Buy This Book: 'Anima Persona,' by Brigitte Lacombe

Tuesday  June 30, 2009

While on assignment at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival (one of her first commissions), GQ contributing photographer Brigitte Lacombe met Dustin Hoffman. The actor invited her back to the States to shoot on the set of All the President's Men—the first of hundreds of film sets and theatrical stages she'd photograph over the next thirty years. But to call Lacombe a "celebrity photographer" doesn't grasp the scope of her art (she cracks the façade of stardom like few since Avedon), not to mention her ambition (she has trekked across the globe to document politicians and political unrest). Describing her process recently by phone, Lacombe said, "I just try to create an intimate atmosphere." Here, the photographer—whose work is stunningly rendered in her new book Anima Persona—offers a behind-the-scenes look at some of her best shots.—sarah goldstein

Jack Nicholson, Los Angeles, 2002
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Brigitte Lacombe: "There are some people who are so set in the way they present themselves, and the more it goes on the more difficult it is to see them as anything other than the prepared image. Jack Nicholson is one of these people and so I was trepidatious about shooting him because I thought it would be very hard to get a portrait of him that was not the usual Jack Nicholson portrait. In the end I think it's impossible to do anything very different with him, but still, as a portrait I think there is something genuine that comes across in his smile. He also looks very handsome."

Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, Kramer vs. Kramer, New York, 1979
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"Although Meryl was not that well known yet, I think everyone knew that she was the most promising young actress. There is something about her that is so luminescent; she seems to come out of the movie camera. This was just one day on the set—it seems like a still moment but they were talking. I love how Dustin is looking at her. It's just one of those moments that's beautiful when you catch it. Also when you work on a film you don't know what it's going to become, you never know, so when it ends up that it's two of the greatest actors in one of the most important films…well, that's very special."

Al Pacino and Sydney Pollack, Bobby Deerfield, New York, 1976
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"Just before a new take the actor is checking himself in the mirror, checking his hair. He's not looking at himself; he's looking at his character. Some people mistake this for vanity, but that's not it at all. He needs to make sure that the character is there."

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, at home, Los Angeles, 1975
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"I came to the house to do a portrait of her and I guess he walked in while we were shooting and, well, there they were. They were so young, very American looking. I actually think they look quite alike here. And they are obviously so entwined as you are when you're at the beginning of a great love affair. You can see it from the way she sits on his lap."

Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain, Carpathian Mountains, Transylvania, Romania, 2002
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"They had recreated this village in the mountains and she was getting dressed in one of the houses on set. It's such a classic thing, the dresser helping the actress get into her clothes, this could be at any time. She did not pay special attention to me, she just let me be. That attitude all comes from the director. The director invites you to be part of his team and then the actors just accept you. I had a great friendship with Anthony Minghella, he was an exceptional man, and I worked on almost all of his films."

Robert Redford, Ordinary People, in flight, California, 1979
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"This was his first time directing a film, but it was at the height of his stardom as an actor. It was a very intimate film, very small. No one knew that this film would end up being important or that he would get an Academy Award for it. This was in flight on our way back to California from Chicago. They were shooting a scene on the plane in that moment and he was watching very intently. I don’t know why he has the flower in his hair."

Leonardo DiCaprio, Gangs of New York, Cinecitta Studios, Rome, 2000
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"They shot Gangs of New York at Cinecitta Studios, which is the most famous studio in the world—it's where Fellini shot all of his films. This was in the midst of doing a big scene and I noticed that Leo had this little digital camera. I saw him in the middle of this big crowd in this period film and I thought it was such a beautiful gesture. He wanted to document everything, too."

Jude Law and Matt Damon, New York, 1999
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"This was for Frank Rich's story about The Talented Mr. Ripley. Matt was not the huge star that he is now just yet, and neither was Jude, but everyone had their eyes on them. They recreated a sense of what their characters are in the film through a very simple gesture. I asked Matt to look at Jude because in the film he wants to be Jude's character. All I said was, 'Will you look at Jude?' They brought their own intensity to it."

