The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff: An Eternal Dandy

Jeanloup Sieff: Ballet, Paris Opera, 1960

Jeanloup Sieff: Yves Saint Laurent, Paris, 1971

Jeanloup Sieff: Derrière Anglais, Paris, 1969

Jeanloup Sieff, Carolyn Carlson, Paris, 1974

Jeanloup Sieff: Sylvie, Paris, 1985

Jeanloup Sieff: Catherine Deneuve, Paris, 1969

Jeanloup Sieff, Liza Minelli, Paris, 1969

The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff: An Eternal Dandy

The French photographer Jeanloup Sieff (1933-2000) is a legend in fashion photography and one of the most prominent photographers of his generation. The Moderna Museet in Stockholm is presenting the first Nordic solo exhibition of Jeanloup Sieff’s work, which features a selection from Sieff’s photographic oeuvre.

Sieff began photography in the early 1950s as a contemporary of Helmut Newton and David Bailey, belonging to the generation succeeding Irving Penn. In the course of a long career, his photography spanned from fashion, advertising and portraits to reportage and landscapes. His images are often sensual and elegant, and in the 1960s he was much in demand as a fashion photographer, especially in New York City, where he lived for many years. Sieff was awarded several prizes, including the Prize Niepce, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris in 1981 and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in 1992.

Jeanloup Sieff had a huge popular appeal in France, the Unites States and elsewhere. His black-and-white photographs, always elegant and exquisitely printed, became his trademark style. Dancers and nudes were two recurring themes in his works. A trendy man about town all his life, early risers in Paris grew accustomed to seeing the long-haired, debonaire man driving a stylish vintage English sports car for his early morning breakfast in the St Germain district of Paris.

The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff

Slide Show: The Photography of Jeanloup Sieff

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Hot Skin: Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing!

Hot Skin: Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing!

Yves Saint Laurent precedes each men’s show with a film. This season, American photographer and filmmaker Bruce Weber shot the film, titled Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing.  Weber is perhaps best known for his ad campaigns and catalogues for Abercrombie & Fitch, which feature semi-nude, sexy hotties.  In this film, Weber’s exploration of nudity opens with a clothed model singing to a cute little puppy dangling out of a jacket pocket. Then he and his friends start taking their shirts off (in slow motion). Then they take all their clothes off and jump into a swimming hole out in the wilderness. Weber splices in some vintage shots of nude women, too. The whole thing culminates with the guys cradling an adorable baby, along with some more torso flaunting.

It’s Saturday, so you surely have seven and a half minutes to spend watching this!

Hot Skin: Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing!

Slide Show: Hot Skin/Ain’t Nothin’ Like The Real Thing!

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Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, 1960s

Kate Moss, 1996

Kate Moss, 1996

Vogue, Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima), Peru, 1948

Salvadore Dali, New York, 1947

Truman Capote, New York City, 1948

Collette, Paris, 1951

Jean Cocteau, Paris, 1948

Nicole Kidman, Vogue Magazine, May, 2004

Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, a renowned master of American fashion photography whose more simple aesthetic, combined with an often startling erotic sensuality, defined a visual style that he applied to such varied subjects as  fashion design, celebrity portraits and everyday objects, many of them now-famous photographs owned by leading art museums, has died at the age of 92.  In 1943, Penn started contributing to Vogue magazine, becoming one of the first commercial photographers to cross the schism that had separated commercial from art photography.  He did so in part by using the same technique no matter what he photographed: isolating his subject, allowing for scarcely a prop and building a work of graphic perfection through his printing process.  Art critics considered the results to be icons, not just images, each one more artistically powerful than the person or object in the frame.

A notorious perfectionist, he traveled widely, carrying his own studio to the ends of the earth to photograph Peruvians in native dress, veiled Moroccan women or the Mudmen of New Guinea.  Despite his appreciation for the art and craft of beautifully designed fashion, Penn later reached outside of the unreachable world it represents.  To escape or perhaps contest it, in the late 1960s he started photographing crushed cigarette butts and street debris.  He shot the cigarette butts in the same manner that he often photographed fashionable designer dresses, close up, with an intense graphic precision, against a white background.  He then built his negatives into “platinum-palladium” prints, a meticulous and expensive process that involves repeated printings of a negative on one piece of paper to create an extraordinary sense of depth and richness.  New York’s Museum of Modern Art found the cigarette butts exhibit-worthy in 1975. Far-sighted reviewers praised Penn’s ability to turn discarded objects into art, but the contradictions in his work still bothered some critics.

In 1950, while in Paris he went from a session of photographing the Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti to photographing French butchers.  His collection of more than 250 photos of butchers, bakers, street workers and others in the series entitled The Small Trades, was acquired last year by the J. Paul Getty Museum and is on view now through January 10th.

A Tribute: The Photography of Irving Penn

Slide Show: Irving Penn/A Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

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Readers can read more about the life and accomplishments of Irving Penn in The New York Times here, and in The Los Angeles Times here.

Reader’s can access a wonderful audio-slide show of Irving Penn’s series entitled The Small Trades, which is presently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum here.

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The Modern Man: Macho Replaced by Sexual Ambiguity

The Likeable Pete Wentz: A Lightning Rod for Sexual Ambiguity

An Interview with Pete Wentz by Out Magazine

An interview with Pete Wentz by Out Magazine concluded that if people are confused about Wentz’s sexuality, he deserves at least half the credit for it. Onstage he’ll lick a stripe up the neck of his bass or his bandmates’ guitars. He hooks his chin over singer Patrick Stump’s shoulder, mouthing his own words against Stump’s cheek. When they covered the Killers’ Mr. Brightside on a recent tour, he would punctuate the line “it was only a kiss” by aiming with varying success somewhere in the vicinity of Stump’s mouth.

He has no qualms talking about his attraction to men (including a big, stupid crush on John Mayer), which still puts him on a very short list of famous young male musicians and actors who haven’t been convinced that confession is in and of itself a career killer. Pete Wentz doesn’t care if you laugh at him, if you call him a fag, or that other f word: a failure. So maybe it’s time for a little “fuck you” of our own, at least to the idea that a guy can’t be a good queer role model unless he actually has sex with men. Wentz could be the world’s best spokesman to a generation of kids who grew up with gay-straight alliances but who haven’t all made the leap to full acceptance.

The Modern Man: Fashion and Sexual Ambiguity

The following is a video presentation of the Yves Saint Laurent spring 2009 collection. Instead of a traditional runway show, he presented his new line in an artistic film starring Jack Huston (Angelica Huston’s nephew) in the clothes. It’s got everything any good avant-garde fashion movie should: naked skinny people, hypnotic music, French speaking, a dashing man, and even-more-dashing clothes. And it’s even tall-and-skinny, instead of horizontal!

The Modern Man: Fashion and Sexual Ambiguity

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