Bergdorf Goodman, Rodney Smith (ph), A.J. (mdl), Orange County Airport, NY, USA

1998_BergdorfGoodman_RodneySmith_AJ_OrangeCntyAirport,NY_1

Rodney Smith, photo. Used with Permission

 _____________________________________

Acknowledgements

Thank you Willy van Rooy for sharing your photos and stories which inspired me to write this article.  Thank you Art Streiber and his Studio Manager Jodie Younse for their time and assistance in putting this article together. Thank you Kevin LaRosa and Mike Patlin for teaching me a little about aviation shots. Thanks to Dan Wolfe for the lead. Thanks to Don Underwood, Dawn Ducot, Terry Miller, Greg Hiser, Dan Cathcart for teaching me a little about insurance.  Thank you Deke Pike and Amy Underwood for the water truck estimates.  Thank you Leland Neff for the interview.   Thanks Reps Bill Stockland and Lauren Gabbe. Thank you Rodney Smith and his Studio Manager Adam Gerlach for letting me use your photo.  Thank you Jenny Romero, Research Archivist of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library.  Thank you Bonnie Freeman for the proofreading.    

 ___________________________

Dedication

Sarah Jones, 27 years old, was a Camera Assistant who was killed by a train during the filming of “Midnight Rider” on Feb. 20, 2014,  R.I.P. Sarah.[122] 

2014_Oscars_SarahJones_Memoriam

Sarah Jones was remembered at the 2014 Academy Award Ceremony

____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  While Cliff was away, he was a film historian.  He earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

Endnotes

[1] There was an Editor present on-set but we do not know how close s/he was standing.

[2] Newton, Helmut. (2003). Autobiography. London: Nan A. Talse/Doubleday, pp. 180-181.

[3] Van Rooy, Willy. (2013). Personal communication. Apr. 27.

[4] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Personal communication. June 30.

[5] Patlin, Mike. (2014). Personal communication. June 30.

[6] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Personal communication. June 30.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Patlin, Mike. (2014). Personal communication. June 30.

[9] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[10] Ibid.

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_Down_East.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lillian_Gish

[14] Farber, Stephen. & Green, Marc. (1988). Outrageous conduct: art, ego and the Twilight Zone case, NY: Arbor House/Morrow.  LaBrecque, Ron. (1988). Special effects: disaster at the Twilight Zone: the tragedy and the trial, NY: Scribner. http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/twilight_zone/1.html , http://www.oddee.com/item_96604.aspx , http://listverse.com/2007/12/07/top-10-tragic-movie-set-deaths/ , http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/m/Vic%20Morrow/vic_morrow.htm . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Landis.

[15] I shall key my references to Wikipedia since this is the most readily available reference for readers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_Zone_tragedy

[16] Farber, Stephen. & Green, Marc. (1988). Outrageous conduct: art, ego and the Twilight Zone case, NY: Arbor House/Morrow.  LaBrecque, Ron. (1988). Special effects: disaster at the Twilight Zone: The tragedy and the trial, NY: Scribner. http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/not_guilty/twilight_zone/1.html , http://www.oddee.com/item_96604.aspx , http://listverse.com/2007/12/07/top-10-tragic-movie-set-deaths/ , http://www.findadeath.com/Deceased/m/Vic%20Morrow/vic_morrow.htm . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Landis.

[17] I shall key my references to Wikipedia since this is the most readily available reference for readers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twilight_Zone_tragedy

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid. One of the children was decapitated by the helicopter’s rotor blade. The other child was crushed by the Huey’s skid.  http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/07/the_twilight_zone_tragedy_how_vic_morrow_s_death_changed_the_way_films_are_made.html  Some reports suggest Morrow’s body was severed at the torso.

[22] Ibid.

[23] The movie was like the TV show.  It consisted of short stories.  The movie was released, minus the scene in which the 3 people died.  But the rest of Vic Morrow’s segment still was in the movie.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=8900.1,Vol.3,Ch8,Sec1

[27] Miller, Daniel & James, Meg. (2014). A wake-up call for film set safety? Los Angeles Times, July 4, B1, B3. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sarah-jones-death-midnight-rider-20140704-story.html.

[28] Midnight Rider is a movie about the life of rock musician Greg Allman starring John Hurt. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976

[29] Ibid.

[30] “The crime of criminal trespass involves a person knowingly entering or remaining on a property on which he knows he does not have permission to be. Criminal trespass is most often a misdemeanor, though it can be prosecuted as a felony, especially if the trespass results in damage to persons or property.” eHow,  http://www.ehow.com/facts_5877144_difference-between-trespassing-criminal-trespassing.html.

[31] Miller and Sanvin, apparently a married couple, own the production company, Unclaimed Freight Productions, Inc., Pasadena, CA, http://unclaimedfreightproductions.com/about/, which was making Midnight Rider (Miller & James, 2014, pp. B1).

[32] Miller, Daniel & James, Meg. (2014). A wake-up call for film set safety? Los Angeles Times, July 4, B1, B3. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sarah-jones-death-midnight-rider-20140704-story.html.

[33] Randy Miller is represented by Donnie Dixson, Esq., Savanah, GA, and a New York based public relations firm.  He is being prosecuted by the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, Georgia.

[34] Johnson, Scott. (2014). A train, a narrow trestle, and 60 seconds to escape: How ‘Midnight Rider” Sarah Jones lost her life. Hollywood reporter. Mar. 4. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976. Miller, Daniel & James, Meg. (2014). A wake-up call for film set safety? Los Angeles Times, July 4, B1, B3. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sarah-jones-death-midnight-rider-20140704-story.html.

[35] Railway bridge.

[36] Miller, Daniel & James, Meg. (2014). A wake-up call for film set safety? Los Angeles Times, July 4, B1, B3. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sarah-jones-death-midnight-rider-20140704-story.html.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Johnson, Scott. (2014). A train, a narrow trestle, and 60 seconds to escape: How ‘Midnight Rider” Sarah Jones lost her life. Hollywood reporter. Mar. 4. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Ibid. It was not printed who she asked and what their job title was.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.  If the estimate of 60 miles a hour is correct, and a 60 second warning is also correct, this means the train had to be spotted and an order given to evacuate when the train was over a mile away.  A few seconds are needed to process the visual cue and to speak the word – “run.”  One issue that may be asked at trial was who said there would be a 60 second warning.  Was this accurate?  Did crew members depend on the accuracy of this information?  Was it possible to get to safety in 60 seconds?

[48] Miller, Daniel & James, Meg. (2014). A wake-up call for film set safety? Los Angeles times, July 4, B1, B3. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-sarah-jones-death-midnight-rider-20140704-story.html.

