Another Four Male Models Accuse Bruce Weber of Sexual Harassment

Image by BFA

 

This weekend, a report in The New York Times revealed 15 male models are accusing photographer Bruce Weber of sexual harassment and misconduct, with another 13 male models and assistants accusing fellow photographer Mario Testino.

Now, another four have come out with allegations against Weber. A Business of Fashion report finds D.L. Janney, a former male model, accusing Weber of asking him to strip nude during a break in a British Vogue photoshoot in 1982 so he might take photos for “his own use, and to show Calvin [Klein].” Janney believes Weber “blacklisted” him from the industry after Weber asked him and his male model brother to “pretend to be boyfriends” and they refused.

Christopher Cates says Weber asked him to strip and touched him inappropriately at a shoot in Miami in 2006. Alex Geerman says Weber touched his genital area while doing “breathing exercises” with him in 2008 – he now says Weber didn’t do something wrong, though, explaining: “It took me years to figure out, it wasn’t a sexual thing. It was an art thing.”

Finally, Ryan Vigilant said he was touched inappropriately by Weber at a shoot in 2008. After hearing Weber’s denials to the Times expose, he told Business of Fashion“The statements that Bruce and Mario, or should I say their lawyers made, pains me. I don’t understand their denial. Either their sense of entitlement has so clouded their ethical judgement, it’s not based in reality anymore, or they are going through so much pain internally and are destroying themselves.”

Bruce Weber Denies Harassment Allegations Over Instagram

 

Last month, fashion photographer Bruce Weber came under fire after being accused of sexual assault by model Jason Boyce, who filed a complaint to the New York State Supreme Court about an incident that occurred at a casting in 2014.

The complaint specified that Weber had locked Boyce in a room at the back of his studio, kissed him, put his fingers in his mouth, and had Boyce remove his clothing and underwear. The complaint also alleges Weber guided Boyce’s hand to touch both of their genitals and, according to the report in New York Postthat he told Boyce, “If you just had confidence, you’d go really far,” and asked him “How far do you want to make it? How ambitious are you?”

Boyce sued for $2 million in damages, and was joined by another model, Mark Ricketson, who came forward and described a similar encounter with Weber which happened to him when he was 18, USA Today reports.

These accusations were made in early December, but until now, Weber has declined to comment on the models’ words at all. Today, he posted this denial of all claims to Instagram.

 

Ralph Lauren Polo Opens Chic New Store on Fifth Avenue

David Lauren and Bruce Weber. All images via Billy Farrell (BFAnyc.com)

The new Ralph Lauren Polo store opened in New York City with a solid fashion guest list, including Grace Coddington, Lauren Remington Platt, and Alessandra Ambrosio. The new store is on 711 5th Ave, New York, NY.

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Alessandra Ambrosio & Hilary Rhoda

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Grace Coddington & Bruce Weber

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Schuyler Sutton, Bridget Malcolm, & Marcy Barrett

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Henry Watkins & Corey Baptiste

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Jane Hitchcock

RALPH LAUREN POLO Grand Opening with BRUCE WEBER
Lauren Remington Platt 

 

Visual Xanax: Rolling on Leo’s Breeze

Can’t you feel the warm breeze through the pinwheels?

In honor of his Golden Globe win last night this Monday is dedicated to Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo, we’ll love you forever, you always make it better. And don’t worry, we won’t let go.

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio photographed by Bruce Weber for Interview, June 1994

Want more Visual Xanax? Click here.

BlackBook’s Super Fabulous Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season has officially begun and what better way to get into the spirit than buying gifts for those you love—and let’s be honest, a few for yourself. So to make your shopping a little easier, from now until the end of the month we’ll be sharing with you our curated list of picks for the best gifts this season. Check back here daily, peruse our selections, and enjoy!

