Saturday, April 17, 2010

I surprised myself...

I am taking a History of Photography class for my degree and part of the final grade is doing a presentation regarding a photographer that inspired us. Those of you that know me well know how much I love panoramas and scenic views.. when I take pictures other than my kids, it's of nature, landscape, that sort of thing. I have taken, over the years, some many truly amazing shots (if I do say so myself!), I think I may take my professor's suggestion and make a book for myself of all these photos, and I think I might just do it.

At any rate, at first I was leaning toward Ansel Adams (of course!), but the work of Man Ray, Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange was so great that it prompted me in doing a search of just "famous" photographs to get inspired. I wanted the photo to draw me in, not the famous name. I finally came across two photos that I can't stop staring at. One is from a photographer from Transylvania called Brassai. He was famous for portraying the night life of Paris in the 1930s. The photo that just mesmorizes me is called Bijou-Madame Bijou is a photograph of an old woman who once led a rich life but now lives on charity. She read palms and told stories to receive food and money from gullible men.

I don't know if it's the jewels or the somewhat familiar face, but I can't get this photo out of my head!

The second photo is a beauty. A truly amazing photo of the late Marilyn Monroe. I've always had an affinity for this tragic actress This particular photo of Marilyn Monroe interested me because it seemed a bit unusual in the way she is lying on a bed on top of a blanket portraying a Geisha. I can almost “see” the colors in this black and white photograph shine through because of the rich detail, which gives this photo an aura of mystery and intrigue. The rose in Marilyn’s hand and her sweet hint of a smile gives us a sense of her tormented life she tried so hard to cover up.

Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton took this photo, he  was an English fashion and portrait photographer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre.

Cecil Beaton’s work caught my eye for the romanticism, elegance, fantasy, charm and the absolute beauty of each and every photograph he took of famous people such as Twiggy, Mick Jagger, Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Winston Churchill and Pablo Picasso. Reading his biography it’s easy to see why his work took this angle; he was enthralled by High Society, Glamour & the Theater world. Beaton is best known for his fashion photographs and society portraits, and often photographed the Queen of England.

So, in the next few weeks I decided I will be making my presentation about Cecil Beaton's work. That is surprising to me just because a fashion photographer was never something I thought I was interested in, I guess I am a bit more open minded about my likes and dislikes than I thought!

Aren't these photos beautiful?