[49] http://www.abcnews4.com/story/24825034/petition-regarding.

[50] Johnson, Scott. (2014). A train, a narrow trestle, and 60 seconds to escape: How ‘Midnight Rider” Sarah Jones lost her life. Hollywood reporter. Mar. 4. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976.

[51] Ibid.  Levine, Lewis. (2014). Film crews members charged for fatal accident. Bryan county news on-line. July 16 http://www.bryancountynews.net/section/2/article/33798/.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] The production had secured permission to shoot on other land belonging to Rayonier, a paper-products company, near CSX’s property.  Levine, Lewis. (2014). Film crews members charged for fatal accident. Bryan county news on-line. July 16 http://www.bryancountynews.net/section/2/article/33798/http://www.fortwayne.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140715/AP01/307159946/-1/TOPNEWS.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Handel, Jonathan. (2014). ‘Midnight Rider’: Who will pay the bills? Hollywood reporter. Mar. 28. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-who-will-pay-701784.

[57] Associated Press. (2014). May 13. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-gregg-allman-agrees-703572.

[58] David Long-Daniels, Esq. of Greenberg Traurig, Atlanta, Georgia, for the Plaintiff. http://www.gtlaw.com/People/David-Long-Daniels

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Handel, Jonathan. (2014). ‘Midnight Rider’: Who will pay the bills? Hollywood reporter. Mar. 28. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-who-will-pay-701784.

[65] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sarah-jones-parents-midnight-rider-706611.  Jeffrey R. Harris, Esq. of Harris Penn Lowry of Savannah, Georgia for the Plaintiffs.   http://hpllegal.com/jeffrey-r-harris/

[66] Hamedy, Saba. (2014). Producers plead not guilty in fatal crash. Los Angeles times ,July 19.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Don Samuel, Esq. of Garland, Samuel & Loeb, criminal defense lawyers, Atlanta, GA. http://www.gsllaw.com/Attorneys/Donald-F-Samuel.shtml.

[69] http://www.hollywood.com/news/brief/57198533/midnight-rider-filmmakers-break-silence-after-indictment?page=all.

[70] John J. Ossick, Jr., Esq. of Kingsland, Georgia for Defendant Sedrish.

[71] http://www.deadline.com/tag/jay-sedrish/.

[72] Johnson, Scott. (2014). A train, a narrow trestle, and 60 seconds to escape: How ‘Midnight Rider” Sarah Jones lost her life. Hollywood reporter. Mar. 4. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976.

[73] Ibid.

[74] http://mobile.reuters.com/article/peopleNews/idUSKBN0F822E20140703

[75] It is unusual that the subject of the movie is sued.

[76] Ibid.

[77] Ibid.  A completion bond is an insurance policy that covers scenarios such as the star becoming incapacitated and unable to finish the film.  They are common in the construction industry.  They are common on studio productions but low-budget films may not have them.

[78] Handel, Jonathan. (2014). ‘Midnight Rider’: Who will pay the bills? Hollywood reporter. Mar. 28. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-who-will-pay-701784.

[79] A Facebook page with 75,000 Likes has pictures form productions which have taken a picture of the cast and crew to honor Sarah Jones by writing “R.I.P. Sarah Jones” on their slates – https://www.facebook.com/slatesforsarah/photos_stream

[80] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Aviation/Coordinatorshttp://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/avs/offices/afs/divisions/alaskan_region/circleofsafety/media/Master_Handbook.pdf

[81] Patlin, Mike. (2014). Personal communication. June 17.

[82] AD – Assistant Director, operational manager of the set.

[83] Ibid.

[84] http://www.danwolfe.com/templates/dw-wolfeair.html, http://wolfeair.com/,

[85] Patlin, Mike. (2014). Personal communication. June 17.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid.

[88] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Personal communication. June 17.

[89] Ibid.

[90] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Personal communication. June 23.

[91] There is some confusion around this airplane.  There are at least 2 names for it and 3 spellings: “Stamp,” “Stampe,” “Stomp,” and “Stompe.”

[92] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Personal communication. June 23.

[93] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biplane, http://aircraft.wikia.com/wiki/Biplanehttps://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biplane.

[94] I sent an inquiry to Helmut Newton’s Assistant of 14 years – Just Loomis hoping to find out or at least be put in contact with someone who knows.  I did not get a reply.

[95] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press.

[96] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Interview. June 16.

[97] http://good-dog-media.com/

[98] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Interview. June 16.

[99] Ibid.

[100] Ibid.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Ibid.

[103] Windolf, Jim. (2008). It’s the Hitch in Hitchcock. Vanity Fair. Mar.

[104] Ibid.

[105] Pike, Deke. (2014). Personal communication. June 16.

[106] Ibid.

[107] Ibid.

[108] Underwood, Amy. (2014). Personal communication. June 17.

[109] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press.

[110] A follow-up question was not needed here, as her answer was to refer me to specialized insurers who deal with aviation.

[111] http://www.mcmc-law.com/attorney-profiles/daniel-c-cathcart-retired-partner/.  Mr. Cathcart is author of the influential aviation law book Aircrash Litigation Techniques (1985).

[112] Miller, Terry. (2014). Interview. June 16.

[113] Newton, Helmut. (2003). Autobiography. London: Nan A. Talse/Doubleday, pp. 180-181.

[114] LaRosa, Kevin. (2014). Interview. June 16.

[115] Ibid.

[116] Ibid.

[117] Some readers maybe more familiar with Leland in his other roles as a fashion photography, fashion illustrator or horse breeder.

[118] Mathias was Leland’s assistant when Leland was a fashion photographer.

[119] Neff, Leland. (2014). Personal communication. Apr. 18.

[120] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salar_de_Uyuni

[121] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[122] http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-accident-sarah-jones-death-gregg-allman-685976

____________________________________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

3 Views of North By Northwest: Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber: Part II: Cast, Crew and Technique

3 Views of North By Northwest:

Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber:

Part II: Cast, Crew and Technique

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

 

Introduction

 

In the first article, www.cliffchengcreates.com, we introduced this series based on one of the best known scenes in the cinematic history, the crop duster attack scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 movie – North By Northwest in which Cary Grant is being chased through a farm field by a bi-plane – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETt9GQj6fs.

1959, North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock (Dir.). Cary Grant (Actor)

 1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_1

Fashion and celebrity photographers have remade North By Northwest ‘s “Crop Duster Attack” scene over the decades.  In 1967, Helmut Newton, remade this scene for British Vogue.

