Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lets Meet: Paige Nelson, Photographer

Paige Nelson is a photographer from San Diego, California specializing in fine art portraiture. Paige began shooting in 2009, tempted by a combination of curiosity and the urge to document the natural beauty of her hometown. After graduating with her bachelor's in journalism, Paige thought she might be a photojournalist and freelanced for several local newspapers.  Unsuspectingly caught in a never-ending daydream, Paige soon realized the ideas in her head served as a greater source of inspiration and outlet for her art. Now strongly influenced by cinematography, Paige's images often border the line between reality and dreamlike worlds. Her unique narrative style encompasses everything from self-portraiture to weddings and events.
  
     ANF: When did you first become interested in photography?

PN: When I was younger, I remember spending hours upon hours in front of the computer browsing through down loadable screen-savers of incredible landscapes, trying to imagine myself in those scenes. I used any disposable or point and shoot camera I could get my hands on. I finally got my first DSLR, a Nikon D80, when I was 16. I told everyone who would listen that I wanted to be just like the photographers of National Geographic.

As a freshman, I joined my college newspaper as a staff photographer and worked my way up to photo editor. It wasn't until my senior year that I discovered Flickr and the world of fine art, conceptual photography. I’ve been hooked ever since.


ANF: Why is photography important?

PN: Photographs transcend words and connect us as human beings on a deep emotional level. They have the power to move, educate and inspire. Photography is also one of the most important forms we have of documenting and preserving our memories. Ask anyone what possessions they would take with them out of a burning house and I guarantee the majority would say a photo album.

On a more personal level, photography is my outlet and my escape. No matter what I’m feeling, there is always a place for it in my work and a community willing to embrace me. The best part of my day is when I get to just grab my camera and go create.


ANF: How would you describe your vision/philosophy when it comes to photography?

PN: When it comes to my fine art work, my vision often starts with a naturally beautiful place. I try to imagine how a person can interact with the scene unobtrusively, so equal amounts of attention are given to both the subject and the setting. My latest series, ‘The Dream Sequence,’ capitalizes on this idea of oneness with nature. The color of the dresses become a part of the landscapes.

On the other hand, I have a very hands-off approach when it comes to documenting weddings and other client work. I want to tell their stories, not my own. That’s the photojournalist inside of me- I prefer to capture moments as they happen naturally so it the photographs flow more as a narrative.



ANF: What inspires you?

PN: I am inspired by magic. The natural world is magic to me. Inspiration will seize me spontaneously when visiting a beautiful place. Other times I’m moved to create by the work of other artists. Films with gorgeous cinematography that have inspired me in the past are The Prestige, Atonement, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. As for music, Florence and the Machine, Explosions in the Sky and Bon Iver always help me channel my thoughts.






To learn more about this amazing and unique photographer/visionary living in our San Diego community go to www.paigenelsonphotography.com


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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Homesman

                     


Directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, Tim Blake Nelson, Jesse Plemons, William Fichtner, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richtner
Studio: Roadside Attractions

                             Review by James Colt Harrison 

Rough, gruff actor/director Tommy Lee Jones has single-handedly brought back to the widescreen the American open plains in the 1850s midwest. Nothing is better suited to the grand wide screen than the old America west of the Mississippi, as captured beautifully by Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto.

Novelist Glendon Swarthout wrote the book in 1988 and Jones turned it into a screenplay with buddies Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley Oliver. Swarthout intended the title to convey the meaning of when immigrants were taken back home, typically by a man, or a “homesman.”

Oscar® winning actress Hilary Swank plays a well-situated single woman named Mary Bee Cuddy who owns a large piece of land which she farms. She was formerly a school teacher in the East but felt the western territories would offer her more opportunities. She got settled in Nebraska, but suffers from depression after having been alone for so long. She’s not exactly an old hag, nor is she a raving beauty, but is simply referred to as “plain.”

Swank plays Mary Bee as a frisky, no-nonsense kind of a woman who goes after what she wants. And what she wants is a husband to share her farm and life with and raise a family. Although she is only 30---an ancient age in those days--- she doesn’t give up in her quest to find happiness. She pursues and proposes marriage to several young men who reject her for being too unattractive or too old. This throws her into another blue funk. She’s a desperate woman but, by golly, Swank plays her as an undefeated woman with verve.

This prompts her to seek some adventure to brighten her dreary life. When three pioneer women lose their sanity because of varying degrees of tragedy, the local Reverend asks for a man to escort the insane women to Iowa where they will be taken care of by a church that caters to the mentally ill. No man volunteers, so Mary Bee gleefully takes it upon herself to drive the women in a covered and locked coach to satisfy her need for some excitement and a change of scenery.

