|A family portrait after the shoot. Thomas, Perry, Starlet, and Rainbow pose with me. The birds were put out that they were not included.|
|Here's an email from Bob, a faithful fan who likes the pictures. A lot.|
|What a great Christmas present for all your fans! There are some REALLY magnificent shots there. Especially, IMHO, your portraits. The one at the top of your page, with China, is joyous.|
Itıs so interesting, for me, who really began working with your siteıs pix to improve my Photoshop skills (and, boy, have they improved!) months ago, to realize especially today, with your new photos that you have one of those rare cinema faces: thereıs not one angle thatıs "better" than any other, much less "bad." The only other face that comes to mind, from cinematographers over the years, including Hurrellıs comments, is Crawfordıs.
God knows, she (to me, anyway), was unbelievably beautiful and sexual when young. The sexuality somehow melted away over the years, at least for me. And relatively early. By "Mildred Pierce" and "Possessed," much less her later films, though still and always a remarkable face to photograph, her early, earthy, enveloping sensuality had been relentlessly controlled and disciplined by her Aries determination and professionalism, I guess.
Nevertheless, a great deal of her photographic effectiveness depended on brilliant and studied lighting, to exaggerate the near-perfect planes of her face.
Yours, I notice, doesnıt.
From your site, youıve shown us YOU in all sorts of lighting, indoor to outdoor, none of it particularly "theatrical" at least not your current shots. Your publicity stills, by Hurrell, et al., are of course dramatically lit.
But itıs really amazing to see you shot by contemporary photographers like Julie Strain and Justice Howard, without any studied lighting effects other than the usual on photo shoots, and photograph so beautifully from every angle and in every mood.
I particularly liked one shot from this Justice Howard shoot: a mood we never see you in. Youıre straddling your chaise on the patio. Your sunglasses are propped on your forehead. Youıre not smiling the "best smile in Hollywood" which I suppose was and always will be, judging by decades of photographic evidence. Your mouth is set, yet not hard. Youıre staring directly at us. Totally disconcerting, because so unlike any other photographs youıve displayed. Almost intimidating that "Donıt fuck with me, fellas" mouth. Almost haughty except for the message in your eyes: "Donıt dare BOTHER me . . . unless you know what youıre doing."
I love that shot.
And so many others.
I guess your recent shoot made me appreciate even more how infinitely expressive you can be. The many moods of Mamie, to coin a phrase.
And, of course, seeing a few "off character" shots like that only make me wonder what a photographer like Justice Howard could do with you in a "Helmut Newton" mode: some really "dangerous" and provocative, off-kilter, cutting edge Mamie Van Doren situations, poses, expressions. Thereıs a hint of the possibilities in her shots of you on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at night, for instance. Youıre obviously up to the risk and challenge as an actor, from these latest shots. And God knows, to coin a Billy Wilder phrase: "There just arenıt any faces like that anymore."
Well, yeah there are. One. Yours.
(I, for one, would buy a coffee-table book of you if it were ever published. One filled with every conceivable photograph of you ever taken, from nineteen to now maybe even with your "Bedtime Stories" and more contemporary opinions and musings and politics interspersed essentially, a hard-cover expansion of what youıre already doing on your website. Frankly, there is no other star who has ever published anything like that. Even more frankly, there is no other star who COULD. Iım sure many browsers first discover your website through Liz Smith and other links, and visit for what they initially think of as curiosity or camp value only to discover, as I have, something quite unexpected and remarkable, on so many levels. Funny, isnıt it, how just being honest all your life seems to court "controversy?" But, God knows, if you were "controversial" then, you certainly are now. A book like that would give Madonnaıs "Sex" remember what huge seller that was? a run for her money. From the woman who taught everybody afterward everything they know.)
Then, to cap the shooting session off, that wonderful shot of you and Thomas and Perry and the "goils" in your arms.
Thanks for making us all feel like weıre a part of the shoot itself, as well as the end result.
Thanks too for all your videos in one place!
Iıve seen them all, so I hadnıt really noticed until today that theyıre all together and available for viewing. So I just enjoyed them all AGAIN.
God knows how many "happy homes" youıre websiteıs wrecking with men (for obvious reasons) and women (for lessons) discovering it and spending HOURS exploring it all!
Sorry for all this rambling. But your latest shoot with Justice Howard is really magnificent and inspirational.