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Bionda Castana x Vassilisa Heels

Shoes and jewels are undoubtedly the first things on my Want list, whether it’s near the holidays or not. Bionda Castana is giving that wanting feeling an extra nudge toward her Daphne heels, a product of a collaboration with Vassilisa, better known for their sumptuous silk scarves. The chain print silk shoes bring the jewelry and heels together with this limited-edition collaboration. $747 on biondacastana.comByredoHolidayCandles

Byredo Holiday Candles

We’ve had a hard time keeping our noses out of these candles since they arrived on our desks, specifically Byredo’s Bibliothèque, which smells like the ultimate book and leather filled private enclave, with just a hint of fruit (in a bowl on the side table, of course). Though Byredo’s packaging is pretty fantastic anyway, the limited-edition holiday glasses lend  a serving of chic minimalism to whichever nightstand, coffee table, or stack of books they’re placed.

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William Basinski’s “The Disintegration Loops” Box Set
For over twenty years now, avant-garde electronic composer William Basinski has been creating stunning sonic worlds that awaken our senses and transport us into another world. His highly-acclaimed and celebrated release The Disintegration Loops lives as one of our most beloved pieces of music, as well as one of the most stunning works ever recorded on tape. His melancholic loops drone on and on,  floating through you and capturing you in the essence of a place beyond articulation. And now, after the 10 year anniversary of The Disintegration Loops you can purchase the massive limited-edition box set that includes: four historic volumes, previously unreleased live orchestral performances from the Met and the 54th Venice Biennale (both pressed onto vinyl), remastered recordings on five CDs, and a 148-page full-color coffee table book with rare photos and liner notes by Basinski, Antony, and David Tibet—to name a few. $80.00 temporaryresidence.com

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The Criterion Collection’s Dual Format DVD/Blu-Ray Frances Ha
Last May, we all fell helplessly in love with Noah Baumbach’s intensely charming new feature Frances Ha. Co-written with the film’s brilliant and versatile star Greta Gerwig, the film is a wonderful ode to cinema of days past—as Gerwig’s emotionally intelligent, witty, and thoughtful touch elevate Baumbach’s filmmaking to new heights. Its anachronistic feel is not only played out in its black-and-white aesthetic, but in its sense of hopefulness as we bear witness to a 28-year-old modern dancer, unsure what to make of her life. And thanks to the Criterion Collection you can get a special edition of the film that features: a conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Baumbach, a new conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and Gerwig, , one Blu-ray and one DVD, a booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker—and more. $31.96 criterion.com

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Le Poisson Rouge Classic Fish Membership

When it comes to venues in New York City, there’s certainly no shortage of places to enjoy live music. But for us, there’s no finer spot than the dark spaces of Le Poisson Rouge. As a multimedia art cabaret founded by musicians, the space offers a wonderful mix of popular and art cultures—featuring events in music, theater, dance, and fine art. So whether you’re enjoying their house orchestra playing with such acclaimed artists as Nico Muhly and Max Richer, reveling in one of their weekly dance parties, or perusing their gallery space, you could fill out our entire month’s itinerary simply from their jam-packed calendar. And with their Classic Fish Membership you can enjoy a number of perks, including: free admission for yourself and a guest to LPR Member Shows, 20% discount on party packages, a “members table” reserved for the use of members and their guests before all seated events, front-of-line access for you and your guests to LPR late-night events, and more.
$300 lepoissonrouge.com

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Bruce Weber: The Film Collection – 1987-2008

A legend of both photography and film, Bruce Weber has been stunning us for decades now. An icon known for his evocative fashion photos and fascinating films, his work has become ingrained in our cultural landscape, his images seen everywhere from the pages of Vogue and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and our most coveted cinema screens. And if you missed Film Foroum’s recent retrospective of his film oeuvre, never fear: the The Bruce Weber Film Collection Box Set has you covered. The four-disc box set includes: his most celebrated documentaries (Let’s Get Lost, A Letter to True, Chop Suey, and Broken Noses),  a 32-page collectible booklet of Weber’s photography, and Weber’s literary and art journal series, All-American Volume 13 Born Ready. Before purchasing, you can also check out our wonderful interview with Weber HERE.
$47.07 barnesandnoble.com 

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Nirvana “Nevermind” (20th Anniversary Remastered 180g) 4LP