As she makes her journey she runs into ruffian George Briggs (Jones). He is a claim jumper and has been lynched, so he begs Mary Bee to take him on and save his life. He’s an uncontrollable sort and just the perfect type of character for Jones’ craggy face and uncivilized manner. Even so, Mary Bee sees he is breathing and is a male, so she makes a desperate attempt to have him agree to hook up with her. It doesn’t turn out as she expected and there is a shocking twist.

Swank does a first-rate job of acting like a desperate spinster, and Jones is usually a curmudgeon on screen, so he’s perfect for Briggs. Meryl Streep comes in for a ten-minute cameo as a preacher’s wife and commands the screen. She makes everything look as though we could all act ourselves, but you know in your heart you cannot touch the hem of her skirt. Viva Meryl!

Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto was born in Mexico City in November 1965. Although his grandfather had been Mayor of Mexico City, the family soon had to flee to the United States when the ruler of the country persecuted the Mayor for his political differences. They first landed in close-by Texas, but later moved to Los Angeles. Prieto’s father grew up mostly in LA, but he studied to be an aeronautical engineer at New York University.

When Prieto, Jr. came along his interests leaned toward the Arts. He attended a small film school. After graduation, he was lucky to work with some established directors . He made his first film Oedipus Mayor in 1996 for director Jorge Ali Triana. He made a few more Mexican films and finally hit paydirt in 2000 with the world-wide hit  Amores Perros  from director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Frida, in 2002 from director Julie Taymor brought him a nomination from the American Society of Cinematographers for his bold use of colors.

Director Oliver Stone hired him for the huge spectacle Alexander in 2004. His next three pictures brought him a shelf full of awards and nominations for Brokeback Mountain (2005), Babel, (2006), and Lust, Caution (2007) including BAFTA Award, Independent Spirit Award, Online Critics Best Cinematography, and an Academy Award ® nomination.

Prieto’s career has been on an upward spiral because of shooting Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010, Oliver Stone), Biutiful (2011, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), the Oscar® winning film Argo (2012, Ben Affleck), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013, Martin Scorcese).

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Foxcatcher


Director: Bennett Miller
Cast: Steve Carell , Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo,  Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd

                            Review by James Colt Harrison

Foxcatcher is sure to be an Oscar® contender, with Channing Tatum and director Bennett Miller being singled out. Miller has already won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival this year and Channing Tatum won the International Cinephile Society Award as Best Actor.

Although wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) had won a Gold Medal at the Olympics in 1984, a few years later he was down on his luck and living in poverty. A huge opportunity came his way with an offer from billionaire industrialist John DuPont (Steve Carell) of the famed DuPont chemical family. DuPont was a wrestling enthusiast and wanted to start up a new state-of-the-art training facility for some of the greatest wrestlers in America. It was built at his Foxcatcher Farm in the beautiful rolling hills of Pennsylvania. Schultz would move onto the farm and train there for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul,Korea.

DuPont was obsessed with winning and having credit go to him for allegedly “coaching” all the wrestlers. He was particularly interested in having Mark Schultz continue his gold medal-winning streak. Du Pont was obsessed with that idea and he was also obsessed with Shultz. It is not directly shown and only subtly implied, but DuPont may have had either emotional or sexual feelings for the much younger and handsome Shultz.

Much has been said about Carell’s performance. His appearance is completely changed, and he wears what looks like a version of the Groucho Marx Halloween nose without the glasses. Personally, his performance to this writer seemed zombie-like and listless. He stares into space and speaks his lines quietly with no verve or vitality. It’s a step away from comedy for Carell to bravely try drama. He does a decent job but nothing will knock you out. Only in a few scenes do his intentions seem menacing. One does get the feeling director Miller went easy on John in deference to the DuPont family.

On the other hand, Tatum is the best he has ever been. He completely captures the naivete, confusion, and angst of his Schultz character. He has even develped a bull dog-like stance and bow-legged walk as you would imagine a muscle-bound wrestler to have. His has transformed his jaw to jut out and look massive and dangerous as a pitbull. Tatum has the opportunity to run the gamut of emotions. He’s moody, he’s combative, he’s giddy. He manages to cry when necessary and is angry over his rivalry with his wrestler older brother David, played beautifully by Mark Ruffalo.

