Photographs from movie sets have always been packed with the curious itch of glamour. Pictures
, actor Jeff Bridges's book of photographs, is no exception, and it starts with a special camera. Bridges has been taking on-set photos since the 1980s with a Widelux, an oddity without a shutter or viewfinder. The camera's moving slit makes for panoramic images (about the same aspect as a widescreen film) and even allows quick moving subjects to appear twice on the same negative. Hence these photos are not always crystal clear but nevertheless capture magic, a verisimilitude of being on the inside of the movie-making process. The wide field can show an actor and director foreground while the crew spins their own story in another part of the print--multiple stories written in light. Bridges often catches his fellow actors with an amusing twinkle in their eye whether preparing for scene or appearing twice in the same shot mirroring the comedy/tragedy masks. Bridges adds reminisces about the photos including a very funny off-color story from The Big Lebowski
In the past, Bridges would give out self-published collections of his photographs to cast and crew as gifts at the end of a shoot. One might have spied these images in promotional items or magazines, but with Pictures, now fans of the movies can have their own wonderful keepsake. --Doug Thomas
From Publishers Weekly
Fans of the offbeat star of The Last Picture Show, Starman, The Big Lebowski and The Contender (as well as, more recently, Seabiscuit) get a closer look at his take with this collection of 119 of Bridges's set photographs. Sometimes blurry, and appealingly casual, these duotone shots fit nicely with Bridges's own persona as a quietly humorous, understated and unpretentious actor. Of his camera, a Widelux F8, Bridges says, "its viewfinder isn't accurate, and there's no manual focus, so it has an arbitrariness to it, a capricious quality." The panoramic shots (here about 12"×10") of cluttered sets, exhausted actors and crew members intent on various tasks are a refreshing "inside" view of a world that director Peter Bogdanovich, in his introduction to the book, calls "haphazard, messy, familial, jumbled, frenetic, surreal, fragmented." Bridges's accompanying notes are concise and often hilarious: on the set of The Big Lebowski, Bridges recounts how, while sliding between the legs of the "Bowling-Pin Chorines" on a "little skateboard," he sees a lot more than he expected, thanks to a "hairy" prank pulled by the mischievous dancers. One recurring motif is the Comoedia/Tragoedia masks that Bridges asks fellow actors to make, bringing them back to the ancient roots of their profession: Martin Landau's expressive rendition, with ghostly drawings of old cars in the background, is especially haunting. Bridges doesn't forget his family, either: photographs of brother Beau and father Lloyd are particularly affectionate. While none of the photographs are scandalous, a la Hollywood Babylon, and won't ruin anyone's reputation (although some will love the unguarded, unmade-up shots of Michelle Pfeiffer, as well as the shot of Bridges himself lying pensively on his stomach in his Tron costume), this is still a fun and down-to-earth peek inside a world often only seen through the overpolished lens of Hollywood.
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