Thursday, February 28, 2019

Alejandro González Iñárritu first Mexican to serve as Cannes jury president

Alejandro González Iñárritu first Mexican to serve as Cannes jury president

The Birdman director will oversee prize deliberations at the film festival in May, making him the first person from his country to do so

Catherine Shoard
27 Feb 2019

Alejandro González Iñárritu has been named president of this year’s Cannes film festival. Iñárritu, who won the best director Oscar two years running for Birdman and The Revenant, is the first Mexican to chair the panel.

Pete Souza's best photograph / Obama lays into Putin

‘Putin understood exactly what was being said’ …
Presidents Obama and Putin in Normandy, France, 2014.

Pete Souza's best photograph: 
Obama lays into Putin 

‘Trump acts as if Russia is our best friend.
But it’s our adversary. And this is how you should talk
to an adversary’

Tim Jonze
Thu 28 February 2019

wasn’t supposed to be here for this picture. It was taken on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings – all the heads of state had gathered there and were coming out of an impromptu luncheon. The official photographers from each country had been kicked out – we were all supposed to leave the building. But I have a knack of making myself small and sticking around.

The shot shows the kind of interaction President Obama had with President Putin during his tenure. It was 2014, a particularly tense time between the two countries. You can see in the facial expressions and gestures that this was a very serious conversation. There are interpreters stood behind them, but I get the impression from Putin’s face that he understood exactly what was being said in English.
I was within earshot. I can’t recount specifically what they said, but I knew the subject matter. Can I say what it was? It was about … some of Russia’s actions in the world. Let’s leave it at that.
This conversation went on for a while: they weren’t thinking about me. To them, I was just one of many people in the room, coming and going in different directions. I started out shooting horizontally and tighter, and then switched to vertical, backing up to show their entire bodies. Compositionally, that seemed to show the body language better.

I first met Obama on his very first day in the US senate in 2005. I was impressed by the way he interacted with people, not just on the podium but on a one-to-one level. And from a photographer’s standpoint, I saw right away how comfortable he was in the presence of a camera. I could be in some pretty intimate situations with him and me being there with a camera didn’t seem to bother him at all.
I would tell friends that I was photographing a senator who was going to become the president of the United States. But on other occasions I’d see him deliver these long-winded answers during town hall meetings and wonder if he really had it in him. He was so policy-oriented that he would sometimes give 10- or 15-minute answers when people wanted a quicker response. I sensed he was losing some people, but he got better at that over time.
I call our relationship a professional friendship. I don’t go to his house for dinner with him and Michelle, but I would get invited to the holiday party that he has for his office. How would I describe him? I’d say he was intelligent and very disciplined – about work, exercise, diet. And he’s very competitive in all aspects of his life. We’d do these long flights on Air Force One where we would play the card game Spades and he would be really competitive. That’s just his nature.

I took 1.9m photos in my time as White House photographer. I was with my cameras at the White House every day for essentially eight years. I wasn’t photographing every second of every day, but I was always ready to. The stressful aspect was not the job but its effect on my personal life, because I felt I always needed to be with Obama. You never know when history is going to take place. So for eight years my personal life was on hold. By the time his presidency ended I was worn out.

I also worked as White House photographer for Ronald Reagan. That was a different era. I was a young man, Reagan was in his 70s and I didn’t know him that well. I didn’t have the same sort of access that I had with Obama. We were shooting film and there was no such thing as social media. And Reagan was just a different type of person – very formal, didn’t do nearly as much – and so my coverage wasn’t nearly as exhaustive.
I’ve noticed how you don’t see any behind-the-scenes photographs of Trump. What you see is the reality show – a cabinet meeting or oval office meeting where the entire press corps is there the whole time. I don’t feel like there are any unguarded moments.
Obviously the investigations into Russian collusion gives this picture an extra layer of meaning. It shows the way you should interact with the president of Russia. It should be tense. Trump still does not acknowledge that Putin is the guy who directed people to meddle with our election. Instead, he interacts with him as if they’re best friends. This is our adversary, and this is the way you should talk to an adversary.
 Pete Souza will be speaking at The Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham, 16-19 March;

Pete Souza’s CV

Pete Souza.

