THE TEN: GREATEST FILMS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHERS by Navo
Dec 10, 2009 - by Lope Navo, Photographer
The always engaging Navo gives us his picks for best films of about photographers. He also gives us a little picture into why he became a photographer. Read it, memorize it, bring it up in conversation. The Navo will be happy.
DAMN, I NEED TO HIT THE GYM AGAIN
Why did I become a photographer? Do I really love taking pictures or I just like the idea of being a photographer? Do I have the right reasons for my passion and obsession for this hobby, for this job? Can a person fake his talent, his eye, his happiness, his vision? Can I just act like a photographer for decades, for the rest of my life and get away with it? Can I just be easily a photographer the moment I invest in a digital camera? I think the most important question is - CAN I FOOL MYSELF AND THE WORLD? I was 18 when I took my first pictures in art school, that was right after I gave up painting and writing and focused on my photography and after a couple of years worked as a graphic designer in Saudi Arabia and Dubai, later Hong Kong, my designing job supported my love for travelling and documenting them, the skylines, the people, the parties, the beaches, the friends, then one day got tapped in Dubai to shoot a DSquared2 advertorial and the rest is history as they say, that was roughly 6 years ago, and the first 3 years was a slow pace into the transition to photography and giving up graphic design altogether, once you learn to love something you need more time to care for them, being a camera person keeps me busy and occupies most of my days for the past years, I take portraits of beautiful people, Damn, I need to hit the gym again is the no# 1 reaction to my work, especially with men, I dont know if thats a good sign, but for some reason I think I should get a commission to all the countless gym memberships I sold, I take pictures of men like I take pictures of buildings, they have to look magnificent, naked, architectural and mysterious.
THE ARTIST & THE POLITICIAN
Its been a work in progress and a never-ending learning and developing my style that I could call my own, I love the struggle, makes life more interesting and journal-worthy. But like any other industries, you dont only have to worry about your trade and your own business, the industry of beautiful people is also filled with the nasties, politics is deeply entrenched in the very structure of the fashion industry machine. Theres more politics in the fashion house than the white house, and half the wit and education, thats the irony. Thousands of very talented individuals, countless photographers gave up the battle, lensmen who loves photography to their bones, but hates the politics, artists who cant stomach it, or just basically not built for it. Everytime you look at a billboard in Time Square, you cant help but wonder, what this people behind this beautiful pictures have to give up, have to sell, have to kill to get this job? Yes, gone are the days when photography is only about taking good pictures, knowing the camera, going to an art school or just get a Photography for Dummies book, its not only about lenses and tripods and reflectors, its not only about models and lighting and creativity anymore. You have to be a hustler, a mobster, a bully, a pimp, a thief or a prostitute to be on the top of the foodchain, and unfortunately theres no university in the world you can learn Fashion Industry Politics or even a Fashion Politics for Dummies book.
MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, THE SEQUEL
L. B. Jeff Jefferies, Billy Kwan, Harlen Maguire, Anna Cameron, Jeff Kohlver, Laura Mars, Dick Avery, Seymour SY Parrish, Lucy Berliner, Alexandre Rodrigues, Russell Price , Charles Castle, Robert Kincaid and Richard Boyle are some of the most unforgettable characters that Ive ever seen in the silver screen and theres one thread that binds them all together. The hunky thespians (some of my favorite actors today)Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes 2009), Patrick Wilson (Watchmen 2009), and Bradley Cooper (Hangover 2009), cinematic legendsClint Eastwood (Gran Torino 2008), James Stewart (The Man Who Knew Too Much 1956), Fred Astaire (The Skys the Limit 1943) and Robin Williams (Mrs. Doubtfire 1993), and Hollywood megastarsNicole Kidman (The Portrait of a Lady 1996), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman 1990), and Faye Dunaway (Bonnie and Clyde 1967) have something in common. They will always be my personal favorite actors, because they played once in their remarkable careers a role with bravado, grace and intelligencethe role of a photographer.
If your life is a movie, will it be a Romance? A Thriller, a Mystery or Crime saga? Perhaps Drama, a War or Adventure Epic? A Horror or a Comedy? A Musical or an Action Sci-fi? Some people who thinks they know me (the Frenemies**) will say my life is a downright HORROR movie, a gay psychopath monster photographer who makes everyones lives miserable, sounds like The Midnight Meat Train, The Sequel to me, some people say Im also DRAMATIC, so i guess, theres a possible bromance lurking between the bloodbath, my life has been casualy summarized into a D-list cult flick in the 70s.