We all remember where we were (and who we were) when we first heard “Smells like Teen Spirit” or “Come As You Are,” “Lithium,” or “Drain You”—the songs that would go on to become not only brilliant hits but landmarks of a time in cultural history. And if it seems like forever ago, it has been. Now, over two decades since Nirvana released their album Nevermind—the landmark record that solidified their iconic status, Universal has put out a massive box set to commemorate the anniversary of the band that burst and bloomed right before our eyes and change the shape of music forever. The set is a 4 x LP collection that includes: the remastered version of the original album, takes from The Smart Studio Sessions, The Boombox Rehearsals, and many never before releases BBC Sessions.
$79.99 turntablelab.com 

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The Row Carryall

Traveling brings the best out of my closet and the worst out of my personality, at least when packing. I have a feeling all those problems would melt away with the addition of this gorgeous navy carryall from The Row – possibly the most decadent and at the same time minimal bag you’ll find. Perfect for throwing in a weekend’s light essentials, or to be carried about town upon arrival, this is one of those gifts that if it found its way to me, my sartorial heart would be the giver’s forever. $2850 at Neiman Marcus.

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Spiaggia Sand-Repellant Beach Towel

For some lucky travelers on holiday, Christmas and New Years means heading to the beach, and what better gift to give than a beautiful and practical beach towel? Oversized towels are wonderful for staking an oversized plot of sand – but this towel from Kassatex has something extra – a sand resistant back face perfect for easily shaking away any wayward granules. $50 www.kassatex.com

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Monique Péan Fossilized Woolly Mammoth 18 ct. Gold Cufflinks 

Cufflinks may seem like the easy answer, but for the man who already has everything (including cufflinks galore) there’s a good chance he doesn’t yet have a pair made of fossilized woolly mammoth tooth root. (Read it again if you have to.) Factor in Monique Péan’s careful 18 carat recycled white gold setting, and you’ve got yourself a very rare, very extinct adornment. $12,330. Available at Jeffrey New York.

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Indian Bazaar Luggage Tassels 

When traveling, there’s always a nagging thought in my mind – how will I know my bag from the other travelers’, and more importantly, how will they know not to take mine? Tying on ribbons is always an option, but certainly others will have thought of the same. A better option: these beaded luggage tassels from Shop Latitude’s Indian Bazaar, sourced from the bazaars themselves, and more unique and personal than a silk satin bow. It’s the perfect gift for the well-traveled friend. $25 on ShopLatitude.

 

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Tom Ford For Men Intensive Purifying Mask

For the man who truly has it all, including a bevy of pocket squares and custom shirts from the likes of Tom Ford, the obvious next step in closet/counter domination would be a line of skincare products from Mr. Ford himself. Enter the discerning designer’s grooming line, FOR MEN, of course, including this mud mask, and out just in time for the holidays. What better way for a man to purify his face than while luxuriating in a Tom Ford world? $60 at Bergdorf Goodman.

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Sjal Saphir Face Oil

If you haven’t delved into the world of face oil yet, Sjal’s sapphire infused concentrate is a good place to start. It’s a luxurious experience, from precious gem-infused start to heavenly smelling finish.  $175 at Barneys.

Leather Care Kit 2

 

Otter Wax Leather Care Kit

For the guy with a closet full of leather shoes and a perfectly patina-ed bag or two. $28, Otterwax.com 

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NICOLINO Satin Cocktail Blazer

What better gift to give – to yourself or someone else – than one that can be worn all holiday season long? $595 at NICOLINO.

cover_ju_hadid_updated_1309041546_id_714104Hadid. Complete Works 1979–2013

If you’re looking to give a gift that’s both aesthetically pleasing and culturally insightful, Taschen’s new Hadid. Complete Works has you covered. As a celebration of iconic and controversial architect Zaha Hadid, the book explores the entirety of her work over the past 30 years, giving us an overview of her radical and futuristic world that has given life to some of the most astounding buildings in the modern world. This massive Taschen tome tracks the evolution of her inspiring career—from her interior design, furniture, and buildings—with in-depth texts, drawings, and photos. $49.99 taschen.com 