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_1

(The rest of the spread is in our first article)

Art Streiber remade this scene twice for Vanity Fair.  The first time was with North by Northwest’s Academy Award nominated screenwriter Ernest Lehman for Vanity Fair’s April 1999 issue:

1999.04_VanityFair_ErnestLehman_ArtStreiber_1

and again in March 2008 with comedian Seth Rogen

 2008_VanityFair_SethRogen_ArtStrieber_1

As noted in our first article, Martin Schoeller did a remake with actor Hugh Jackman for New Yorker in 2003.  He was non-responsive to attempts to reach and interview him through his agent and via Art Streiber.  We again attempted to reach him through his agent after Article 1 came out but there was no reply.

In this article we will discuss The Talent, The Crew and Technique.

 

The Talent

 

There are differences in the talent in these remakes.  Hitch’s original starred the second most popular actor in history, Cary Grant.[1]  Rear projection was used in that scene.  While Cary Grant is primarily thought of as a romantic leading man and comedic actor, we should not underestimate his athletic prowess.  Had Hitch shot in-camera, there is little doubt Cary Grant could have done this shot.

Helmut Newton booked a high fashion model for this shot, Dutch supermodel Willy van Rooy, his muse during this period in his career.[2]  Since Helmut’s shoot was a fashion shoot for British Vogue, Willy was in high-heeled boots, a fur coat and full make-up and hair.

For his 1999 remake, Art Streiber photographed North by Northwest’s screenwriter Ernest Lehman.  At the time, Lehman was 83 years old.[3]  He stood still and the plane flew in back of him.[4]

Vanity Fair featured comedic actor Seth Rogen for Streiber’s 2008 shot.[5]  Art was unsure how they selected Rogen, but said the spread was part of their annual Hollywood issue which comes out just before the Academy Award ceremony.  Celebs in that issue usually have movies coming out.

The bi-plane was only 20-30 feet off the ground in Streiber’s shot.  Seth Rogen is reportedly 5ft.11” tall.[6]  That would make the plane about 10-20ft. above him.  Rogen did not have to wear high heels and a fur but Art found Hitch’s tailor from North by Northwest and had him make Rogen a suit identical to the one Cary Grant wore.[7]

It is surprising to hear that in Streiber’s shoot, Seth Rogen did a dozen takes in which he was running.[8]  One sprint was about 20 yards.[9]  With all due respect to Mr. Rogen, he does not appear to be someone one would choose first to have to run in a suit in a farmer’s field with a airplane chasing him, few times, let alone a dozen times.  I asked Art if he had sized up Seth before the shoot and estimated how many sprints he was capable of doing so Art could accordingly set a pace for the shoot?[10]  Art said he had not, for he planned on doing as many takes as it took to get it right.[11]  The final shot was on the 4th sprint, 7th frame.[12]  Art shot a total of 32 frames during the 14 takes with his Phase One 645.  His Assistant shot 100 frames.[13]

 

The Crew

 

Hitch made his movie for a major Hollywood studio, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), which was contracted to employ a full feature film crew.  He had the resources of MGM behind him as well as the resources of Hollywood behind him.

Newton’s shot was done with only himself and his Assistant, Willy, the Editor and the Pilot.[14]

In his 1998, remake of North by Northwest, Streiber had a cast and crew of 12 people:[15]

  • Ernest Lehman
  • (2) Client People
  • Art Streiber
  • (3) Photo Ass’ts
  • Men’s Groomer[16]
  • Wardrobe Stylist
  • Water Truck Operator
  • Pilot
  • Aviation Coordinator

We will discuss the Water Truck Operator and Aviation Coordinator in our next article.

Streiber’s 2008 shoot with Seth Rogen had a cast and crew of 14 people: [17]

  • Seth Rogen
  • Editor + 1 Ass’t
  • Art Streiber
  • Digital Tech, Photo Ass’t
  • Producer
  • Prop Stylist
  • Water Truck Operator
  • Wardrobe Stylist, Seamstress, Groomer
  • Pilot
  • Aviation Coordinator

There was also a representive of the location.

 

Technique: Rear Projection v. In-Camera

 

Hitch used rear projection to do his shot.[18]  It is doubtful MGM would allow a star as big as Cary Grant to be exposed to the danger of being injured or killed by being chased by a real low flying airplane by shooting this scene in camera.  Cary Grant/Thornhill was photographed on a sound stage with the plane projected behind him and a matte shot of the farm field added.[19],[20]

 1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_3

In Hitch’s scene, at least one of the shots of Thornhill running was double; replayed a second time.[21]  The plane was photographed in 70mm; while the rest of the film was photographed in 35mm.  Shooting a rear projection image that is shot at a higher resolution insures a better image.  The pilot cost $150 per day plus $100 per flying hour after the first hour.[22]  The field used in the shot was in Lost Hills, San Joaquin Valley, California, U.S.A.[23]  The second unit photography of the plane was shot during a 3-day period between October 6th to 8th in 1958 on the 30th to 32nd days of production.[24]  The location fee and cost of planting a cornfield was $5,200.[25]  The extras at the end of the scene – after the (fake) plane crashed cost $4,163.[26]

1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_4

While Cary Grant was on the soundstage reacting to a bi-plane projected on a screen behind him, Newton and Streiber shot the plane and model/actor/writer in camera.

Newton was shooting for British Vogue using a 2 ¼ inch Rollei.  From the two behind-the-scenes production stills available, it appears that Helmut used available light; no fill flash.  (Another production still will be in the next article in the series).  They shot at a small airport not far from London.[27]

 Helmut_N

Helmut shot standing on a camera case on the runway with the airplane flying towards him and Willy in-between.[28] Willy told me – “It was a bit scary because of the incredible noise of the motor and when it was finished the pilot told me it was actually a bit dangerous because he could not see how low he was flying or if he was going to hit me, but all went well.”[29]

I showed Art Streiber’s Helmut shot and the production stills and asked him to comment.[30]   He noted that Helmut did not light the shot.[31] And that Helmut was in a fixed position.[32]  Then, Art reasoned, Willy was probably running in place and when the airplane got to the right position and became the desired size in frame, Helmut released the shutter.[33]

For his 1999, Vanity Fair remake with 82 year old screenwriter Ernest Lehman, Art needed to have the subject still and the plane fly behind him.  This technique was similar to Helmut’s shot.  Art used reflectors to light the shot.  Art used a Mamiya 645 loaded with Fuji NHG 220 rated at 640.[34],[35]  The film was processed normal.