Viggo Mortensen, Budapest, Hungary, 2007
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"He was doing another project in Hungary so we shot there. He is just the most handsome man you can imagine—distractingly handsome. But when you are with him, it's not that you forget, but he is so elegant and so kind and also very interested in photography; he's published his own book. Our location person had found us this night club that looked very much like a place from the '50s, and it was in the middle of the day so it was kind of abandoned. He was very easy and generous, he gave us a lot of time. I love this picture because you can see how elegant and long he is from his arms."

Daniel Day-Lewis, The Crucible, Hog Island, Essex, Massachusetts, 1995
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"There are two actors who I've never seen enjoy being photographed. One is Meryl Streep and the other is Daniel Day-Lewis. I've photographed him regularly over the years and he's very professional, but he never enjoys it. This was on the set of The Crucible and I created a mock studio in a barn. It was a very intense part, as always, for Daniel and he was completely in character; so really this was a portrait of his character."

Bob Dylan, on his ranch, Point Dume, California, 2004
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"This was in 2004 when Chronicles came out. He hadn't had his portrait done by anyone in 10 years, and the last person was Avedon, so I had been warned. But I happened to know someone from his past and when I told him that, he opened up to me, or at least as much as he would have. He accepted me and the situation. He was extremely funny and dry and acerbic. Between taking his portrait we went on a walk as a way to ease the tension and he gave us this tour of his ranch. There are horses on his property and abandoned cars. He's an extraordinary character."

A Matter of Space

Sunday  June 28, 2009


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John Galliano

About to hop a plane to New York to get back to the family and job. One final thought on Paris: As impressive as the shows are, the spaces in which they're held are often even more memorable. In Milan, labels like Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani keep it consistent, hosting shows in their own little arenas; in Paris, it's anything (and anywhere) goes. You get centuries-old churches, sky-lit parking garages, magnificent government buildings, Napoleon-era mansions and deserted train depots, from the center of town to the farthest, dumpiest outskirts. This week, John Galliano commandeered a crumbling, 1930s indoor swimming pool, drowning in layers of grafitti. An hour later, at 10 p.m. (just as the sun was finally dipping below the cityscape), Raf Simons welcomed the crowds to an immaculate gardened courtyard, at what is now a school for the blind. The two venues couldn't have been more different, or more stunning.

Alright, gotta go—about to take off. See you in September at the New York shows.—adam rapoport

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Raf Simons

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Junya Watanabe

Commes des Garçons

9:22 a.m., rue Saint Honoré

Sunday  June 28, 2009


Just walked by two thirtysomething-year-old French dudes, both in double-breasted jackets, and both obviously having been out all night. One looking like a young Paul McCartney in a full beard with Wayfarers and a trim-fitting navy mohair DB blazer and jeans; the other in a slim, plaid DB suit, short-cropped pants, no socks and sneakers, jacket slung over the shoulder of his unbuttoned, rumpled white dress shirt. Now, I realize that we all look a lot cooler the morning after, but I'm betting these guys looked pretty cool the night before too.—a.r.

Arms Race

Saturday  June 27, 2009


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Um, hmm…so this short-sleeve suit thing ain't going away. Spotted it again, this time at today's Wintle presentation at the Ritz.—a.r.

Paris Calling

Saturday  June 27, 2009


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That's right—this dude's got a gold chain running from his belt to his cellphone. And gold aviators and a gold watch. Try this at home, and I'm pretty sure you'll get your ass kicked. Try this at the John Galliano show, and no one looks twice.—a.r.

Light on Your Feet

Saturday  June 27, 2009



At a shoe store in the Marais. Loving the selection of canvas sneakers, something that the French appreciate much better than we do back home.

If you buy a simple white pair, you can wear them as easily with a suit as with jeans or khakis. And best of all, they're cheap. Plus, when it's pushing 90, do you really need padded leather sneakers on your feet?—a.r.



Dig the Nouveau

Saturday  June 27, 2009


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If you're the type who used invest in Helmut Lang (back when Helmut was there) and Dior Homme (back when Hedi Slimane was there), check out the new men's line by Balmain, just now making its way to the States. Super pricey, but kind of a perfect wardrobe of skinny dirty-white jeans, beaten-in cargo jackets, and worn-out bombers. No full suiting yet, although designer Christophe Decarnin does do tux jackets, which he likes to pair with his faded tees and military pants.—a.r.



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Like a Drug

Friday  June 26, 2009



I've always loved the neon signage above Parisian pharmacies. You spot 'em all over town, from blocks away. Not exactly what you'd find at a CVS or Rite Aid.—a.r.