OSCARS LOVES SHUTTER BUGS
Obviously film and photography are close relatives both use film or digital cameras to capture the world as they see it and tell their different stories. The Academy Awards (Oscars) obviously loves photographers, most films featured on the list are either nominated or have won a major award, most of them for their roles as photographers, many iconic and important films all over the world revolves around that guy (or girl) holding a 35mm, whether theyre risking their lives toreveal a monster of war or a revolution, psychopatic photographers tracking or stalking the protagonist or a photographer tracking a psychopath, fashion photographers having illicit and scandalous sexual affairs, shutter bugs falling in love with their muse or just becoming obsessed with their subjects, or a combination of all that, these are the characters that have helped millions of moviegoers around the globe (including me) a glimpse into the life of the imaginary, the gritty, the tender, the romantic, the obscene, the savage, the genius and the humanthe photographer.
**a future article youll find here in Dangerously Naive.
Rear Window (1954) Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating waysand Murder!
The legend Alfred Hitchcock exerted full potential of suspense in this masterpiece. Could easily be my favorite movie of all time. James Stewart as L. B. Jeff Jefferies, a wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. Grace Kelly co-stars as Jeffs girlfriend Lisa Carol Fremont. Nominated for 4 Oscars (Best Cinematography, Color Robert Burks, Best Director Alfred Hitchcock, Best Sound, Recording Loren L. Ryder, Paramount, Best Writing, Screenplay John Michael Hayes and other 4 wins and 5 nominations.
Director: Alfred Hitchcock Writers: John Michael Hayes (screenplay) Cornell Woolrich (short story It Had to Be Murder) Release Date: 14 January 1955 (Japan) Genre: Crime | Mystery | Romance | Thriller
The Year of Living Dangerously (1983) A Love Caught In The Fire Of Revolution.
A young Australian journalist (on his first job as a foreign correspondent), Guy Hamilton (played by Mel Gibson) tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a half- Chinese dwarf photographer Billy Kwan as Guys local photographer contact, a role for which Linda Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Jill Bryant (Sigourney Weaver) as Guys love interest, a British Embassy officer. Combining political intrigue, steamy romance, and engaging characters, Peter Weirs well-crafted, highly enjoyable adventure is one of the few successful efforts to make a Casablanca-like movie for modern audiences. The film was shot in both Australia and the Philippines. An Oscar win and other 7 wins & 15 nominations. Also on the list of my all time favorite classics.
Director: Peter Weir Writers: C.J. Koch (novel) C.J. Koch (screenplay) Release Date: 21 January 1983 (USA) Genre: Drama | Romance | War
Road to Perdition (2002) Pray for Michael Sullivan.
Jude Law as Harlen Maguire a psychopathic assassin who likes to photograph his victims, Harlen tracks hitman Michael Sullivan Sr. (Tom Hanks) and son in Illinois during the Great Depression. Paul Newman (in his final theatrical screen appearance) as John Rooney, an Irish American organized crime boss of Sullivan Sr., and Daniel Craig as Connor Rooney, the crime bosss son. A story that had minimal dialogue and conveyed emotion in the imagery. Somber, stately, and beautifully mounted, Sam Mendes Road to Perdition is a well-crafted mob movie that explores the ties between fathers and sons. Winning several awards, 17 wins & 51 nominations, including the Academy Award for Best Cinematography win, and nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Paul Newman. One of the best film produced this decade in my list.
Director: Sam Mendes Writers (WGA): Max Allan Collins (graphic novel) and Richard Piers Rayner (graphic novel) Release Date: 12 July 2002 (USA) Genre: Adventure | Crime | Drama | Thriller
Closer (2004) If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking.
Julia Roberts as Anna Cameron, a quietly independent divorce and successful art/portrait photographer, Jude Law as Dan, a thoughtful but unsuccessful novelist and journalist, who authors a book about Jane (Natalie Portman), a gorgeous young runaway from New Yorks seedy sex industry, and Clive Owen as Larry, a dermatologist with the lust and manners of a soccer hooligan. The plot revolves around the infatuation of the couples for one another, an elaborate character study of two London couples as they engage in an ultimate game of partner swapping. The film was recognized with several awards and nominations, including Oscar nominations (and Golden Globe wins) for both Portman and Owen for their performances in supporting roles, and other 8 wins & 20 nominations.