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The Crosley Traveler Turntable 

No matter how good modern technology may be, music never sounds better than when played through the crackling sounds of a record player. Whether you’re listening to the classic songs of Otis Redding or the latest hit record, you’re about to feel the music in a totally different way and make the listening experience so much more pleasurable. And this holiday season, spice up your collection with The Crosley Traveler Turntable. Built into the perfect suitcase for being on the road, with the Crosley you can take your favorite tunes with you wherever you travel this season. A favorite amongst those looking to imbue the world with the sounds of the past, the record played is a three speed belt driven turntable, that still includes the modernity of a diamond stylus needle and full range stereo speakers. And if you’ve been eyeing the remastered Nevermind collection (located above) this is certainly the ideal companion.  $129.95 crosleyradio.com

 

14_Wedding Blanket_9141Moroccan Wedding Blanket

‘Tis the season to cozy up – whether you’re fireplace adjacent or desk side daydreaming about a pillow fort – nothing sounds better this time of year than a really great blanket. What’s even better? If it’s beautiful, it’ll look just as great draped over the sofa as it’ll feel draped around your shoulders. $650 on Shop Latitude.

 

Leather Care Kit 2

It’s been a year of re appropriating pearls – from punk-ish at Simone Rocha to bedroom at Thakoon. This iteration from Saskia Diez doesn’t connect on top – giving the ring the feeling of a piercing – and there’s nothing traditional about that.  $650 from Saskia Diez. 

 

 Lillet Blanc

Lillet Apéritif Wine

If you’re looking to add a little glamour to your holiday feast, why not indulge with the Lillet Apéritif? As a pre-dinner tradition that’s been immortalized in the smooth sippings of everyone from Parisian artists to the crème de la crème of society, this delicious treat is such to spice up any fête.  $19.99 lillet.com

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Pacific All Risk Insurance T-Shirt from Extension 765

Although he may be “retired” from making movies, Steven Soderbergh is doing just about everything else. So when not making HBO mini series, writing a Twitter novel, or logging every film, book, and play he ingested over the year, the strange and bizarre genius is selling a series of t-shirts on his site Extension 765 that not only give a nod to films he loves but test your movie trivia. We’re still holding out for one that simply says: Mayonnaise. $38 extension765.com

TataHaper_ResurfacingMask_open2Tata Harper Limited Edition Plum Resurfacing Mask

Whatever 20 minutes you have is usually best spent with a mask, and in my book, none is better than Tata Harper’s resurfacing iteration – it gives you instant glow – and nothing’s better than that. The fact that it’s 100% natural means you can feel even better about slathering it on, or gifting it to someone else to do the same. $55 from Tata Harper.

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Nicholas Kirkwood Black Calf Leather Oxfords

Classic with a white piping twist, these Nicholas Kirkwood oxfords will subtly punch up a look for any man in your life. $850 at Nicholas Kirkwood, 807 Washington Street, New York

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Maison Martin Margiela x Atelier Swarovski Collaboration Brooch

This white resin and crystal fusion ‘Crystalactite’ brooch crosses Swarovski’s dazzling crystals with Margiela’s slightly cheeky braininess to form a standout asymmetrical piece worth holding on to. Perfect for the Margiela lover on your list who could use a little bling this season. $1900 in store.

GLO SOLO

GLO Solo Whitening Kit

Given the weather and the season, everyone around us (myself included) is at an all time intake high on coffee and red wine. We need the caffeine (and the alcohol) but we also need to look our best. That’s where the GLO Solo system comes in – you literally paint on the gel, wait about 30 seconds, and go. Nothing else to it.  $45 at Sephora.

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B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Headphones Sponsored by B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen

Perfect for holiday travel, the B&O Play blocks out all the noise we need blocked out this time of year. And it’ll help you, (or the lucky recipient) look good while doing it. I’d go for that gorgeous agave green. For a chance to win this gift, tweet at us @blackbook and #bbookgiftaway. Tell us why you need ’em. $399 at B&O Play.

