The previous post showed what Hollywood celebrities look like when it's just some random guy taking pictures of actors; there's still an element of an outsider looking in. But what happens when a distinguished actor takes a camera on a movie set and offers a unique point of view to the world of film making? No imagination is required here as these are the behind-the-scenes photographs of one celebrity photographer, the "Dude" himself: Jeff Bridges.
Jeff Bridges is one of the most respected names in Hollywood today. His acting career spans over 50 years, and he has won numerous awards for his film work, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Aside from his passion for acting, Bridges has devoted much of his time to photography. Bridges' interest in photography first came about when he was in high school when the school photographer showed him how to work a camera. Since then, he's had an on-and-off relationship with photography while he focused on his acting career.
Bridges has kept his photography mostly to family and his close friends, but his unique access to the world of film and Hollywood meant that this privilege was too good not too share. In 2006, he releases a book entitled "Pictures", a collection of his wide-format black-and-white photographs. Recently, he's posted more of his pictures online, including backstage images from the movie sets of Iron Man, True Grit and Tron.
Bridges uses a Widelux, a panoramic camera that allows for a wider picture format. In order to capture a scene, the lens swings from one side to the other, creating a curved view of the landscape. The exposure is also different; unlike traditional cameras where the entire frame is exposed in a fraction of a second, the Widelux has a slit that exposes only portion of the frame, and moves across to the other side (not unlike the panoramic feature of today's iPhone cameras and similar smartphones). This makes it possible for a subject to sit on one side of a room and then run to the other side to have himself captured on the same film.
This "slow exposure" feature is used by Bridges in his "Tragoedia / Comoedia" series showing actors impersonating the masks of tragedy and comedy. In most cases, Bridges uses the Widelux to give an ultra-wide view of stage sets, location shoots, makeup and wardrobe sessions, and more.
The Widelux offers a 1.85:1 ratio, which is similar to many of today's films when presented in movie theaters. Thus, Bridge's offers a bridge between movies and still photography. Technicalities aside, these photographs offer a unique insight not only to an actor's viewpoint in some of the most popular films in the past 30 years, they're also a visual imprint of Bridge's own artistic personality.
Of course, even without all the background information on the photographer and the setting, these photographs stand on their own as very well executed and presented, which is what good photographs should be.
This is Jeff Bridges' celebrity website, and this is his photography website. His published images can be found in Pictures by Jeff Bridges. For a different take on celebrities, have a look at these pictures taken by some random dude crashing an Oscars party.