Styling The Man

Month: May, 2013

BLOW UP

blow-upReleased in 1966, Blow-up made an indelible debut in swinging London and was immediately hailed as a masterpiece.

In his seminal film Blow-up, writer director Michelangelo Antonioni examines the existential nature of reality interpreted through photography, pantomime and landscape paintings. Blow-up centers around a young stylish, successful London photographer with big blue eyes and a head full of chestnut hair, name Thomas-who lives a life of cynicism and melancholy. This superbly directed mystery, was Antonioni’s first production on English soil and it became a classic from the moment it hit the big screen. Blow-up is injected with doses of deviltry, and sinister overtones throughout, depicting pubic hair and strong nudity to American audiences-at a time when no other mainstream English-language movie had attempted it. Blow-up even got away with not being rated as a film for mature audiences.

During a stroll one day through a local park, on a quiet, mildly breezy, slightly overcast afternoon, Thomas catches sight of a mysterious couple acting playfully and flirtatious. Amused by the their apparent bliss, he stands behind a tree from a distance and proceeded to take a series of photographs, in an almost voyeuristic manner. Back at his studio, struck with curiosity, the young photographer develops the roll of film, only to discover he may have been the witness to a murder in the park and inadvertently photographed it. The plot thickens, when it soon becomes apparent, that someone from the scene of the crime, followed Thomas back to his studio, determined to retrieve the film through whatever means necessary.

Blow-up is truly a masterpiece and Hemmings as the young mod photographer, gives an stellar performance. There are some priceless and revealing moments in Blow-up you have to pay close attention to in order to fully understand Thomas. The interactions between him and his neighbor Patricia, played by Sarah Miles, who lives with a young painter across the way. Another important scene is where we find Thomas in the park at early dawn, watching college kids play tennis with an imaginary ball. These powerful scenes give us an important glimpse into Thomas’s desires and in my opinion, sets Michelangelo Antonioni apart as a master storyteller.

BLOW UP from Ranjith Daluwatta

“People thought i was dead. But I wasn’t. I was just directing The A-Team”

David Hemmings

David Hemmings in Blow-up

 


TUTU

Miles Davis + Irving PennMiles Davis and Irving Penn working together, for their first and only time, created an unstoppable synergy; one, a constant perfectionist of his ground-breaking music and the other, a constant perfectionist of his ground-breaking photography.

When master photographer Irving Penn and Master trumpeter Miles Davis hung out together for the first time, it became a collaboration, in the photography and music world, of epic, proportions. This stunning photograph is one of my favorite images from that encounter between these genuiues. It was for Davis’s long awaited album TuTu, in 1986. The controversial but memorable TuTu was written in tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. These two icons, whose paths had never crossed before, clearly had a natural chemistry in the studio-as expressed movingly through this series of images-and why not? Miles and Penn were masters of their craft, who embraced changing times in the 80s, during which, a new kind of music known as “Birth of The Cool” was incubating.

TuTu was the birth of a new kind of cool-mostly duets. It was heavily inspired by mid-80s R&B and funk, with heavy use of organ like synthesizers and drum machines. Full Nelson, which incorporates the pop element against the asthmatic whisper of Davis’ trumpet, is a very special track and a favorite on the album. It alludes to then imprisoned South African politician, young Nelson Mandela. Davis originally wanted pop icon Prince to be on the album, but it never ended up working out. Word has it, Prince, mr perfectionist, recorded his tracks, but in the end didn’t think they were up to scratch with the rest of the album’s material.

Davis reached out to legendary baseman Marcus Miller who laid down some tracks and the two completed TuTu, and it was finally released at the end of 1986. (to the joy of warner bros’ happy brass ). TuTu became an instant classic upon its debut-winning Davis the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance on an album, in 1987. Brief, but notable appearances on TuTu were made by violinist Michal Urbaniak, Brazilian percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, keyboardist and our friend from the west coast, mr George Duke, among other musicians. For TuTu’s album cover, this was the image chosen from the series.