Streiber is careful to explain both his 1999 and 2008 shots were 100% in camera.[36]  For the earlier shot, there were no behind-the-scenes stills or videos.  There is a behind-the-scenes still and a video made for the 208 shoot.  Amongst other things, they show the shot is in-camera[37].  The video is not available on the internet.[38]  I was granted special access for purposes of this article.  Art uses the behind-the-scenes video for presentations and teaching.[39]

Art Streiber’s Seth Rogen shoot for Vanity Fair used a Phase One 645 Medium Format DSLR with a 150mm lens, mounted on a tripod.[40]  He shot at ISO200, at 1/800th, f16.[41]  One of his Assistants shot coverage along side him with a Canon DSLR.   He lit the shot with fill-flash mounted on a flatbed truck.[42]

This shot’s lighting challenge was to balance the fill flash on the front of Seth’s body with the strong sunlight to camera left. Art uses two generators on the truck to power the two, 2400 watt packs.  Two Magnum reflectors at f11 (-1 stop) are staggered on one c-stand and set high, just to camera left. The sun is directly to camera left of Seth at f32 (+2 stops) and lends those gorgeous highlights. [43]

The fill-flash’s pack was not mounted on the truck.  An Assistant ran along side the truck to keep the cables from getting tangled.[44]

I asked Art – how he line-up the shot so well?[45]  He replied – “well informed guesswork.”[46]  He and his Assistant scouted the location near the Camarillo Airport, in Ventura County, the coastal county to the northwest of Los Angeles County.[47]  The shot was done in one day, Nov. 9, 2007.[48]

 

Photoshop and CGI

 

From a Producer’s perspective, Photoshop and CGI are economical.  For the same reason, MGM probably would have objected putting Cary Grant in harm’s way with an in-camera stunt shot of a low-flying aircraft, Photoshop and CGI are options to consider.  In the next article we will discuss how Streiber had to clear 500 yards last minute from where the shot was to take place and pay a farmer and his farm hands not to work so he could comply with safety regulations.  The shot could have easily called for a more expensive location in which people had to stop work and be compensated.

*

Please check back next week for our third and final article.  We will discuss producing a low-flying aircraft shot.

Endnotes

[1] Cary Grant ranks second on the American Film Institute’s most popular actors of all times list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI’s_100_Years…100_Stars.  Humphery Bogart is first.

[2] Willy in a way was Helmut’s first important muse for in the late-60s we start to see the foreshadow of his brilliance.  In my opinion, Willy has an outstanding body of work as a model.  After modeling Willy went on to design shoes and become a painter http://willyvanrooy.com/.

[3]https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHNQ_enUS529US530&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Ernie%20Lehman%20wiki

[4] Streiber, Art. (2014). Personal communication. Los Angeles, CA. June 17.

[5] Seth Rogen, Canadian, comic, actor, Producer, Director, Writer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Rogen.

[6] http://www.celebritiesheight.com/seth-rogen-height-and-weight/

[7] Sabarese, Ted. (2012). Art Streiber gets all Hitchcock on us with his lighting of Seth Rogen. Guess the lighting. Sept. 21. http://guessthelighting.com/2012/09/21/art-streiber-gets-all-hitchcock-on-us-in-his-lighting-of-seth-rogen/

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Van Rooy, Willy. (2013). Personal communication. Apr. 27.

[15] Streiber, Art. (1998). Call sheet. Aug. 12. (From the Author. Confidential. Not available for public viewing).

[16] Men’s Grooming refers to a Make-up Artist for men.

[17] Streiber, Art. (2008). Call sheet. (From the Author. Confidential. Not available for public viewing).

[18] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 213.

[19] Ibid.

[20] The rear projector was a VistaVision Triple Head Background Projection Unit which cost $900 a day to rent on MGM Purchase Order # 26150 (Memo from MGM Plant Mgr. Wm. P. Smith to Paramount Studios Production Frank Caffey, 9-11-1958, available from: Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Beverly Hills, CA).  This was apparently used for both Scene 115 and the climax scene on Mount Rushmore.

[21] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.  Krohn says the location is in Northern California.  When a websearch for “Lost Hills, in the San Joaquin Valley, California” was a location in Kern County pulled up.  Kern County is the county north of Los Angeles County.

[24] Hitchcock, Alfred. (1959). North by Northwest. Production Schedule. Pp. 13. Available from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Margaret Herrick Library, Special Collections.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Van Rooy, Willy. (2013). Personal communication. Apr. 27.

[28] Van Rooy, Willy. (2013). Personal communication. Apr. 27.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Streiber, Art. (2014). Personal communication. Los Angeles, CA. June 17.

[35] Normal ISO is 800.

[36] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid. Streiber is generous with his time and does presentations for Photo Schools in the LA Area and the America Photographic Artists – LA Chapter.

[40] Sabarese, Ted. (2012). Art Streiber gets all Hitchcock on us with his lighting of Seth Rogen. Guess the lighting. Sept. 21. http://guessthelighting.com/2012/09/21/art-streiber-gets-all-hitchcock-on-us-in-his-lighting-of-seth-rogen/

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[45] Streiber, Art. (2014). Interview. Los Angeles, CA. May 24.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  While Cliff was away, he was a film historian.  He earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 

____________________________________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Aside

3 Views of North By Northwest: Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber: Part I: Introduction

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3 Views of North By Northwest:

Hitchcock, Newton and Streiber:

Part I: Introduction

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

Introduction

 

One of the most famous scenes in the history of cinema is from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North By Northwest in which Cary Grant is being chased through a cornfield by a bi-plane – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETt9GQj6fs.  “Every cinephile knows this film, which has spawned countless imitators.”[1] This film is regarded by many as a masterpiece; often appearing on various lists of the 20 or 50 best films of all time.

 1959, North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock (Dir.). Cary Grant (Actor)

 1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_1

North By Northwest ‘s “Crop Duster Attack” scene has been remade countless times over the years including by fashion and celebrity photographers like:

  • Helmut Newton, for British Vogue in 1967,
  • Art Streiber, for Vanity Fair twice in 1998 with North by Northwest’s Academy Award nominated screenwriter Ernest Lehman
  • and again in March 2008 with comedian Seth Rogen,
  • Martin Schoeller with actor Hugh Jackman for New Yorker in 2003.[2],[3],[4]

This series of articles compares Hitchcock’s original scene with how Newton and Streiber remade the scene into a single still shot.[5]  Martin Schoeller has been non-responsive to attempts to reach and interview him through his agent, his Studio Manager and via Art Streiber.[6],[7]

This original scene is designated as “Scene 115.”[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETt9GQj6fs.  115 runs about 4 minutes and 24 seconds.[9]  In the script, this scene can be found between pages 95-101.[10]  The title North By Northwest refers to the direction of travel of the crop duster.

