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August 31, 2014

The Original Paparazzo

Elio Sorci and the Birth of Celebrity Culture

Elio Sorci was a paparazzo before there was a name for it. His cat-and-mouse game through the streets of his native Rome was a far cry from today’s long lenses pointed at luxury yachts, but the us-against-them mentality towards the rich and famous was the same. “A paparazzo, ” he stated, “is a young, carefree, happy man who earns his daily bread by putting other people into difficulty and doesn’t mind the risks.”

The term ‘paparazzo’ entered the global vernacular with the release of Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960: Walter Santesso played the celebrity-chasing photographer 'Paparazzo,' and the rest was history. Sorci was there to document it, having been asked to visit Fellini’s set and capture chance moments with, among others, Anita Ekberg, who appears here in an exclusive edit from Roads publishing's forthcoming book Paparazzo: The Elio Sorci Collection, alongside Sorci’s shots of Keith Richards, Tina Turner, Audrey Hepburn and Clint Eastwood.

Sorci was named the highest-paid photographer in the world in 1963. He passed away last year, and did not consider the generations that followed him to be true practitioners of his craft. “[He] found his professional path by chance rather than design,” writes Christies’ Director and International Head of Photography, Philippe Garner in an introductory essay to the book. “Indeed, it might be rightly posited that it was precisely their lack of formal training, their lack of self-consciousness towards the medium, the absence of all those aesthetic and ethical anxieties that can inhibit spontaneity, that cast them so perfectly in the role of ruthless image-hunters.”

Paparazzo: The Elio Sorci Collection is published by Roads, and is available in limited-edition with an archival quality digital print.

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Spotlight

Raymond Depardon: Journal de France

Take to the Coast With the Acclaimed Gallic Documentarian

“He told me he longed to make a film from the unseen footage he carefully stores in the basement—his first steps with a camera, his early TV reporting jobs, outtakes, and snatches of his memory,” says Claudine Nougaret, the wife and sound engineer of the celebrated French director and photo-journalist, Raymond Depardon. The short excerpt of Nougaret’s Journal De France sees Depardon capture the calm of a small seaside town in Pas-de-Calais on the English Channel during a journey around the country. The road trip acts as an autobiography of the man and his nation as he shoots cafés, factories, tabacs with his large-format camera. Complementing Depardon’s archive footage of Jean-Luc Godard and Nelson Mandela are clips from his 1981, César Award-winning Reporters, and La Captive du Désert, nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.

Journal De France screens in selected UK and Ireland cinemas from January 31.

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Spotlight

Sleepover LA

A Trip into a Downtown Dreamscape from Indie Filmmaker Lily Baldwin

“Transitioning from performance into film has made so much sense, as all film is choreography,” says Lily Baldwin, the writer, director and star of the darkly comic short film Sleepover LA. “Articulate bodies reveal what words can’t.” The Los Angeles filmmaker draws on her background as a professional dancer—with choreography credits that include Blood Orange, David Byrne and Brian Eno—for the surreal tale, and wanted to experiment with the power of minimal dialogue. “The camera can create an intimacy that's not possible from the stage,” says Baldwin, whose co-star is Nicole Disson, another West Coast multi-hyphenated creative and the film’s producer. Disson is currently performing in The Least Important Things at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and her series of 13 immersive art performances at The Standard, Downtown LA, helped secure the hotel’s location for the project. “In this instance my character has a real stoic quality to her that the role of producing lent itself to,” says Disson, revelling in the duo’s creative multitasking. “Calling action and cut for myself was a hoot,” adds Baldwin. “I tried to transfer this split personality tension into my character Taylor’s shy nervousness.”

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