Born: New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1954.
Trained: Boston University and Kansas State University
Influences: Henri Cartier-Bresson and W Eugene Smith,
High point: “Being employed as chief official White House photographer for President Obama.”
Low point: “Going freelance in 1996 – I was broke.”
Top tip: “Shoot pictures every day.”



Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Unseen and intimate portraits of Kate Moss revealed in new Mario Sorrenti book

Unseen and intimate portraits of Kate Moss revealed in new Mario Sorrenti book

7 SEP 2018
The year is 1993; the hot movies are Jurassic Park and Groundhog Day while the pop charts are buzzing with debut album releases by newcomers Bjork, Radiohead and Suede. The state-of-the-art automobile of the moment is the Citroen Pallas, upstart tech outfit Apple has recently launched its revolutionary Newton gizmo and Kate Moss, from Croydon, England, on the brink of attaining bonafide supermodel status, is just 19 years old.

A new luxuriously packaged book from Phaidon entitled simply Kate is a collection of 50 portraits of a young Moss taken by her then-boyfriend, photographer Mario Sorrenti back in 1993. Moss was to become Sorrenti’s muse, following in a long line of artist-muse relationships such as Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, and Irving Penn and Lisa Fonssagrives.
Kate moss by mario sorrenti phaidon
Many of the book’s images have never been seen or published before. Here’s Kate asleep, Kate playing on her Nintendo Gameboy, Kate showering, reading, smoking, and wearing her boyfriend’s Y-fronts. She’s make-up free, uncoiffed and happily, casually naked or half dressed, in pretty much every frame. Surroundings are idyllic and modest, actions unguarded, sweet and endearing. Calvin Klein saw the commercial potential of Sorrenti’s pictures of Moss and signed him up for a memorable ‘Obsession’ campaign. Photographer and muse became international fashion superstars.

Sorrenti, the book’s introduction tells us, had first met her in 1991. ‘I remember sitting next to her and feeling like my heart was going to stop her beauty overwhelmed me.’ Accordingly, his pictures – all dreamy, Penn-ish black and white, all apparently spontaneous and intimate to the point of voyeuristic intrusion – capture the magic intensity of a young man and woman in love. Every delicate picture evokes a tacit sense of playful trust between photographer and subject. You feel like you are playing gooseberry just by looking at them.
Who but Kate Moss can make the act of pegging clothing to a washing line – completely starkers, naturally – look like a fashion moment?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The story of cities / Rome wasn't planned in a day … in fact it wasn't planned at all

An 18th-century painting of The Martyrdom of Saint Agnes in the Roman Forum, with the hills behind. 


Rome wasn't planned in a day … in fact it wasn't planned at all

The grid system which the Roman republic exported all over Europe was never employed in the capital itself. The city has always lacked a coherent plan – save for the monumental temple that once towered over it

Adrian Mourby
Tue 15 Mar 2016

According to Tacitus, perhaps the greatest of all Roman historians, it was the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill that held the key to the future of ancient Rome.
Writing about a fire at the temple in AD69, Tacitus assumed the conflagration would embolden the enemy Gauls into thinking they might finally conquer the city, such was the symbolism of the temple. “This fatal conflagration has given proof from heaven of the divine wrath,” he wrote, “and presages the passage of sovereignty of the world to the peoples beyond the Alps.”
But Tacitus’s fears were not realised. The Gallic revolt was crushed and the temple rebuilt – as it was again and again right up until its closure by the Christian emperor Theodosius I in AD392. Indeed, even after Roman power had shifted to the east, and the Vandal invasion of 455AD had stripped all gold from the doors of the temple, the prefect of Italy, Cassiodorus, was moved to write: “To stand on the lofty Capitol is to see all other works of human intellect surpassed.”
This focal point above the city was begun nearly 1,000 years earlier by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last Roman king – but only completed and dedicated, according to legend, in the year of his overthrowing and the creation of the Roman republic in 509BC.
It was a massive structure for its time – the largest temple in the Italo-Etruscan world – standing on a stone plinth measuring 53 by 63 metres, and with a broad red roof supported on 24 columns. Also known as the temple of the Capitoline Triad, inside were statues of the three gods most venerated by the Latin people: Juno, Jupiter and Minerva. On the apex of the roof was a quadriga, a blatant symbol of martial triumph depicting four horses being driven by Jupiter himself.