Let us first understand the story of North by Northwest.[11]  The character “Roger Thornhill” played by actor Cary Grant is a New York City advertising executive in the late-1950s.  He is mistaken for a spy named – “George Kaplan” and then kidnapped by enemy agents.  He is interrogated but escapes.  He goes to the United Nations to find Townsend whom he hopes will clear up the mistaken identity.  But the real Townsend turns out to be another man, a diplomat.  The Diplomat is killed by a knife thrown into his back by one of the men pursuing Thornhill.  Foolishly Thornhill removes the knife from the Diplomat’s body.  As witnesses arrive, they  think Thornhill is the murder.  He become a “wanted man” by the police.  Thornhill sets off to find “George Kaplan,” hoping the real Kaplan will straighten things out.  Unbeknownst to Thornhill, “George Kaplan” is an invention of an American intelligence agency in their attempts to flush out enemy agents.  The American intelligence agency does not intervene to help Thornhill, who is a completely innocent person.  They continue allowing Thornhill to be placed in danger while they gather intelligence on the enemy agents pursuing him.

In an attempt evade the enemy agents pursuing him, Thornhill gets on a train and then a bus and winds up getting off in the middle of corn fields.

1959_NorthByNorthwest_Hitchcock_CaryGrant_2

As the bus leaves, a crop-duster airplane chases and attempts to kill him with machine guns.  Thornhill hides in the corn field but is flushed out when the crop duster releases its pesticides.  He attempts to flag down a passing gasoline tanker truck but ends up falling beneath the truck as it passes over him.  The plane crashes into the tanker and explodes.  Thornhill miraculously prevails.  The film continues on and eventually ends up in a climactic scene at the Presidential Monument at Mount Rushmore, South Carolina, U.S.A.

Film Scholar Bill Krohn has done an excellent job of finding and presenting important artifacts from Hitch’s production.  These artifacts help us better understand the 133 shots in scene 115:[12],[13]

  • Shot List[14]
  • Blocking, Timing and Camera Placement Diagram[15]
  • Contact Sheet[16]
  • Production Still – Photography of Bi-plane[17]
  • Production Still – Cary Grant in Foreground with Bi-Plane Projected in Background[18]
  • Production Still – Cary Grant in Foreground with Blank Projection Screen in Background[19]

I shall intersperse these artifacts in this series.  Here is the shot list.

1959_NxNW_Scene115_ShotList_1

Some of these artifacts are curious since we know that the crop duster attack scene was shot using rear projection.  The contact sheet is in 2 ¼” format.  It is unknown if the still photographer took pictures of the rear projection while the scene was being photographed, or was this contact sheet made later to make it appear that the shot was in-camera rather than rear projection.  Krohn also collected storyboards but these were for publicity and were not actual storyboards from that were shot.[20]

 

Concept and Assignments

 

First, let us ask how did this scene and its remakes come about?  Ernest Lehman was interviewed by Krohn about this scene.[21]  Hitch and Lehman were looking for a way to kill off Thornhill.[22]  It was first thought they might use a tornado.[23]  They settle on using a crop duster airplane.  Hitch had a preference for what he termed – “realistic nightmares”; occurrences which are both possible and horrible.[24]  Accordingly, Hitch wanted Thornhill’s point of view and decided against having 3 helicopters as was initially discussed.[25]

 

1967, Helmut Newton, British Vogue

 

Helmut Newton said it was his wife June’s idea to remake a scene from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.”[26]  During the days before Helmut was to fly to London to shoot for British Vogue he had a creative block.  He did not like the ideas he was coming up with.  June, who is Helmut’s collaborator and Book Editor grew impatient and said to him the night before he was to leave – “do a Hitchcock.”[27]  He liked the idea.  She did not think he could get a plane on short notice but he did…

British Vogue had Helmut shoot Revillion Boutique furs.[28]  They called the 8 page spread – “How to Make the Fur Fly.”[29],[30]

1967, Helmut Newton, next 8 photos

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_1

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_2

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_3

1967_Vogue-UK_HelmutNewton_WillyVanRooy_4

 

1999, Art Streiber Vanity Fair, Ernest Lehman

 

Art Streiber was assigned by Vanity Fair to photograph screenwriter Ernest Lehman.  Ernie is best known for writing North by Northwest.  The crop duster attack scene is not only that movie’s best known scene but one of the best known scenes in the entire history of cinema.  Art photographed Ernie in a remake of that scene on August 12, 1998 for April 1999 issue of Vanity Fair.

1999.04_VanityFair_ErnestLehman_ArtStreiber_1

 

2003, Martin Scholler, Entertainment Weekly, Hugh Jackman

 

Entertainment Weekly, May 25, 2003

2003.07_EntertainmentWeekly_HughJackman_MartinSchoeller_2b

2003.07_EntertainmentWeekly_HughJackman_MartinSchoeller_2c

2003.07_EntertainmentWeekly_HughJackman_MartinSchoeller_3

No information is available at this time regarding this shot for the reasons previously explained.

 

2008, Art Streiber Vanity Fair, Seth Rogen

 

In 2008, Vanity Fair wanted to recreate North By Northwest, amongst other scenes from Hitch’s films – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbQBaLBfTDc. Art Streiber was asked again by Vanity Fair to do another remake of North By Northwest.

 2008_VanityFair_SethRogen_ArtStrieber_1

In the next article in this series, we will discuss The Talent, The Crew and Rear Projection versus In-Camera Shots.  In the last article we will discuss producing a low-flying aircraft shot. Please check back next week.

 Endnotes

[1] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 202.

[2] Here are some kids remaking this scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx2bMji7u6w. Here is a remake from the TV show Scrubshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-rX5yEXrpE .  And there are other if you care to search….

[3] I must disclosed that I knew Ernie Lehman in the 1970s and 1980s through amateur radio.  His U. S. Federal Communication Commission Amateur Radio callsign was K6DXK.  After the 1980s, I lost contact with him.  Unfortunately, he and I never had a conversation about this scene.

[4] Hitchcock himself remade his a few of own movies.  Art Streiber remade his remake of Hitchcock.

[5] We are not concerned in this article with the movies which have remade North by Northwest.  The closet copies are Anthony Zimmer (2005), The Tourist (2010), Drive (2011).

[6] Gabbe, Lauren. (2014). Personal communication. New York, NY. Vaughn-Hannigan Artists. May 27. http://vh-artists.com/index.html#/contact

[7] Hooper. Lisa. (2014). Studio Mgr., Martin Scholler Studio. Personal communication. New York, NY., June 4.

[8] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 202.

[9] There are slightly shorter and longer versions on the internet depending on how the scene was cut.

[10] Lehman, Ernest. (1959).(Writer). North by Northwest. USA: Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

[11] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_by_Northwest

[12] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 211.

[13] I reach out to Bill Krohn and requested an interview via the Motion Picture Academy Library and did not get a reply.

[14] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 206.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Pp. 207.

[17] Pp. 208.

[18] Pp. 208.