David is invited to come to Foxcatcher Farm to train the other men. At first he is a best buddy of DuPont, but gradually the two men have disagreements. Young Mark wanted to get out from the shadow of his older brother’s achievements. DuPont desperately wanted Mark to win at all costs. Perhaps he saw David as an obstruction, and that may have led DuPont to go off the rails and solve things with a gun.

John DuPont was born into the ultra wealthy and influential DuPont family November 22, 1938. He was only two years old when his parents divorced in 1941. He studied at the University of Miami and received a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology in 1965. He continued his studies for a doctorate in natural science at Villanova University in 1973. He was greatly interested in birds of the South Pacific and became a reknown ornithologist with several books to his credit.DuPont’s interests included stamp collecting, sports, coaching, conchology, ornithology and philanthropy.

After his mother died, he turned the former horse farm into a sports training facility. He sold off his mother’s Guernsey cows and her prize-winning horses. British actress Vanessa Redgrave comes in for a long cameo as his mother and, as usual, dominates her scenes. DuPont became a sponsor in swimming, track, pentathalon, and wrestling. He, himself, became a competitive wrestler at age 55 and competed in three world events.

Friends began to notice that DuPont began acting strangely about this time and did uncharacteristic things. He wasn’t exactly looney as a Jaybird, but he was felt to be a little “off” about some of his behavior. When he went on trial for the cold-blooded murder of David Schultz, DuPont was described by psychiatrists as a paranoid schizophrenic. He was led off to jail where he died at age 72 in 2010.


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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ROSEWATER

Middle East Spy Thriller
Director/ Writer: Jon Stewart
Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Claire Foy, Kim Bodnia, Dimitri Leonidas, Haluk Bilginer

By James Colt Harrison

Rosewater is based on a true story and the book (“Then They Came for Me”) written by journalist Maziar Bahari. The London-based scribe is a native-born Iranian (or Persian, as they prefer) who experienced a nightmare of torture and incarceration by the brutal regime in power in Teheran.

Young Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal plays Bahari. Bernal is best known in this country from the films Amores Perros (2000), Y tu mama tambien (2001), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), and Babel (2006). With a little magic Hollywood makeup and hairstyling, he can look like an Iranian.

Temperatures were rising among the native Iranians when the 2009 presidential elections were due and the populace felt corruption dominated politics in Teheran. Bahari, who has a Canadian passport, was working for Newsweek , the major international news magazine, and wanted to cover the election process. He traveled to Teheran with a camera in hopes of getting some good interviews and information about the state of affairs in his native country. The populace was stirred greatly by the hotly contested battle between hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and moderate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, in whom the electorate had great hopes.

Immediately interrogated at his mother’s home (Shoreh Aghdashloo), he is accused of looking at pornographic videos and is arrested. He begins his 118 day incarceration at the notorious Evin prison where he is assigned the interrogator “Rosewater” (because of his scent), as played by Kim Bodnia. He is intermittently kind, vicious, understanding, violent, and intense. But still, he is not exactly shown as a brutal madman as we expect. Bahari shows respect and calmness toward his captors. He ends up never really telling them anything.

There’s a lot of excitement during the part of the film when the elections are fudged by the wily and corrupt, vertically challenged Ahmadinejad by closing down the polls early and declaring victory by stealing the election. This ignites students to riot in the streets during what was called the Green Movement. Millions of people took to the streets in a rare show of disobedience. It didn’t do them any good because they are back under the thumb of the religious leaders and corrupt politicians.

Although Rosewater is in the same vein as Ben Affleck’s Oscar®-winning film Argo, we realize that both films expose the tyranny now rampant in Iran. Efforts by the international community to end this oppression in a timely and peaceful manner is an on-going problem.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lets Meet: Anthony Gordon, Makeup Artist



photographer David Leslie Anthony for British Cosmo
By Paola Hornbuckle

So often we see the glorious images in the magazines and admire the models and the clothing designers but do we ever stop to think about who created the picture-perfect makeup that completes the vision? Anthony Gordon is one such makeup artist, and he has succeeded at the highest levels. Based out of Los Angeles, he has worked in commercials, movies, upscale magazines and with celebrities and members of royal families.
Grandson of the actor/stuntman Jack Gordon and son of Emmy winner Stan Gordon, he grew up in the movie lots of Hollywood. His career began in the Los Angeles punk rock scenes of the late 70’s and 80’s, where he cut hair and did make-up in the patios of local nightclubs. While working at one of Los Angeles’ first punk rock salons, he was invited to join avant-garde designers Nicola Pelly and Harry Parness to create some of the looks for their fashion shows at the trailblazing Parachute in Beverly Hills. It was his first taste of runway fashion and he fell in love with the creativity and energy of working in a team environment.
Since then Anthony has continued to work in fashion and advertising while bringing his unique take on pop culture and old, Hollywood glamour to film and television. He was worked with such greats as David Chapelle, Peter Arnell, and John Landis. His work can be seen on billboards from Times Square to Hollywood, and in the pages of Cosmo, UK, Rolling Stone, Moda FG, Angelino, to name a few. Anthony was kind enough to answer some questions about his remarkable career and the sizzling punk scene that opened the world to him and inspired his first flash of creative inspiration and self-identity.

