Sunday, April 9, 2017
For some reason, in the late 1980s, and for somebody, GQ I believe, I was sent to Atlantic City to photograph Don Rickles in Atlantic City. Oh, Lord! I thought.
I got there and waited in a large empty room. I asked for a small table, a chair and a cushion. After some time in walked a very smartly dressed, smallish man, who politely said good evening to me and my assistant and asked where he should put himself.
I placed the cushion on the floor by the chair and asked him to kneel on the cushion and place his hands on the chair. With a smile he did exactly as I asked him and I took the photograph. He got up and said that he had not been asked to do that before, shook hands with us both, and disappeared. He left a very favourable impression on me.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Looking at the picture later, I thought, no, at the time I took the photograph, I did not see how neatly her bag fitted under her arm, or, that the position of her sagging belt buckle is ambiguous, or how the sagging buckle exposes the small ribbon bow tied at her waist — a masterly piece of styling. All I noticed was her face as she stood quietly with her friends.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Frequently I found that the test shot was better than the real thing (certainly in this case), although we cannot remember the shoot that this was made for, but it hardly matters.
Using transparency film, as everybody did then, correct exposures were very important, as there was no Photoshop to save you. Anything more than 1/2 stop over exposed was unusable, but 1/2 stop under could be adjusted nicely in the developing.
This is very much how I remember Caroline looking when I first saw her in the framing department of New York Central on 3rd Avenue.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Out in all weathers, our friend, a man we have encountered several times during the filming of Newburgh: Portrait of a City, was eager to talk of Newburgh's troubles, but equally as eager to point out what a beautiful place it is.
"It is also home," he said.
I saw him recently and asked him if he could spare a moment. As always he smiled and said, yes, of course.
First he told us that in spite of the wheelchair he was in good health. He said that this was because when he goes to the store, he always parks his wheel chair outside and walks round the store.
Then he told us that what started Newburgh on the downhill path was that the city was never rebuilt after urban renewal.
"Much of the east end, leading down to the river, was torn down. This was where the factories were and where the blacks lived," he said. "But the rebuilding never took place. The funds were paid to the city but the city manager disappeared soon after — and the funds disappeared at the same time. I know this because I was at school with the city manager's daughter. It was close to graduation but she didn't turn up for the ceremony and we never saw here again."
The injury that put him in a wheel chair was received at work, and not, he said, from an attack which he then described to us:
"The worst thing that ever happened to me was when I moved from downtown Newburgh, in the east end, to uptown, in the west end. My house got broke into and I got beat with a baseball bat. The gentleman told me I need to go back downtown with the rest of the blacks. And he didn't use the word blacks either."
Friday, December 16, 2016
Her name is Khabijah. She is best friends with my assistant Veronica. She is a nurse working two shifts a day, looking after the elderly in Beacon, NY, a neighboring city across the Hudson River from Newburgh.
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
This is Temptress on Broadway in March 2016. I had not seen her since 2009 when I photographed her in Downey Park in Newburgh. (Image below.) We were with Point, one of my assistants and subjects, who knew her, but she was in a rush to get to work, (not specified). From this image it looks like she has fared well.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Monday, September 5, 2016
Langan's Brasserie was, when it first opened and for several years after, one of the only places to go in London. It was owned in partnership by Micheal Caine and Peter Langan. Peter Langan started in the restaurant business at the lovely Odin's. He married the owner's daughter and then bought the place. Odin's was in Marylebone, slightly off the beaten track for those days, but it immediately became popular with artists and writers. Hockney and Prockter designed the menu. Langan, following the example of the Paul Roux, owner of La Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence in France, (Picasso and Matisse were regulars) very astutely accepted works of art in exchange for dinners. Proctor introduced me to Odin's and I have happy memories of it. He once said to me, "I go to restaurants not for the food, but the people who are there."
Not long after Langan's opened in 1976 I went there one morning to photograph Michael Caine. I brought with me my nine year-old daughter Cathy. I introduced her, and he replied, "'ello darlin'." She has never forgotten it. As an actor, Michael Caine can speak English well with any accent, but, in conversation, he sticks to his very own Cockney.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
I have met this young person in the picture above on two occasions, both times with a child in her arms, the child either belonging to the mothers next door who have seven children between them, or one of her own siblings.
Starting next week one of my crew members from Newburgh, Tavares Cotton, will come to our house every day for two weeks to assist with the editing.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Monday, July 11, 2016
Across the street from where I was photographing Notorious, Caroline found two young women. After I had photographed them together, not very successfully, they were joined by their friend, a healer and fortune teller. Each tucked themselves under his arms.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Bryana, who is 19 years-old, was born in Queens but now lives in Newburgh, NY. She is a singer and lives with her friend Dillon.
Where does she perform, I asked her. "It's hard to find venues in Newburgh—New Paltz is much better." She practices everyday for hours and can't imagine ever being anything but a singer which she began in church as a child. So far she has had no complaints from the neighbors about her singing practice.
