Monday, October 22, 2012
It's that time of year! Any of you who have read FH in the past five years know I can get a little crazy with my Halloween inspired posts. The reason I love Halloween is that unlike most holidays, Halloween is one you can make entirely your own. There are no pressures to decorate (which I do), or cook, (which I don't) there are no family meals or visits from the cousin you choose to avoid most of the rest of the year. There are no gifts to buy and there are not battles over whether the religious connection should or should not be in the play and you eat things you mostly try to avoid the rest of the year. Halloween is also the night you can dress as you would the rest of the year if only you could get away with it!
Last weeks season two premier of American Horror Story: Asylum was a great way to start the season (although terror days on AMC had already began). I loved the first season of AMH, it is rare to find a scary television show that actually scared me. It did not hurt that there was plenty of eye candy (see my previous posts HERE:) and some stellar acting, most notably from the incredible Jessica Lange.
Lange is back full force in Asylum joined by some of my favorites from season one including Evan Peters. Peters is not only easy on the eyes he is also a gifted actor. Evans created one of the first seasons most memorable characters, and although we are just one episode in, is doing the same for season 2. As hot as he looked in the rubber suit, I am glad the writers chose to peel it off for a bit of skin for season 2's first show. I won't spoil for anyone who has not watched, but there was an element introduced in the first episode I am not entirely sure how will pan out. For now, I will just hold on and go along for the bump in the night ride!
'I like the unplanned and the unforeseen.'
There is a general formula I try to follow when putting together a profile of an artist. My goal is to focus on the element, the feeling, maybe not visually obvious at first, that initially drew me to the work. I then try to gear everything, text, questions to the photographer and even image placement to follow the theme I have chosen. It is always interesting however, that this rarely works out exactly as planned. Usually when working with really great work, the images decide the path, often taking control and forcing me down a road I did not initially plan on turning on to.
It is always my goal to say something different, hopefully even new, about the work and the artist that I am profiling. When writing about another writer however, the task is a bit more intimidating. In those cases, I know the subject is not just reading what I wrote about them, but additionally, how it was written. Andy Hurvitz is first and foremost a storyteller. Photography arose not to replace, but instead to enhance and further illustrate the story being told.
Although Andy writes on a variety of subjects, there are certain themes that weave throughout much of his work. On Andy Hurvitz: Short Stories, the author skillfully weaves relationships and human behavior with location and design to create a series of stories (I think Mr.Picky being my favorite), that almost read like short films due to how Andy so visually sets the tone with his writing. There is almost a neo-noir feel, both nostalgic and as well, strikingly current.
One subject that is front and center in much of Andy's work is his passion for his home in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. Most of his stories are about, or set in the Los Angeles area. In 2005, Andy began photography, about the same time he began his blog, Here In Van Nuys.
'Because I was writing about Southern California, I was also under her influence, the light, the movies, the dreams, the young hopefuls. I am influenced by older movies, especially film noir such as "Out of the Past", "Criss-Cross", "Notorious", "Born to Kill", "Crime Wave". The old streets of LA, the signs, the cars, the use of shadows and tones, is extremely appealing to me, and enters my work, if only subconsciously.'
This is the place in the story, the images forced me to turn. I had not initially planned to turn, my theme was going to be strictly discussing Andy, the writer and the themes which penetrate through his stories, both those written, and those captured by the camera lens. The men in Andy's images sort of demanded more though. The men Andy shoots are not simply posing, it is not casual even within the images in which they appear relaxed. There is much more going on, each image shot with far more intent. In so many of the shots it is clear the subject is captured in a moment of consideration. A difficult decision, a problem, requires cognitive attention, and the the images are of a time prior to a solution, if one is indeed, found.
'I think photography is enriched when people have thoughts, both photographer and subject. The world of movies, of books, of history, of culture, all of it brings an added dimension and depth to a photograph. Kurt Markus, William Claxton, Drew Jarrett, these are some of the other photographers I admire.'
Although outward beauty, great facial features, bouncing and behaving hair and especially hard, muscular bodies are always welcome in front of a camera's lens, Andy believes that how graceful, natural, athletic, and sensual you are, is not a product of muscle size but rather of life, balance, posture, self-esteem and self-regard. Being ripped all the time, through starving and exercising, can only take you, and only last for so long.
'Paul Jasmin is a classic photographer whose work I admire. He was the "father" to Bruce Weber and shoots soulful young people in old Hollywood surroundings, in old apartments, with fading light and golden hues. An aspect of the people I've shot is that they have had some pain, struggle and sadness in their lives, such as a missing or dead parent, divorce, single parent family. I'm astounded when I speak to people who are in their early 20s and have never met their father. Yet they are mature, level-headed, smart, goal oriented.'
When Andy goes looking for subjects, it is not modeling sites, or agencies where he finds the men he shoots. More often that not a coffee shop, a store or the gym. They are often multi-racial which Andy is not sure is intentional or just a part of living in LA.
'Black/white, Irish/Japanese, black/Mexican, French/Romanian, I love the beauty of humanity, and the wonder of genetics and geography, how a person is created from parts of the world so far apart.'
Finding a model, sitting in a coffee shop, in the middle of living his life, working through his struggles. Then, taking them on a journey, bringing them into a place, maybe a Farmer's Market or walking around to find light, shadows, corners and hidden places to shoot. This forms the foundation and essence within Andy's images. Creating the unplanned and especially finding those powerful unforeseen seconds of time to capture.
Andy Hurvitz Photography Site:
Here In Van Nuys
Andy Hurvitz: Short Stories
Christopher Atkins is hot, this we all know, but he has never really given Hoffman or Pacino much competition when award season roles around. Atkins does however, possess something many Hollywood 'celebrities' seem unable to get their hands on, a decent sense of self. The actor has always seemed to know, even when younger, what his strengths and weaknesses were and how to best take advantage of what he has. Atkins came to fame in his first role by dropping his skivvies and has, whether by choice or by necessity, has never tried to run from what audiences wanted. In movie roles (A Night In Heaven) on television, (the speedo clad Peter on Dallas) or even modeling nude (As I See It by Greg Gorman, 2000). While many celebrities try to distance themselves from certain parts of themselves, maybe their past, that might interfere with career, the real ones, the ones who know themselves, embrace it and make it plus within their lives and careers.
On last week's The X Factor, I sort of chuckled hearing Britney Spears criticize a young singer for their lack of voice and breath control. I can give Spears a wee pass however as although she is no singer, she has worked hard (although not always successfully) to make up for her vocal limitations with her ability to put on energized performances. Other celebrities do not compensate quite so well, some continue to try to fool the public by living their hype and letting Hollywood PR tell the story their talent may not be able to pull off.
Here, I present you with my top 12 Celebrity Con Artists. It is not so much about degree of talent as their skill at covering lapses, not with other talents, but by thinking the public is stupid enough (which we can be) to buy the lie. In the sake of fairness I left Kristen Stewart (above) off the list. Although many have bought the actress as having the great ability to pull off playing a brooding, annoying and vapid teenager, she has not really been watchable on screen since her debut in Panic Room. I know many will disagree with some of my choices, I know many of you will know exactly what I mean by some. I would be very curious if some of you might use that little comment button and share some of your own!
Bronson Pinchot isn't the only one who thinks she may be one of those Ruthless People.