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July 27, 2008

Helmut Newton Foundation

At The Helmut Newton Foundation on Jebensstrasse the current exhibition on display is Pigozzi and the paparazzi.

From the exhibition's program:

Jean Pigozzi, the photographer included in the exhibition title, has been able to cultivate the kind of intensive and intimate relationship with the rich and the famous that is so desperately sought after by the paparazzi at large. Being befriended with many famous people in the international social and cultural scene, he has been making candid portraits of prominent individuals at private locations since the 1970’s. An unusual aspect of his work is his double portrait series Pigozzi & Co. In this ongoing project he appears together with a musician or an actor friend, the two posed with their heads, often touching, in a close-cropped composition. These are images from daily life, in which Pigozzi poses as friend and fan.

There were also some awesome pictures by Newton that I haven't seen before.

In his autobiography Newton wrote that after he saw Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita starring Anita Ekberg, he became interested in the phenomenon of the paparazzi. In 1970 he travelled to Rome to work with “real” paparazzi. As part of a commission for the fashion magazine Linea Italiana, Newton hired a few of them to pose with his models. In Newton’s unconventional approach the photographers were asked to treat the model as if she were a famous person. An interesting aspect of Newton’s work is the combination of multiple real elements, such as the model, the fashion and the paparazzi, on the one hand, with the staging of the photograph on the other.

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Clandestine shot of the famous Big Nudes series exhibited in the staircase. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

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Richard almost made the universe cancel itself out by taking paparazzo pictures of me looking at pictures of paparazzi taken by other paparazzi. Richard Reens, Berlin, 2008.

If you are in Berlin and have a couple of hours to spend, pay a visit to the HNF. It's handily placed in Ku'Damm area and beside Newton's works, cameras and props, there are other photo exhibitions, a wonderful bookstore and a Café Einstein ready to provide for that raging caffeine addiction of yours.

But, um, you're not allowed to take pictures.

November 10, 2007


Overlayed, Cristian -Kit- Paul, Iasi, 2007

Planes where business class is exactly the same as coach, seats dwarfed by the dimensions of real human beings, inedible in-flight meals and fare prices that benevolently feed armies of leech companies buying more political support than aviation gasoline.

Refurbished communist hotels run by lazy managers, italian-looking hotels built upon stolen concepts, plain vanilla hotels decorated by blind interior designers and a posh hotel designed by Gustave Eiffel himself were awful music harms the human soul.

Cheap wines, expensive wines, sleepwalking waiters with neon-reflecting eyes, cotton-padded brains and not even the distant memory of a smile.

June 13, 2007

Danube lunch


Calarasi. A decrepit restaurant in an useless port to Danube, rusted tugboats, spicy fish and cold wine.

Doug wrote a couple of years ago:

Calarasi — it’s pronounced kuller-osh, don’t ask — is the poorest city in Romania. Here’s what the Lonely Planet has to say about it:

"The surreal entry by road from the northwest beneath an ungainly ‘bridge’ of rusting conveyor belts forming an intricate maze to the city’s steel works, says it all about this city. Largely industrial, the town offers absolutely no reason to come here except to catch the next ferry out — across the Danube to Ostrov, from where you can cross into Silistra in Bulgaria."

This is perhaps a bit unkind.

[...] The aforementioned steel works — this is something that is really, truly amazing. It’s an enormous industrial complex, covering many hundreds of acres. There are great vast factory buildings with thousands of windows; miles and miles of enormous metal pipes; huge conveyor belts, big enough to drive a truck along, hanging suspended dozens of meters in the air. Off to one side is a dock — the quay is 600 meters long — designed especially for the steel works; cranes dangle over a canal dug especially for the factory, reaching several kilometers to the main branch of the Danube. Sitting in the middle of it all is the cooling tower of a power plant — not nuclear, I don’t think, but big as hell anyhow.

And, holy weeping scrod, it’s all dead dead dead. The factory windows are broken and the cold January wind blows snow through them. The special canal is covered with an unbroken scrim of ice. The immense pipes are brown with rust and have collapsed in several places. Pieces of the conveyor belts have snapped and are hanging off. It looks like the set of a movie — a bad, but extremely expensive movie — about a post-apocalyptic future inhabited only by vampires and mutants.

I didn’t see all that. Only a decrepit restaurant in a useless port to Danube, rusted tugboats, spicy fish and cold wine.

May 12, 2007


Casa Universitarilor Craiova, Cristian Kit Paul, 2007

In the rearview mirror the sun's going down, Cristian Kit Paul, 2007

Who would've thought that being a designer involves so much business travel?