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Amber, Guinevere & Kate Photographed by Craig McDean

The next best things to inviting your favorite models over for a drink would have to be thumbing through Craig McDean’s photographs of some of his favorites while comfortably nestled into your favorite chair, hot beverage of choice in hand. Any fashion fan would be inclined to agree. $100 from Rizzoli.

 

Fornasetti Profumi - Scented Candle - Silencio reverseFornasetti Profumi Silenzio Scented Candle

Beautiful scents don’t hurt, but cheeky Fornasetti fills any room with a whole lotta’ sass and sparkle.  $165 at Barney’s. 

 

Pop an Extra Visual Xanax, Because Monday: Kate Moss Kate Moss Kate Moss

If Monday is feeling exceptionally difficult, too much to bear, you can’t go on… just look to Kate Moss to get you through. Cigarette and wine in hand, with the as-nonchalant-as-possible no pants look going on, Kate has easy down pat.

Photo: Kate Moss photographed by Bruce Weber

Getting Lost With Iconic Photographer and Filmmaker Bruce Weber

“I just feel like my films are back home where they belong,” Bruce Weber tells me in speaking of Film Forum’s fantastic retrospective of his work (beginning tonight). And as an legend of both photography and filmmaking for decades now, the iconic artist known for his stunning fashion photography and fascinating films, Weber’s work has been ingrained in our cultural landscape, his images seen everywhere from the pages of Vogue and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to Paris’ Museum of Modern Art and our most coveted cinema screens.

Last week, we took an evening to enjoy the melancholy and beautiful sounds of legendary Jazz musician and icon of cool Chet Baker. And for all the footage and recording of his work, there is perhaps no finer documentation and exploration into the heart of Baker than Bruce Weber’s remarkable black and white documentary Let’s Get Lost, which headlines Film Forum’s comprehensive retrospective. Created in 1988, the film came just after Weber’s directorial debut, Broken Noses, melding seamlessly into the world of the moving image after he’d achieved great acclaim for his controversial and expansive work as a photographer.

The Bruce Weber series also includes his romantic and fascinating Beauty Brothers (and other short films, videos, commercials, and works in progress), alongside his documentaries Chop Suey, Broken Noses, and A Letter to True. Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Bruce to dive into his creative process, chat about his work with everyone from Chet Baker to Elizabeth Taylor, and explore just what he loves about capturing moments on film.

Well, I saw Let’s Get Lost last week and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The new 35mm print is absolutely stunning. What first captured me about it was the contrast of the black and white. The blacks were so seamless and the whites so magical.
[ He chuckles]

Aesthetically, how did you want the film to feel? 
Well, you know, I was very lucky in the cinematographer I had, Jeff Price. I met Jeff before I did Broken Noses, my first documentary. He had an apartment on Ludlow Street and he made some beautiful films about Ludlow Street, so it was kind of an incredible thing. We talked a lot about what we wanted—but when you talk about what you want, then what you do and what you get are always different things. So we were winging it, like you would as if you were making a project for school. So the films that I worked on with Jeff, and in fact all my films, came from a totally innocent place of a beginning. And that’s what I liked about making films and I still want to make films in that way. I’m working on a film right now on Robert Mitchum and it’s coming out that way.

Do you see film as a medium which allows you more freedom to play and explore your subjects? As a photographer you’re capturing one beautiful moment but in films you’re able to get the whole contour of a personality.
I think it was harder for me because I was a photographer—not for myself, but when I first showed my films at film festivals, people were really against them because I was a photographer. People said, “Well you’re a photographer, you can’t make films.” And I said, “Well I don’t know if I make films or take pictures, but we have a film camera, we’re shooting films and you can say what you want about it.” There’s all these rules and descriptions of things—

When there shouldn’t be. 
Exactly. It would be like me saying to you: “Well are you a writer of fiction or nonficiton? Are you a writer of poetry or are you a journalist?” Of course you’re not, you’re all those things.

And as an artist you’re just exercising different parts of a muscle. 
Exactly.