[19] Pp. 209.

[20] Pp. 208-209.  These storyboards are not of interest to us since they do not correspond with the actual scene.

[21] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Krohn, Bill. (2000). Hitchcock at work. London: Phaidon Press, pp. 210.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Newton, Helmut. (2003). Autobiography. London: Nan A. Talse/Doubleday, pp. 180.

[27] June Newton is also known as Alice Springs, fashion photographer.

[28] Van Rooy, Willy. (2013). Personal communication. Apr. 27.

[29] The title of the spread is curious.  It whimsical given the content.

[30] 8 pages were found.  There is uncertainty if there are more than 8 pages.

_____________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  While Cliff was away, he was a film historian.  He earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 

____________________________________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

 

 

 

Bill King and the Amazing Chimp

Bill King and the Amazing Chimp

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of the heirs or assigns of Bill King.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational and scholarly research purposes.

 

The comedian W.C. Fields once said “Never work with kids or animals.”  He thought they were scene stealers.  He did not like them and they did not like him!

 

Renee Simonsen (mdl). Next 5 pictures

 Image

 

Bill King’s French Vogue spread from March of 1986 with a chimpanzee and models Renee Simonsen, Tatjana Patitz, and Suzanne Lanza astounds me.  The chimp is so good!  I questioned whether or not it was a real chimpanzee?  How was it possible that the chimp was so human, so responsive to the models?  You could not ask an actor in a chimp suit to do better than this!

 Image

For the stake of the history of fashion photography, I made inquiries.  Renee Simonsen and Tatjana Patitz did not respond.  I ran into Suzanne Lanza and she told me with was a real chimp.  Later Bill’s last Assistant, Stewart Shining confirmed it was a real chimp.

  Image

There are better known animal shots than the ones in this spread.  The two which come to mind immediately are Avedon’s Dovima With Elephants and his nude shot with actress Nastassja Kinski who has a python wrapped around her nude body.  Those are very composed and formal compared with the high-energy and spontaneity that is signature of Bill King.

1986.3_Vogue-Fr._BilllKing_ReneeSimonsen_3

1986.3_Vogue-Fr._BilllKing_ReneeSimonsen

Tatjana Patitz (mdl)

 1986.3_Vogue-Fr._BilllKing_TatjanaPatiz

Suzanne Lanza (mdl)

1986.3_BillKing_SuzanneLanza_1

The question is settled for the history of fashion photography.  Two participants involved with  this shoot said this was a real chimp.

W.C. Fields was right.  The chimp steals the scene!

…I am still amazed.  I would love to book this chimp for one of my shoots if s/he is still alive and active.

 ____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 ____________________________________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Martin Munkasci and the Puddle Jump Shot

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Martin Munkasci and the Puddle Jump Shot

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes.

 

Martin Munkasci is name not likely familiar to even the most experienced people in the fashion industry.  He was a pioneering fashion photographer.  His contribution to fashion photography was the jump shot.  Here is his most famous picture, from 1934.

  Image

Here is Richard Avedon’s homage to Munkasci.  Avedon’s shot, below, was made in 1957.  Carmen dell’Orefice is the model.  She is wearing Pierre Cardin.  Avedon shot this picture in Paris.

 Image

In 1986, Bill Cunningham took a spontaneous photo to Carmen trying to cross a rainy New York street with a puddle in her path.  Bill’s excellent memory for all things fashion quickly realized he had captured a spontaneous remake of Munkasci.

 Image

In 1989, Elliott Erwitt made a romantic Paris homage to Munkasci.

 Image

 

___________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 

____________________________________________________________

Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Dancing Fashion Photographers and Bill King by Cliff Cheng

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The Dancing Fashion Photographers and Bill King

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational and scholarly research purposes.

 1982,07_Vogue-Fr._BillKing(ph)_NancyDonahue,NormanParkinson_1

Who is this older man behind the model?  We do not usually see older men in French Vogue…  This man is Norman Parkinson.[1]  Most of you do not recognize him because for 5 decades he was on the other side of the camera, as a fashion photographer.  “Parks” was Godfather of British fashion photographers.  He passed in 1990.  How did he get in front of the camera? …read on…

I had always admired Bill King’s great talent as a fashion photographer.  One of his most interesting spreads ran in French Vogue in July 1982.  He gathered some of the top fashion photographers of the time and put them in front of his camera and had them dance with either models Nancy Donahue or Anette Stai.

In 1982 we not only did not have an internet.  This was before most people or even corporations and government agencies had computers.  One could not look up a fashion photographer’s website to see their work, read their biographical note and see what they looked like.  You could be waiting at the counter of a film lab next to a major fashion photographer and not know it.  Bill King put 6 of the best known Vogue fashion photographers in front of his camera and showed us  what they looked like. Those 6 were: David Bailey, Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort, Helmut Newton, Norman Parkinson and Mike Reinhardt.

It is intriguing that Bill got these photographers in front of the camera.  Most photographers, particularly of that era, hated being in front of the camera.[2] They regard it was “the wrong side of the camera.”  That any publicity they get should be about their work rather than themselves.  I asked Mike and the rest of the living photographers if they felt they had to step in front of Bill’s camera to please the Editors of French Vogue.  Mike told me – “I can’t speak for the others but I never felt I had to do this shoot to be in good standing with the editors, we all worked regularly at Vogue and probably just thought “why not?  David Bailey’s Studio Manager said they were too busy to reply.[3]  There was no reply Patrick Demarchelier, Arthur Elgort and the Helmut Newton Foundation.

Helmut Newton & Anette Stai

  1982.07_Vogue-Fr._BillKing(ph)_HelmutNewton, AnetteStai_1

For this kind of shot selecting the model is highly important.  Beauty and talent are givens.  She needs to be someone respected and liked by the photographer she is paired with.  It is her job to make him feel comfortable in front of the camera.  It no longer matters he is a photographer and has photographed 1,000s of models for a few decades.  He is now a “model” with her.  She has to pull him through the shot if he is shy.  In the 1980s fashion generation, and this is still the case in 2014, there is no model as well liked by as many people as Nancy Donahue.  She is outgoing, gregarious, positive and friendly.  Nancy was a good choice!

Notice the Norman Parkinson/Nancy Donahue shot got a full page.  This came off as one of the two best of the 6 shots.  “Parks” was a fun guy.  Some people thought of him as an old school gentleman.  This was true.  But he was also a fun guy who love to laugh.  The Mike Reinhardt/Nancy Donahue shot is the most Bill King out of all 6 shots.  They are actually jumping.  We expect jumps in Bill King’s work!  It would have made a good full page shot.

