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Pictures by Jeff Bridges Hardcover – September 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews Review

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 set.

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576871770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576871775
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 0.8 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #864,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By MEDIAHOUND TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm sure the fact that Jeff Bridges starred in 2 of my all time favorite films; The Last Picture Show and The Big Lebowski, doesn't have much to do with my high recommendation for this book. For it is a great book in it's own right.
I'm a bit of a sucker for photography books, especially ones with black and white photos, and needless to say, I've bought more than my fair share. Some I have regretted buying, having only looked at them once or twice. Pictures by Jeff Bridges is one of the few books I don't regret spending money on. In fact, my purchase was totally guilt-free because Jeff Bridges is donating all the proceeds to a non profit organization.
But maybe I like this book so much because I am a photographer myself and have worked in feature film production. In fact, one of the companies I have worked for did the special effects for Starman.
That aside, Jeff Bridges offers a unique window of opportunity to gain a glimpse of what it's like on movie sets, from the point of view of one of the members of the cast. Stars like Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfieffer and Gary Busey are featured. Although members of the production crew are also featured, I wish they would be featured even more (as a member of 'the crew' myself, I often feel like our contributions are overshadowed by the celebrities).
Jeff Bridges' special perspective is not only represented in the subject matter of the photos, but also in the panoramic format. There is something cinematic about these wide shots and the format suits the subject matter of moviemaking wonderfully. Further, Bridges has some stories and hand written notes throughout the book, a very nice touch, entertaining and appreciated.
The book is nearly 200 pages, seems sturdy and is put together quite well.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Icarus on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm a photographer and a couple of years ago I saw Jeff Bridges on some entertainment show and he was talking about photo books that he would make as gifts for cast and crew members on films that he worked on, and how he used special Widelux cameras. The Widelux models that Jeff uses are no longer made, which is a shame, because it was one of the very few panorama cameras that used 35mm film. (The bigger Widelux model which uses 120 and 220 film is still made, but it's much larger and heavier than the 35mm model.) After seeing the interview with Jeff I went out and bought one (I now own 3) and it's one of my favorite cameras to work with, and that's why I was so excited when I learned of Jeff's book.
This is a great book by a photographer with a good eye in an interesting format. The pictures are beautiful and the subjects interesting. The Widelux is not an easy camera to work with and I can appreciate the effort that went into making these pictures. There are a plethora of photo books from the famous that are published simply because the shooter is famous. Jeff Bridges is a photographer and this is a refreshing, interesting book.
And though the Widelux F series has been discontinued, you can still find them on eBay and at used camera stores.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By angela cohen on October 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you've ever fanaticized about being present on a movie set, this book will come as close as it gets to satisfying the fantasy. And if you're a fan of Bridges film work, you will find yourself in movie heaven. There are no set-up shots, no posing, and no actors being movie stars-just pictures of the sometimes grueling, sometimes effervescent work of making the movies we have loved. The real deal-both in terms of documenting the making of movies and unique photography.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Outlaw03 on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because (1) Jeff Bridges is my favorite actor and (2) I love photography and used to have my own darkroom set up and had a part-time business with it. It is really a good book - there are so many personal notes in it which make you understand the photo and the movie industry. It is also a nice look into Jeff's personality. It is something you can pick up time after time and see new things that were not previously seen.
It is a joy to have this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on November 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great coffee table book if you love movies and admire Jeff Bridges.He is an actor,a musician,a photographer,and a writer and obviously a true gentleman.He started bringing a camera on movie sets,creating albums,and giving them to the crew when the movies were finished.His observations about the movie making process are well written and intriguing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Williamson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are plenty of celebrity photo books on the market, but Pictures by Jeff Bridges is a true rarity. This is no paparazzi book with images of who was seen with whom and where. It's an intimate, insider's look at one person's vision as he sees the world, and that person is actor and photographer Jeff Bridges.

With an often witty introduction by none other than director, writer, producer, critic and film historian, Peter Bogdanovich, we gain a rare insight through black & white on-set images shot by Jeff Bridges. It should be remembered that Bogdanovich's most critically acclaimed film is The Last Picture Show (1971), nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Jeff Bridges for Best Supporting Actor, and it was Bridges' first major role.

The photos that we find between the covers were mostly taken by Bridges himself, and they offer a unique perspective for both fans of his films and they range from serious to very witty. There are almost 120 images from the set of The Big Lebowski, Tron, Starman, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and more, along with some excellent photos of his brother Beau and father Lloyd.

For this photo enthusiast, it is interesting to note that these were taken with a 35mm Widelux camera, a device that is a real throwback to the 1950s. Jeff Bridges received his first Widelux as a gift from his wife, and readers will find in this book. It's a panning, still camera and has a 28mm lens that pans almost 180º, and instead of the traditional shutter, it has a slit that exposes the film as the lens pans. But that's all in the book, along with some very off-the-wall commentary by Bridges himself.
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