So do you see your films as extensions of your photographs and how does your eye as a photographer and a filmmaker play off one another?
I always start my films by taking photographs, but they’re also being filmed at the same time. And then we continue filming and I stop taking pictures. Then maybe two days later I start taking pictures again—I think it’s nice for the camera men to get involved with the person just like I do. I think any film you make is like a marriage, it’s pretty heavy-duty in that way. Sometimes the good outweighs the bad and vice versa. And you know, there’s a lot of pain in filmmaking, especially when you get close to a person. Not just with Chet but with Andy in Broken Noses, or with my dog True in a A Letter to True…that sounds crazy.

Broken Noses was your debut, coming before Let’s Get Lost, yet the beginning of the film says “For Chet Baker.” 
Yeah, I took that film to Cannes that summer while we were filming Let’s Get Lost in Cannes. And when I began Broken Noses, before I even knew the other was going to happen, I wanted it to be for Chet Baker. I loved his music and I played it a lot in there.

What was it about him that first made you fall in love with his work and become enthralled in him as a person? For me his music has always represented my love for “beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.” It’s so soothing and wonderful but so deeply melancholy and coming from this tortured person. 

Well initially it’s that voice. I was crazy about his singing voice—and I loved how soft he played the trumpet. It came from a deep place. And he really didn’t study music, he learned it himself. He was very intuitive that way. This might help in understanding: his favorite spot was deep sea diving—which you can’t even imagine, right? So that’s Chet. And people would come up to me at film festivals and say things like: “Chet lived with us for six months and it was just crazy.” So I’d say, “What was he doing at your house?” and they’d say, “He was our baby sitter.” One time Chet said to me, “I want to go out to your place in Montana. I want to give up touring and recording, I don’t want to play anymore, I just want to work up there. And I’ll run your place.” We have little tiny ranch, it’s not very fancy. But I just saw an image of it burning down. And I said, “Chet, no. I don’t think that’s going to work out.” [impersonating Chet’s soft voice] “Aw man, why? It’ll be really beautiful, I’ll take care of it.” I could see us getting out there and all the few things we have in the house would been pawned, just like the people in the movie. But he was a lot of fun to be with and extremely seductive as a person. Sometimes there are men and women in the world who are great being kept. And I think he was a perfect person for that, he just didn’t pick a lot of the right people to keep him. But he was incredible. He was so much fun to be with, he spoke French really well, which he learned on his own.

And you really understand that from the film. You go back and forth from being so seduced and fascinated by him but then feeling betrayed. 
Yeah, the way life is when you meet somebody that you’re crazy about that everyone tells you is not good for you. One time, it was in the summer, and I was in the Adirondacksmountains where I live, and Nan (my wife and producer of the film), we got a call fro the police department in San Jose. They said, “I just want to tell you, there’s a Mr. Chet Baker here and he caused a disturbance at the Number 6 Motel. He threw the TV through the window, so we came over and arrested him. And in his car there was drug paraphernalia in the trunk.” So I said I’d call him right back. I didn’t know, in those days, that you could really make bail with your credit card. So I was thinking, who do I know that’s around San Jose? I knew Diane, his girlfriend, didn’t have any money and she was eating at a pie shop and just hanging out there crying. So when I realized I could do it on my credit card, I called the police back and I said, here’s my credit card, I want to bail him out. And they said: “Stand in line.” So many other people had offered.

And you know, when you make these movies, like when I did Chop Suey, I wanted to take Peter and introduce him to a larger world than he knew in Wisconsin. And in the middle of filming, one morning he knocked on my door at the Chateau Marmont and he was crying. It was about 8 o’clock in the morning. And I said, Pete what’s wrong he said he, “My girl friend’s pregnant.” And he was about seventeen, and I said, “Well, did you tell your parents?” And he said he’d just told them and he cried and said, “What am I going to do?” And I told him that I thought he should do everything he could to keep the baby, but if he couldn’t, his parents are so great with kids maybe they’ll take it. And he now has this extraordinary life; he has three of the most beautiful children, he kept the baby, his wife is just amazing and he has this great life. And he’s probably even better looking than he was then. But he didn’t really have that bad boy quality about him. He really had a heart of gold. I really needed a break from dealing with the bad boy type of guy. And then little did I know that jumping into my next film with Robert Mitchum, I was right back there again where I started.