The shot with Helmut Newton is noticeably different.  Of the 6 photographers, Helmut is far more serious than the others.  We know for fact, and will explore in a future article, that Helmut made several edgy selfies, including one of himself with full frontal nudity.  I attempted to interview Anette Stai, the model in this shot.[4]  Her reply was limited to – thanking me for providing this photo she did not have and asking me to send her the rest of the spread, which I did.  She did not respond to my questions.

Of this group Helmut Newton and Norman Parkinson have passed on.  Mike Reinhardt is out of the biz and owns a restaurant in LA.  Patrick Demarchelier, David Bailey and Arthur Elgort are still shooting fashion.

 1982.07_Vogue-Fr._BillKing(ph)_PatrickDemarchelier,ArthurElgort, MikeReinhardt, DavidBailey& NancyDonahue_1

Personally, if I was one of the six photogs, after Bill finished shooting Nancy and I dancing, I would have said to him – “Ok Bill, your turn to dance with Nancy in front of the camera.”  …Nancy told me he would never have done this.[5]  That he was too shy….which many of us are….

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Endnotes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Parkinson.  He was honored by the Queen of England as Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

[2] With the rise of celebrity and everyone trying to be one, the photographers who started after the Golden Age of Commercial Photography, the 1980s, are more likely to want to be celebrities themselves instead of just photographing them.  Mert Alas of the Mert and Marcus fashion photography partnership say the difference between themselves and other photographers is that they care about their appearance and themselves spend a great deal of time getting their own make-up and hair done  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mert_and_Marcus .

[3] Pattenden, Mark. (2014). Personal communication. May 7.

[4] Stai, Anette. (2014). Personal communication. May 6.

[5] Donahue, Nancy. (2014). Personal communication. May 7.

____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 _______________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Rediscovering David Seidner By Cliff Cheng

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Rediscovering David Seidner

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational purposes. 

 

In the 1980s, Yves Saint Laurent anointed a young American fashion photographer from Los Angeles named David Seidner and put him under contract as the House of Saint Laurent’s staff photographer for two years.[1]

David Seidner, 1989, Self-portrait

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Seidner’s editorial work appeared in Harper’s Bazaar Vanity Fair, Vogue (Italian, French), New York Times Magazine.[2]

YSL

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His advertising clients included Bill Blass, Christian Dior, Emmanuel Ungaro, Bergdorf Goodman, John Galliano, Revlon, Lavin, L’Oreal.[3]

1990, Bill Blass

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An overview of Seidner’s fashion work is found in his 1989 book – “David Siedner.”[4]

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Seidner combined fashion photography and portraiture with painting and fine art photography.

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The New York Times said Seidner works if a  “his fashion spreads often riffs on art.”[5]

Simonetta Gianfelci (mdl)

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His book “Artists at Work” was an 8 year project in which he photographed 20 artists and their studios.[6]  Seidner drew inspiration from these artists.  The influence on his photography is strongly evident.  Seidner liked to fracture his images, similar to Picasso or Erwin Blumenfeld.

1988, Celina Fischer von Czettritz

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Seidner’s last book, “Portraits,” finished days before he passed in 1999 is what Art Historian Richard Martin likens to the paintings of John Singer Sargent.[7] The subjects of this last book were socialites, actors and actresses.[8]  Seidner’s direction to his subjects was to have no resistance and to be committed to posterity.

The Miller Sisters

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One of his most interesting books was photographs was of the elegant 1940-1950s model Lisa Fonssagrives as she was interpreted by 21 different photographers.[9], [10]  He also did a study on orchids using an auto-focus camera on color negative film.[11]  He called orchids “nature’s couture.”[12]  His last book was on fashion dolls.[13]

Seidner was born in Los Angeles, CA in Feb. 18, 1957.[14]  In 1984, he contracted AIDS in 1984, at age 27.  He died of AIDS in Miami, FL in June 6, 1999 at age 42.[15]  He had the disease for 15 years and was an AIDS activist.[16]

Anne Rohart (mdl)

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Not much biographical information on David Seidner exists apart from his books.  It is remarkable that a photographer who had as short a professional career as he has 9 books.[17]  There is a blog his brother Jaime Seidner set up for him but there has not been a new message since 2009, 5 years ago http://davidseidner.com/ .  My emails to the provided contact email address on the blog have gone unanswered; as did my emails to his place of work.  I also tried to reach the lawyer for Seidner’s estate in an attempt to reach a relative for an interview.  His lawyer did not respond to my inquiry.

Ahn Doung (mdl)

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Supermodel Cynthia Antonio recalls David:

I have worked a lot with David. We did a Lanvin campaign, together and lots of Italian Vogue. He was very disciplined and we had some long working days. He was against smoking…but in those days I went outside the studio for a little break. Also he ate vegetarian food for lunch and so did everyone else. He worked with a Hasselblad and did everything by hand like a true artist…he had great hair and make-up artist and worked a lot from his home with Daylight coming in from the roof. The longest picture I ever took was about 10 seconds no moving, because of the light we had a long exposure. I loved working with David and miss him a lot.

Here is one of their shots together.

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Endnote – I also reached out to these models – Ahn Doung, Anne Rohart, Caroline Ellen, Dragana Kunjadik, Simonetta Gianfelci, Violetta Sanchez and asked for an interview.  If new information becomes available, I shall update this article.

____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 

Endnotes

 

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html

[3] Ibid. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Seidner .

[4] Seidner, David. (1989). David Siedner. Munich, Ger.: Schirmer/Mosel Verlag GMBH.

[5] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html

[6] Seidner, David. (1999). Artists at work: Inside the studios of today’s most celebrated artists. Martin, Richard. Intro. NY: Assouline.

[7] Seidner, David. (1999). Portraits. Martin, Richard. Intro. NY: Assouline.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Seidner, David. (1997). Lisa Fonssagrives: Three decades of classic fashion photography. NY: Vendome.

[10] Lisa Fonssagrives was married to Irving Penn.

[11] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Seidner .

[12] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html

[13] Seidner, David. (2002). Theatre de la mode: Fashion dolls: The survival of haute couture.

[14] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Seidner

[15] Ibid.

[16] http://www.nytimes.com/1999/06/09/arts/david-seidner-fashion-photographer-is-dead-at-42.html

[17] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Seidner.

____________________________________________________________

Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Recognizing Bill Cunningham’s Influence on Fashion and Photography By Cliff Cheng

Recognizing Bill Cunningham’s Influence on Fashion and Photography

By Cliff Cheng

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Copyright Disclaimer – None of the photographs in this article are owned or taken by myself.  They are the property of their respective owners.  Fair use is made of these photographs for non-commercial educational and scholarly research purposes. 