Director: Mike Nichols Writers (WGA): Patrick Marber (play) Patrick Marber (screenplay) Release Date: 3 December 2004 (USA) Genre: Drama | Romance more
Hard Candy (2005) Strangers shouldnt talk to little girls.
After three weeks chatting with the 32-year old fashion/portrait photographer Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson - Watchmen 2009) Lensmaster319? in Internet, the mature 14-year old Hayley Stark (Ellen Page Juno 2007) finally meets. Suspecting that he is a pedophile, she goes to his home in an attempt to expose him. The first feature film for director David Slade, who previously had worked mostly in music videos. Disturbing, controversial, but entirely engrossing, a well written with strong lead performances. A movie that stays with the viewer long after leaving the theater, garnering 5 wins & 6 nominations in different award giving body.
Director: David Slade Writer (WGA): Brian Nelson (written by) Release Date: 14 April 2006 (USA) more Genre: Drama | Thriller more
Robin Williams as Seymour SY Parrish, a creepy photo developer and photographer. He has a vast knowledge of modern photography and develops photos at a one-hour photo lab in a local department store and becomes obsessed with one of his customers, a young suburban family, the dad, Will Yorkin (Michael Vartan), the mom Nina Yorkin (Connie Nielsen) and their kid. Williams won a Saturn Award for Best Actor (2003) for his work in the film, other 5 wins and 14 nominations.
Director: Mark Romanek Writer (WGA): Mark Romanek Release Date: 13 September 2002 (USA) Genre: Drama | Thriller
Cidade de Deus/ City of God (2002) If you run youre deadif you stay, youre dead again. Period.
Based on a true story, a shocking and disturbing, but always compelling story of two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood slums of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer (Alexandre Rodrigues as Buscapé Rocket), the other a drug dealer (Leandro Firmino as Zé Pequeno Lil Zé). The story is told through eyes of Buscapé, a poor young fishermans son who dreams of becoming a photographer one day. The film received four Academy Award nominations in 2004: Best Cinematography (César Charlone), Best Directing (Meirelles), Best Editing (Daniel Rezende) and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (Mantovani). Before that, in 2003 it had been chosen to be Brazils runner for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but it was not nominated to be one of the five finalists.
Directors: Fernando Meirelles Kátia Lund (co-director) Writers: Paulo Lins (novel) Bráulio Mantovani (screenplay) Release Date: 2002 (Russia) Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
Bradley Cooper as Leon, a documentary/art photographer who attempts to track down a serial killer named Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) dubbed the Subway Butcher and discovers more than he bargained for under the city streets of New York. A creative and energetic adaptation of a Clive Barker 1984 short story of the same name (which can be found in Volume One of Barkers collection Books of Blood), with enough scares and thrills to be a potential cult classic. 4 wins in different categories.
Director: Ryûhei Kitamura Writers (WGA): Jeff Buhler (screenplay) Clive Barker (short story The Midnight Meat Train) Release Date: 7 August 2008 (Russia) Genre: Crime | Drama | Horror | Mystery | Thriller
Funny Face (1957)
Fred Astaire as Dick Avery, a fashion photographer in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shamble, sales girl Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) comes to the rescue. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer. Richard Avedon designed the opening title sequence and consulted on the film, and Bill Avery was the still photographer. Nominated for 4 Oscars and other win & 5 nominations.
Director: Stanley Donen Writer: Leonard Gershe (written by) Release Date: 13 February 1957 (USA) Genre: Romance | Comedy | Musical
Clint Eastwood as Robert Kincaid, a photographer in the farmlands of Iowa on assignment for National Geographic magazine and wanders into the life of a bored, middle-aged Italian housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep), for four days in the 1960s. They fall in love, but shes married with children. A film adaptation of Robert James Wallers wildly popular, bestselling novel. Eastwood and Streep, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1996 for her performance in the film, other 6 wins & 6 nominations.
Director: Clint Eastwood Writers (WGA): Richard LaGravenese (screenplay) Robert James Waller (novel) Release Date: 2 June 1995 (USA) Genre: Drama | Romance
Under Fire (1983) This wasnt their war but it was their storyand they wouldnt let it go!