Photography is such a deeply personal medium, but do you enjoy making films and especially documentaries when you’re able to really spend time getting to know and understand a person or subject? 
I don’t think I would have met 3/4ths of the people in my life if I hadn’t had a camera. I was really shy, I’ve always been really attracted to writers because they can sit in a room and write something and —

Create a whole world. 
Yeah, and a relationship. As a photographer and a filmmaker, you have to be intimate with the person you’re working with, there has to be some kind of intimacy. I think writers have that too, or painters in a different way. Nina Simone once said—and I always thought this was like being on the road—she said, “When you’re on stage and everybody’s applauding you and telling you how wonderful you are and then the moment you go back to your hotel room you take off all your clothes and get into bed alone, it really does something to your head.” And so what it does to my head I try to put in my pictures and I try to not be afraid of it and to face up to it.

You’ve photographed so many famous people and models, but do you take pleasure in going to unknown places being able to really capture a moment in a way that a more editorial type of photography wouldn’t call for? 
I don’t really photograph as many personalities as much as a lot of photographers. I don’t really enjoy the whole process of publicists and the whole thing and the unwillingness to make a picture. It’s very different in England and France where actors and actresses aren’t used to being photographed as much, so they’re willing to make a photograph. I have a photograph of Marlon Brando taken by Sid Avery—I’ve always loved this picture—and it’s of him as he’s moving into his house. And most actors would never event think to let you come by their house, let alone the day they’re moving in. And he’s there and they’re sweeping and he’s got an apron on and in another picture he’s unpacking boxes. It think they’re so great because you really understand him so much.

I just got back from Detroit; I loved my experiences there. I photographed a lot of people I just met on the street that just have normal jobs. That’s much more fun for me. I don’t really think like, “Oh I photographed this person, that’s going to make my photograph good.” I think about where was I when I took this picture, and was I able to go somewhere. Just like when you read a book.

And who you were when you took it. 
Yes, and like you know, with Elizabeth Taylor, I got to be friends with her. I was crazy as a kid about her, really obsessed about her. One of the last pictures I did of her was with this bear named Bonkers that I really loved in LA. He was a really cool bear. I’d photographed him for Abercrombie & Fitch where he’s sitting in a field reading a book with a young guy—he was kind of a spectacular bear. So I had him in a picture with Elizabeth. And for the shoot, she was a couple hours late and we lost the light, so we had to light it. It’s not so easy lighting a bear, but then I also had to light her. So I was in the worst mood and I said, “Elizabeth, you are not the star of this photograph, Bonkers the bear is. And whatever the handler tells you to do, listen to him.” And she said, “Oh, I will!” And the bear leaned over and he was in a chair and she was in a chair because her legs were really bad, and he had his paws on the arm of her chair and she laid her hand down on top of him with her Burton and Taylor big diamond ring. And she just looked at this bear and you knew why she was so great all those years with animals back in the day—like Lassie and National Velvet. She was always calling me about these pictures—”Oh, can I have another one? Can I have another one?”—because she just loved that she was co-starring with a bear. And so I liked Elizabeth because she always made it fun to take pictures.

You said you admired writers, is literature something that inspires you? 
Well, writers are very shy about being photographed. There’s a beautiful picture that I have in my collection taken of Francoise Sagan in a field at a table with her typewriter and all these cows around her. And she’s smoking a cigarette and she’s in jeans a just a white shirt and she has this funny little boy haircut and she just looks like, wow, what a life. It tells a story about a woman who was a great writer and had all this fame as a young writer and then she raced cars and really trying to catch the French sensibility of things And so I think about that picture a lot and I think about that kind of woman and I hope that someday, I don’t want to do a picture like that, but I really do love the idea that I can meet somebody like that. That’s exciting to me.