10361338_788543551179570_7728941604098691310_n

To continue onwards from my article of April 21, 2014, “The Most Influential Fashion Photographers” – many key photographers have been left off.  One of them is Bill Cunningham, the New York Times fashion journalist and photographer.  He does not appear on any lists of the most influential photographers we reviewed.  What category others in power place us in has influence over our fate.  If one wins an Oscar or a Clio, this places one in a category that will help us get more work.  If one is placed on the No Fly List, one will not be allowed to board an airplane.  The lists of influential photographers place photographers in well defined boxes.[1]  W. Eugene Smith is a documentary photographer.  Richard Avedon is a fashion photographer.  In Bill’s case, he invented a brand new category in the mid-1960s, “Street Fashion Photographer” which combines two large and well established categories photojournalism and fashion photography.  Even if people like you, what you do, they still think in terms of boxes.  If you are in-between boxes you often get overlooked, as Bill has been.

billcunninghamnewyork.photo04

 

I spoke to a well-placed Source about Bill being left out.  The Source said Bill’s work has a “limited shelf life.”  That when one thinks of Bill Cunningham no spectacular images come to mind.  I agree with The Source but interpret the situation differently.  Yes, Bill’s work has a “limited shelf life.”  It is suppose to.  He is a fashion trend spotter.  People categorize Bill as a “photographer.”  This is their box, not his.  In his modesty, he does not himself a “photographer.”   He self-depreciating calls himself a “fraud”[2]  He considers himself to be a fashion journalist.  Bill’s influence is not that he was in the right place at the right time and had the talent to take a spectacular shot like Vietnamese War photojournalists Eddie Adams who caught on film a South Vietnamese General executing a handcuffed prisoner on the street or Nick Ut who caught a young naked girl running down the road after her village had been napalmed.  Bill’s influence is the volume of work he has amassed since the mid-1960s documenting street fashion.

In 2010, a documentary was made by two of Bill’s New York Times colleagues called – Bill Cunningham New York – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL9Mqp6JYoQ  Bill is one of the fashion industry’s best trend-spotters.  He does this so well that Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour says he is 6 months ahead of her and her staff of 78 people.  How does Bill do this?  Bill’s understanding of fashion is like a tripod – which has 3 legs.

  • He goes to Paris and Milan to photograph the fashion coming down the runways.
  • Then he photographs fashion on the streets of New York to see how people wear clothes.
  • Then he goes to the high society parties in New York in the evenings to see how people who can afford the clothes he photographed in Milan and Paris wear them.

This conception of fashion enabled him to spot trends.  Bill has three New York Times columns, On-the-Street, Evening Hours and Sunday Styles – http://www.nytimes.com/pages/fashion/

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Bill is not a paparazzo.  He is interested in clothes.  Celebrity does not interest him.  Dozens of paparazzi may swarm a movie star but Bill will ignore them and not even shoot one frame if he does not like what they are wearing.  Anna Wintour, the most powerful person in the fashion industry, says she gets up in the morning and knows that Bill Cunningham will be out there at some point in her day and evening.  She says she gets dressed for Bill.[3] If Bill does not take her picture, she feels like a failure, that the outfit she had on was not good enough for Bill to photograph. And, Wintour has a clothing allowance of $200,000 a year to help her look good and to wear something different every day.[4]

Anna Wintour outside a fashion show during Fashion Week_BillCunningham

Another characteristic that sets Bill apart from others, is his experience.  If one pays attention to Bill’s columns, one will see him calling out designers for copying earlier fashions by running the picture he photographed that day of their new dress coming down the runaway side-by-side with a picture of the same dress 20-30-40-50 years ago.[5] Bill’s understanding of fashion is far more sophisticated than people who are inexperienced or people who simply are not paying attention.  He understand fashion is about cycles which over history repeat itself – with some variations.  He has the experience and good memory to see something which the people around him  marveling at as so “original,” but he recalls it is not innovative and will pull from his achieve a very similar if not identical outfit from years earlier.

BillCunningham_34324

While Bill has inspired many to become street fashion photographers, there is more to it than having a camera and shooting pictures of fashionable women.  Many women may be put off or even frightened by a strange man photographing him.  In NYC, Bill is an institution.  His photographs document NYC since the mid-1960s.  Fashionistas and socialites know that the older white man in the blue smock riding a bicycle and photographing them is not a perv with a camera.  He is Bill Cunningham, the beloved street fashion photographer of the New York Times.  Women want to be photographed by him!

billcunninghamnewyork.photo01

Not only do women want to be photographed by him, celebs want to take selfies with him. Here is Rhianna and Stella McCartney taking a selfie with Bill at the Met Gala, 2014.

2014_MetGala,NYC_Rihanna,BillCunningham,StellaMcCartney_1

In closing here is my favorite shot of Bill in the picture.  His friend Arthur Elgort got out of his blue smock and to pose in Vogue with the charming supermodels Nadege and Susan Holmes.

 1992_Vogue_ArthurElgort_Nadege,BillCunningam,SusanHolmes_1

 

____________________________________________________________

About

Cliff Cheng has a unique set of qualifications to write the history of fashion photography by combining his backgrounds as a fashion photographer with 18 years’ experience and being a film historian.  Cliff is starting to re-emerge as a photographer after a time away.  Please visit his website www.cliffchengscreates.com.  As film historian, he earned the Master of Arts degree (M.A.) from California State University Los Angeles with additional training at the University of Southern California Film School.  (He later earned a doctorate from USC in another field.)  He taught film history at the Los Angeles and Long Beach campuses of the California State University. He has studied the works of Writer-Directors Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Yasujiro Ozu, Director Alfred Hitchcock, and Writer Paddy Chayefsky.  Cliff curates fashion photographer Lillian Bassman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lillian-Bassman-A-Celebration-of-Her-Fashion-Photography/283164151701560 and the Facebook page of Wilhelmina Cooper, the model who holds the record for being on the cover of American Vogue most, 28 times https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilhelmina-Cooper-A-Celebration/286939354681228

 

Endnotes

[1] Cheng, Cliff. (2014). The Most Influential Fashion Photographers. The Inspiring History of Fashion Photography. www.cliffchengcreates.com. Apr. 21.

[2] Press, Richard. (2010). Bill Cunningham New York. DVD.

[3] Press, Richard. (2010). Bill Cunningham New York, Wintour, Anna. Intv. DVD.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Wintour , http://jezebel.com/how-much-do-editors-in-chief-get-for-clothing-allowance-720958827

[5] http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/10647197665 , http://katewils14.tumblr.com/post/51642982464/bill-cunningham-the-original-street-style

 

____________________________________________________________

The Inspiring Fashion Photography History Blog

By Cliff Cheng

www.cliffchengcreates.com

© 2014 Cliff Cheng

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

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