“Here was where the Roman kings established the centre of its most important cult: the temple of the Capitoline Triad – Jupiter Optimus Maximus, Juno Regina and Minerva,” says Prof Filippo Coarelli from the University of Perugia. “They were hoping to draw the political centre of the Latin League [a confederation of about 30 towns mainly south of the Tiber] to Rome and displace the league’s traditional cult centre on Mons Albanus – present-day Monte Cavo.”
According to Dr Robert Coates-Stephens, a fellow at the British School at Rome, the temple inspired a sense of destiny and invulnerability: “The Romans considered the Capitol important because it was home to the state religion and because, according to optimistic tradition, since the hill failed to be taken by the Gauls in 390BC, it had always remained inviolable.”

The temple building was copied across the Roman empire as the focal point of new settlements or of old enemy cities that were embracing the Roman way of life. It is telling that when Constantine built his new eastern capital on seven hills along the Bosphorus in AD330, he removed the colossal statue of Hercules that stood in front of the Temple of the Triad to confer legitimacy on his new Capitolium.

Indeed it might be said that, had the Romans not succeeded in focusing the Latin League on this temple, Rome may not have achieved its domination of the league. And without that, we would not have had the Roman empire, one of the most influential forces in the development of urbanisation there has ever been.

An 1899 illustration depicting Rome in the time of the Emperor Augustus.
 An 1899 illustration depicting Rome in the time of the Emperor Augustus. Illustration: Alamy

The selection of the site on which Rome was founded in the eighth century BC is the stuff of myths. Whether it was Romulus and Remus, Virgil’s Aeneas or one of the early Etruscan kings who founded the city hardly matters, as the reasons for choosing this hilly bend on the river Tiber were obvious.
“Rome is at the lowest point on the course of the Tiber where the river is naturally crossable, and like many important ancient or medieval cities (think of London) Rome is close to the sea, but not close enough to be in serious danger from pirates,” explains Georgy Kantor, associate professor in ancient history at St John’s College, Oxford. “Also this was the point where Via Salaria, the Salt Road, leading to important salt pans inland, joined the main coastal road.”
As well as creating a spiritual focal point devoted to victory on the Capitoline Hill, the kings also drained the malarial marshes between the seven defensible hills of Rome so that people could meet and trade. Additionally, during the reign of the penultimate king, Servius Tullius (who reigned 578-534BC), they completed a wall round the hills to keep this huge city safe.
“By the late sixth century BC, the city of Rome had united around a central space, surrounded by a defensive wall and in the shadow of a temple which was one of the largest in Italy, and by its simple monumentality an indication of Rome’s importance,” says Prof Christopher Smith, director of the British School at Rome.

Model of the temple of the Capitoline Triad, ancient Rome.
 A model of the temple of the Capitoline Triad in ancient Rome. Photograph: G Dagli Orti/Rex/Shutterstock

Because of the policy of making trading allies of its defeated enemies, money flooded into Rome in the early days of the republic. The city that sprung up below the temple of the Triad was a hodgepodge of narrow streets and tall wooden buildings with forums and markets created by individual donors.