ANF: You came of age in the Punk Scene, what was this scene really about? What did that look stand for?

Anthony Gordon 
AG: The Punk Rock scene for me was my coming of age - yes! I feel so lucky to have been there and been a part of that scene in Los Angeles and alive at that time! It was a crazy, exciting and dangerous time! The scene for me, and I can only speak for myself because we all had a different experience,  was about rejecting the ideals of our fathers. We came out of the 50's and 60's, the sexual revolution, the 70s and disco and wanted something else, something new, exciting, honest, bared down to raw, a way to live that wasn't the same old ideology of our parents. There was also the threat of nuclear war, nuclear energy, so many overwhelming new issues. I needed a release; I needed Art, Music, and Fashion to free me.  I always was intrigued by bands and artists like The Velvet underground, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and T-Rex.  I loved Glam Rock of the early 70s and even used to stay up late at night to secretly to watch Twiggies juke box. I remember the news trashing these people. Shock rock they called it and transvestites (laughs).  I thought they were amazing and free and I wanted that for myself!  I was making a statement for myself and to the world! It was so incredible being a club kid then: it was all new and fresh and it was our scene, it came out in our music, fashion and art. I had never felt so free and empowered. I finally had a voice and I didn't care what anyone though because this is my voice, my look, my art. It was new, although I think a huge chunk of the general population had no idea what was going on. We also had a lot of humor in our music, teaching us not to take ourselves so seriously.  I started out in the hardcore scene in Los Angeles , and then slowly the scene separated and  it evolved into the Hollywood art rock scene , New wave, Mod, New Romantic, Goth, Rockabilly, etc.  These scenes all became considered something different but prior to 1980 it was all considered punk. Our look was an expression of what we were saying and feeling
photographer David Leslie Anthony for Jimon Magazine

ANF: How can a new make-up artist stand out in today’s job market?

AG: If you want to stand out you have to develop a style unto yourself and that takes time, study the works of others and take what you like and add your own special take on a look, learn to edit yourself, develop a great working personality because people want to work with people with whom they enjoy spending 8 to 16 hours a day. Get viral but also remember the web is forever so be smart about how you represent yourself online as well as in person.  Also learn about lighting and color temperature, this is indispensable as you are testing and building a book.
 
ANF: What projects are you currently working on?

photographer Klara G for M Magazine
AG: I just got done working with members of a royal family and am looking forward to all my commercials for the Super Bowl and the Oscars, as I wait for the next film. I also think a book will be in the works which I'm excited about! I love to share my experience and work so it’s about that time to write a book.

ANF: How have things changed for make-up artists since you first started?

AG: It was much easier when I started, there weren't any makeup schools and you had to shadow other artists to learn or and test and practice. The industry wasn't flooded like it is today. Rates were higher and with all the new makeup artists being pumped out of schools, literally thousands a month, it is driving rates down. New make-up artists don't know what they should be charging so they are giving it away after paying a small fortune for schools and their kits. I mean does a plumber, electrician, or any other skilled professional charge less because they are new?  No!  My rates have always been in relation to what the job "should" pay regardless if it’s my first job or not. Always charge accordingly because if not, you're ultimately shooting yourself in the foot.
 

ANF: Does the punk scene still inspire your work? And if not, what does?
Andrea R

AG: Punk will always be a part of me and yes I do pull references from my past , but it’s not the soul of my inspiration, that comes from emotion, and what I'm trying to say with each piece of work. Depending on the job, I pull from my experience and I try to add my part to create the vision my client/team desires to the best of my abilities. Being a makeup artist is just one piece of the vision; wardrobe, hair, photography, and lighting creates the full picture, so learn to work in harmony with your team.  I am constantly studying the works of others, be it fine art, makeup, fashion or music. I find inspiration in all that surrounds me. It’s a beautiful world we live in!






Click Here to see more of Anthony Gordon's work.

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