Nick Nolte as Russell Price , a star photographer, one of the journalists in a romantic triangle are involved in political intrigue during the last days of the corrupt Somozoa regime in Nicaragua before it falls to a popular revolution in 1979. Ed Harris as Oates and Gene Hackman as Alex Grazier. Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations.
Director: Roger Spottiswoode Writers: Clayton Frohman (screenplay) Clayton Frohman (story) Release Date: 21 October 1983 (USA) Genre: Drama | War
James Woods as Richard Boyle , an American photojournalist down on his luck in the US, drives to El Salvador to chronicle the events of the 1980 Salvadoran civil war. While trying to get footage, he becomes entangled with both leftist guerrillas and the right-wing military. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Woods) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Stone and Boyle), and other 3 wins & 6 nominations
Director: Oliver Stone Writers: Oliver Stone (written by) and Rick Boyle (writer) Release Date: 23 April 1986 (USA) Genre: Biography | Drama | Thriller | War
Photographing Fairies (1997)
Toby Stephens as Charles Castle, a photographer numbed with grief after the sudden death of his young wife, devotes himself to his work as a photographer in World War I. Charles is given some photographs purporting to be of fairies. His search for the truth leads him to Burkinwell, a seemingly peaceful village seething with secrets where he becomes drawn into a web of passion, romance and violence. Ben Kingsley as Reverend Templeton. 5 wins and 3 nominations.
Director: Nick Willing Writers: Chris Harrald (written by) Steve Szilagyi (book) Release Date: 19 September 1997 (UK) Genre: Drama | Fantasy | Mystery
Ally Sheedy as Lucy Berliner, a very talented drug-addicted lesbian photographer that contributes with high-art photography magazine Frame meets a young female intern for the magazine, Sydney Syd (Radha Mitchell) both of whom seek to exploit each other for their respective careers, while slowly falling in love with each other. Berliners photography (Sheedy) was based on Nan Goldin s work. The photographs themselves were made by Jojo Whilden. 7 wins and 14 nominations.
Director: Lisa Cholodenko Writer: Lisa Cholodenko (writer) Release Date: 12 June 1998 (USA) Genre: Drama | Romance
Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
Faye Dunaway as Laura Mars, a very successful high-end fashion and advertising photographer and Tommy Lee Jones as Detective John Neville notes striking similarities between her art photos and those of real crime scenes. The screenplay, adapted from a spec script titled Eyes, written by John Carpenter, was Carpenters first major studio film. Producer Jon Peters, who was dating Barbra Streisand at the time, bought the screenplay as a starring vehicle for the actress, but Streisand eventually decided not to take the role because of the kinky nature of the story, as Peters later explained. The role went to Dunaway, who had just won an Oscar for her performance in Network. It was shot entirely in New York and New Jersey. The famous sequence where the Laura Mars character photographs a group of models against a backdrop of two burning cars was filmed over four days at New Yorks Columbus Circle. Gallery Exhibition Images of Laura Mars are shot by Helmut Newton. Despite its lukewarm critical reception, the film was a box office hit, earning $20M off of a $7M budget, 1 win and 1 nomination.
Director: Irvin Kershner Writers: John Carpenter (screenplay) and David Zelag Goodman (screenplay) Release Date: 2 August 1978 (USA) Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller
David Hemmings as Thomas, a successful mod photographer in London whose world is bounded by fashion, pop music, marijuana, and easy sex, feels his life is boring and despairing. But in the course of a single day he frolics with young models, then meets the mysterious Jane (Vanessa Redgrave), he accidentally captures on film the commission of a murder. The film was nominated for 2 Oscars and other 7 wins and 4 nominations.
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni Writers: Michelangelo Antonioni (story) Julio Cortázar (short story) Release Date: 18 December 1966 (USA) Genre: Drama | Mystery | Thriller
Other films that centers around the life of a lensman:
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006) Nicole Kidman as Diane Arbus Robert Downey Jr. as Lionel Sweeney
Mad Dog and Glory (2000)
Gentlemens Relish (2001) (TV)
No Small Affair (1984)
Head in the Clouds (2004)
Femme Fatale (2002)
The Notorious Bettie Page (2005)
Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)
The Photographer (2000)
Harrisons Flowers (2002)
The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996)
Catch & Release (2007)