So was there any guiding principle behind the development of Rome? Certainly, there was no Dinocrates of Alexandria to lay out the city for the first kings and their republican successors. But according to the Roman historian Livy in his Ab Urbe Condita, the early Etruscan kings did try for rational urban planning of the kind found at Rhodes, Pella, and Philippi – but all that was swept away when the Gauls sacked Rome (390BC) and by the unbridled speculative building that followed.

In 63BC, the great orator Cicero lamented the discrepancy between the regular planning of Roman cities in Campania, with the hilly and swampy conditions in Rome itself.
The lack of any effective urban plan is shown in the way that a victorious general, after processing in triumph up to the temple on the Capitoline Hill, had the right to build a new temple wherever he chose – and in the way that wealthy politicians such as Julius Caesar would build a marketplace to curry favour with the people. Pompeybuilt a theatre to honour himself, and Sulla a new state archive.
This level of individualism was both Rome’s strength and weakness. When most of Rome burned down under emperor Nero in AD64, Tacitus chronicled how a new plan for stone buildings at a standard height with wide streets was drawn up – but reported that the people lamented the lost, ad hoc nature of republican Rome.
“Still, there were those who held that the old form had been the more salubrious, as the narrow streets and high-built houses were not so easily penetrated by the rays of the sun,” he wrote, “while now the broad expanses, with no protecting shadows, glowed under a more oppressive heat.”
In 1563, England’s Queen Elizabeth I coined the Latin phrase “Romam uno die non fuisse conditam” (Rome wasn’t built in a day). She might have also added: “And it was hardly planned at all.”

Ancient Rome today: ruins of the Temple of Saturn below the Capitoline Hill (right of picture).
 Ancient Rome today: ruins of the Temple of Saturn below the Capitoline Hill (right of picture). Photograph: 167/Kenneth Ginn/Ocean/Corbis

Today, the Rome of the republic lies buried beneath medieval and renaissance Rome. It further disappeared under the 19th-century expansion that followed Italian unification in 1871. Those famous seven hills have been levelled and built over to the point that their obscured contours have merged with the rising level of the valleys below.

Indeed, you could be forgiven for not realising that a marshy valley once ran between the Capitoline and Palatine hills. The only reason we can see this valley at all today is because in the 1930s, Mussolini demolished more than eight acres of buildings and removed rubble lying 20 feet deep to expose the forum.
Ancient Rome – the powerful, republican city that so rapidly conquered the known world – has, of course, given us so many ideas about urban planning. Today we talk about capital cities and forums, as well as structures such as amphitheatres, basilicas, metalled roads, pavements and multi-storey apartment blocks because of the idea of the city that Rome bequeathed us.
Yet it is ironic that the grid system (what the Romans called centuriation), a city planning concept they exported all over Europe from the third century BC onwards, was never employed in Rome itself. The Romans got their idea of laying out their cities on a square grid from the military encampments they constructed on campaign, but it was never possible to implement it properly in Rome because of the power of individual initiative – and, of course, those hills.
After the empire moved its capital to Constantinople in AD326, everyone who could afford to leave Rome followed suit. The city was repeatedly looted and only began to recover some its lost significance during the Renaissance, and with the return of the popes. It took until the 20th century for it to regain its ancient proportions.
Nevertheless, the temple of the Triad lasted until AD1536 when its remains were demolished as part of a palace and piazza development conceived by Michelangelo for Pope Paul III. What is left of it is now under Michelangelo’s Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Capitoline Museums. These days, you can see some of its mighty plinth exposed if you walk up to the first floor.
Rome remains a hodgepodge, one of the worst examples of the very notion of the well-planned city, an idea that it bequeathed to us via – among others – Chester in Britain, Verona in Italy, Trier in Germany and Sinop in Turkey. But the impact of its Temple of the Triad can still be seen now if you stand down in Mussolini’s reconstructed forum and gaze up at the Capitoline museums.
As for the idea of the Capitoline Hill, that reached eventually as far as America where today there are nine Capitol hills across the United States, including the seat of the US congress in Washington.