She is looking for work and is considering modeling. "Meanwhile I would not mind working in a restaurant at all."
Monday, June 13, 2016
Two stylish young people in Newburgh. I asked the young man if I could take his photograph because he was so stylish. "Whatever else you say about Newburgh you cannot deny the style and individual way its citizens present themselves," I added. I went through the entire process of taking the picture without his saying a word. He nodded or shook his head.
The girl, on the other hand, who we have known for several years, has always answered questions, observing and commenting on everything around her.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Time spent with Stanley Kubrick
I first heard about Stanley Kubrick in 1963 from a film publicist who had worked on two of his films. She recommended I see Paths of Glory which had just come out in London. After seeing it I asked the editor of the magazine Queen if she would be interested in an article about him. She agreed and I went down to Shepperton Studios where he was making Dr. Strangelove. When I arrived he was standing at a makeshift table on the war room set playing chess with a large man in an American Air Force uniform seated opposite him — General Turgidson, played by the late George C. Scott.
When I said goodbye to Stanley at the end of the day, he asked me if I would like to work for him,
“You stand in the right place.” he added. I said yes to his invitation, though knowing perfectly well that the last person you want to be on a film set is a stills photographer. You are always in the way, and in my experience, actors don't really like their pictures taken. That was the start of my association with Stanley as a guest photographer on three of his films. I guess I just liked Stanley — and he operated the camera himself, which I thought was unusual and sensible. An image that has stuck in my mind is the way he hand-held his stripped down Arriflex — so gently, and as though it weighed no more than a packet of Camel cigarettes.
His children used to come and sit beside him on the set. His eldest, Vivian, became an accomplished musician and film maker herself. I recommend a short film called Stanley Kubrick's Boxes directed by Jon Ronson, because in it are two clips by Vivian of her father, showing his sharpness and humor, and his calmness. It also shows the tracking shots through burning buildings towards the end of Full Metal Jacket, which Vivian scored. When I knew Vivian, sitting beside her father on the set, she was more worried about her pet mice than the techniques of film making. Stanley was worried about them too. Stanley particularly liked cats (and all animals for that matter) and I made a print for him of a photograph he took of one of his cats sitting on a shelf in his office. He wrote me such a charming letter thanking me.
When I spoke to Adrienne Corri after her rape in “A Clockwork Orange” she was full of praise for Stanley's handling of the filming. He was fair, patient, considerate and endlessly painstaking. She said that she too had received a charming letter from him, thanking her for being such a “sport.” I remember one of his directorial commands to her: “Turn around, Adrienne, we're paying you for full frontal.”
After chess, ping-pong was his favorite game. I'm not sure he ever beat Malcolm McDowell whereas he almost always won his chess games whoever the opponent. His ping-pong table, when I knew him, was under a tent on the front lawn of his house.
There was with Stanley never a question of accepting a shot or a take, until he knew it was right. It looked like he answered to no-one, but, at the same time he listened to everybody he thought knew something that he did not — the people from NASA, advice from the director of photography about lighting, his co-writers and his executive producer, the actors and designers. I don't know if he listened to the studio executives, but one day I turned up on the set and we hung around for a couple hours waiting for Stanley to appear. I asked what was happening. Somebody said, “We are expecting a visit from the studio executives so Stanley won't be coming in today.”
Copyright: Dmitri Kasterine 2016
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Sunday, February 7, 2016
There are times when a photographer needs a reference. It is not unlikely that when your 14 year-old daughter is stopped in the street and asked by a stranger if they may photograph her, the mother, who was in this case standing nearby, is going to consider the matter and ask questions. The mother said No, she did think she wanted any pictures of her daughter. As I was walking away, along comes our friend Point, a neighbor and friend of the mother and daughter. He had been observing the encounter. He vouched for me and I took the pictures.
Seldom do you see this particular street in Newburgh, Lander Street, so empty. It is usual packed with children on scooters and bikes, neighbors chatting to each other and women hurrying to work. It must have been too early in the day for any of that.
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Richard's wife Laura makes very good coffee. Straight, strong, dark stuff, nothing artisan or fancy flavored. She also makes her own bread, the no-knead recipe from the Sullivan Street Bakery, Little Italy, NYC.
Their house is one of the friendliest and warmest that I have visited in the Hudson Valley. I was going to leave the prints I gave them on the doorstep and scram, but they saw me coming. I accepted their invitation for coffee without hesitation.
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Except for the Reggae classics, everything that the proprietor, Leford Robinson, plays is recorded in Jamaica on his trips back home. Then there are the guest DJs from downtown Newburgh with their choices and immense skills in lighting up the guests.
On party nights you are frisked at the door (and why not, let's be safe), and nobody under 23 is admitted. We left at 3:45 a.m., while Veronica, our sound person for the evening, said she would stay, as she thought things were just getting going. We saw that she left around five according to her Facebook post.
I was exhausted by the time we left. We have some pickup shots to do and we are looking forward to that, but we'll try to be home earlier.