Friday  June 26, 2009


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Just spotted two fortysomething-year-old women standing outside a bar drinking these things: Perrier, vodka, and Get 27, a mint-flavored liqueur. It's called a Karine Forever. The French aren't exactly known for their cocktails. Now you know why.—a.r.

11:45 p.m., L'Entrecôte

Friday  June 26, 2009


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Steak, frites, salad. That's it. No menu at L'Entrecôte. Just decide what kind of wine to order, and Paris' most charming—and toughest—waitresses take care of the rest. (There are several locations in Paris; we ended up at the one in St. Germain des Pres.) And do like Jim Moore: Ask for crème fraîche and sugar with the berries.—a.r.


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The GQ Punch List

Friday  June 26, 2009

What you need to see, do, buy, and make in the next 72 hours

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Chill your drinks like a pro. You probably don't have the time, energy, or resources to hand-chisel your own rocks like this place, but these DIY molds from the MoMA store ($16 a set) make the next best thing: perfectly-round, 2-inch orbs of ice. Besides keeping your drink cooler for longer—they melt slower than regular cubes—they look infinitely cooler floating around in a lowball glass.

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Trash your playlist. Sure you've got your favorite running mixes all loaded up on your Nano, but you know they're getting played out. ("Hey, I'm usually three blocks from here when "Paper Planes" comes on.") De La Soul's new Nike sponsored jam "Are You In?" is anything but tired. Part of Nike + Original Run series, the 45 minute file lays down a continuous groove that provides comfort and motivation through the full cycle of your run—dread, drudgery, pain, euphoria, exhaustion, more euphoria—as if it was composed for just such a purpose. And it was—De La and the other artists before them (LCD Soundsystem. Aesop Rock et al.) made it that way, and the mix has an uncanny way of knowing just when you'll need some ecstatic guitar or some heart-pounding percussion to get you through.

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Don't wait for fight night to start throwing punches. Anyone looking forward to Saturday's Super Lightweight bout—Victor Ortiz takes on Marcos Rene Maidana—can stoke their bloodlust early with Fight Night Round 4, which is out today. The fourth installment has a new "Legacy mode," where you can choose from a selection of 40 boxers in their primes, letting your Michael Spinks, say, slug it out with your buddy's George Foreman.

Drop $29 bucks on an express to a city where you can blow or win thousands. You still have a week to book an Independence Day jaunt to Atlantic City on Amtrak's new express service, ACES. Once you're there, follow our cues.

Watch the U.S. Men's Soccer team cap off their improbable run to the Confederations Cup final in a re-match with Brazil. After stunning the soccer world on Wednesday with their upset of top-ranked Spain (who hadn't lost a match since 2006), the U.S. seeks revenge on Sunday at 2:30 ET against a Brazilian squad who handled the Americans 3-0 during pool play. And now that we're really starting to believe in these guys, don't forget to apply for your 2010 World Cup tickets!

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Think outside the butcher shop. Ubuntu—the San Francisco restaurant our food critic Alan Richman called the one vegetarian place even a carnivore will love—is entering the retail game with an adjacent store selling spices, cookware used in the restaurant, and specialty foods like chef Jeremy Fox's lavender almonds. Check out his recipe for a strawberry pizza.

10:44 p.m., Raf Simons

Friday  June 26, 2009



A ridiculously late start—as always—but man, helluva show. Hard to think of designer right now who cuts a better suit, or makes a crisper white shirt, or who understands how to be creative without being over the top. The guy's killing it.—a.r.

1:15 p.m., Rick Owens

Friday  June 26, 2009


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Not entirely sure what look this chick is going for, but she and her little crew have been getting photographed by everyone today. They kind of remind me of the bad guys in Superman II.—a.r.

9:35 p.m., John Galliano

Friday  June 26, 2009


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First Michael Jackson moment of the day: A sternum-pounding version of "PYT, Pretty Young Thing," as Galliano took his bows, posing and smirking every step of the way. Only question is: How is it that another designer didn't beat him to the punch?—a.r.