How does it feel to have a retrospective at Film Forum now and have to look back on that these films, some of which you made over 25 years ago and are now alive again.
It’s funny, Sofia Coppola and I were talking about this and laughing: you think once you make a film and you go through all the trials and tribulations with it, you think well okay, it’s on its own, it’s standing on its own two feet. Well, no. You’re always going to a festival, you’re always talking about it. You’re tied to it for the rest of your life, so you’d better like what you’ve done. It would be like you writing a book and not liking it. A lot of people talk to me about my films and say, “Oh, I didn’t like that one,” and I say, “Well, I don’t know, the film’s really important to me—not because it was a grand success or anything, but because it brings back a great memory of an experience that I had.” That’s the most important thing that I have from my films.

When I first made Broken Noses, I always dreamed that the movie theater that it would be in would be the Film Forum. And I called Karen Cooper and Bruce Goldstein and I said, “Look, I made this film called Broken Noses, it’s a little film I made out in Portland, Oregon about a guy that has a little boxing club for youngster kids.” And I said, “I know it’s not very commercial and I know nobody will come, but would you show my film?” And they did. So when we won a Documentary Association Award, no one was more happy than Bruce and Karen, because at least they knew more than five people would come to see it. So I just feel like my films are back home where they belong.

Do you have any particular memories of filming or photographing someone that will always stand out for you?
When I was in South Africa and I photographed Nelson Mandela that was really special for me—it would be anybody. But there is one thing…one time I was doing a fashion shoot and this young girl came by. She was a little heavy, and she had a beautiful face and broad shoulders. She didn’t fit into the clothes really well but she was so special. And I learned from this woman I used to work with, Julie Brit, about always getting behind the person you don’t think is going to work out instead of the top model. And this girl worked as a checkout cashier at a grocery store to earn money for college, and she knew she wasn’t right fitting in. I said to the hair and makeup hair, “This is going to be the star of the shoot if it kills me.” And we made her. I photographed her for six months. She did the most glorious pictures for me and I just adored photographing her. So I always remember that and always think about it a lot.

 

Falling in Love With The Early Films of Bruce Weber

Last week, we took an evening to enjoy the melancholy and beautiful sounds of legendary Jazz musician and icon of cool Chet Baker. And for all the footage and recording of his work, there is perhaps no finer documentation and exploration into the heart of Baker than Bruce Weber’s stunning black-and-white documentaryLet’s Get Lost. Created in 1988, the film came just after Weber’s directorial debut, melding seamlessly into the world of the moving image after he’d achieved great acclaim for his controversial and expansive work as a photographer.

And with Film Forum hosting a wonderfully comprehensive retrospective of Weber’s work beginning this Friday, you can now get excited to attend with a look at his first two features: Broken Noses and Beauty Brothers. Although the former was made before completing Let’s Get Lost, Weber’s debut is dedicated to Chet Baker and is filled with the most pleasing of jazz tunes. And while that film takes a look the boys and coach of a small but accomplished boxing club near Portland, Oregon, Beauty Brothers is a most romantic second vision from Weber.

Check out the films online, courtesy of UbuWebbut make sure to see them in all their restored glory this weekend at Film Forum. We’re also very happy to share our interview with Weber—conducted yesterday afternoon—on here later in the week. Stay tuned and enjoy.

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Broken Noses (1987)
Weber’s documentary focuses on Andy Minsker, a very attractive (and often silly) lightweight boxer, who trains a group of kids in his small boxing club in Oregon. Becoming role model to them all, he dedicates his time to help them become the boxers they aspire to be. Minkser’s relationship with his parents and stepparents is also captured(he was raised in a broken home), and many times true feelings are revealed that have never before been uttered. The very camera friendly Andy is a delight to watch in this film, and at times he acts like a little kid as well. As with most of Bruce Weber’s work, there’s no denying the homoerotic feel; from the boxing club training to a play fight between Minkser and one of his trainees, there’s always a hint of it. Fans of Weber’s work will not be disappointed, and those looking for a good boxing documentary should check this one out. Filmed in B&W interspersed with color sequences. (Watch HERE)

Beauty Brothers (1987)
Presented in five vignettes, and starring the brothers of M.Dillon, The Beauty Brothers offers-up the romance, desire, dreamscapes and frustrations of youth. (Watch HERE)