Junya Watanabe, 10:35am

Friday  June 26, 2009



'Perfect show. The guy's not only a great designer, but a great stylist too.' That's our creative director Jim Moore talking about Junya Watanabe. Translation? Watanabe not only makes great individual pieces (a suit jacket, a work boot, a straw hat) but he puts head-to-toe looks together as well as anyone. He conceives a theme for a show, and as soon as the first model walks out—boom!—you get it. Might be a riff on American workwear, or sly takes on the navy blazer or cooled-up versions of hunting gear. But it never gets repetitive. He keeps you guessing with reversible jackets, and collaborations with established brands like Levi's and Tricker's shoes and Carhartt and Nike. This season he had a 1940s man-on-holiday thing going—printed neckercheifs with matching pocket squares, glen-plaid suits, driving caps. And to round it out, a series of rain parkas, in collaboration with Mackintosh. Sounds a bit dowdy and dandy, but never felt that way. The suit jackets were often made of nylon with attachable hoods, the pants were cropped short, the dress shoes chunky and tough. From start to finish: totally cohesive, totally cool.—a.r.

I Want to Be a Jet Pilot, an Astronaut, or the Governor of Georgia

Friday  June 26, 2009

24 YouTube clips of/for Michael Jackson


When the Michael Jackson news broke yesterday, I fired up YouTube the way New Yorkers flock to Strawberry Fields in Central Park when a Beatle dies. It seemed like the right “place” to light a candle for Jackson, who became the first black artist to crack MTV’s honkified playlist in the early ‘80s and never seemed entirely real thereafter, except in music videos—a man who couldn’t really make it work outside the mirror. I kept the news on in the background, bugging out on the disconnect between his tabloid mess of a life and the exquisite and painstaking SFX-and-CGI fantasylands he created around his songs. But by the time a nodding-off Larry King threw it to Anderson Cooper, I’d gone down a rabbit-hole, opening browser-tab after browser-tab of old (young) Michael videos—pre-Jesus Juice, pre-surgically-assisted post-humanity, even pre-Victory Tour. YouTube’s Michael Jackson channel (which still features a background image of the King of Pop surrounded by the walking dead—c’mon, guys!) has the hits, for super-ethnically-diverse street gangs in the mood to hear “Beat It” one more time. But I was in the mood to see a kid born of abusive parentage in white-flight rust-belt Gary, Indiana make like a damn skyrocket—and to do a little cultural CSI on where and when it all started to go so wrong. I could have made a playlist twice as long as this one—he was that good, for that long—but I stopped (when I got enough) at 24.—alex pappademas


1. “I’ll Bet You,” from ABC, 1970. For a pop-soul Archies, the Jackson Five could bare some pretty serious funk-band teeth when they wanted to. This is a surprisingly heavy cover of the second song on Funkadelic’s first record—the same one the Dust Brothers built the Beastie Boys’ “Car Thief” around, if that whinnying guitar part sounds familiar. (It’s really weird that this was on the same album as “ABC.”)

2. "Don't Know Why I Love You," A surprisingly wrenching take on an underrated Stevie Wonder song about torturous grown-up love, sung by a 12-year-old. (It's really weird that nobody thought this was weird.)

3. Vocal-track-only take of "The Love You Save," originally from 1970's ABC. A geyser of youth and fun and vigor blowing up inside a cautionary tale, with lines like "You're headed for a danger zone" echoing like they're bouncing off the walls of a hyperbaric chamber.

4. "Reach In," psychedelic soul, from 1970's Third Album. Probably about God, although it comes across, eerily, like Michael as Bubble Boy, desperate for human contact.

5. "Get It Together," from Soul Train, November 1971. (Typically great vintage Mike, but Jermaine's bass line on this one is jermasterful as well.)

6. Pure bubblegum rapture in the middle of a media siege: The Jacksons crush "I Want You Back" on their 1971 Goin' Back To Indiana TV special, while "Scoop Newsworthy" tries to invade their space.

7. Another take on "I Want You Back," from the Jacksons' early-'70s Saturday-morning cartoon, The Jackson 5ive, which was better than Yellow Submarine but not as good as Josie & the Pussycats.

8. "Great To Be Here" appeared on Maybe Tomorrow in 1971; Puff Daddy slid it under Biggie's verse on "It's All About the Benjamins" in 1997.

9. You are now freaking out, Pt. 1: Jackson on a 1971 Diana Ross special, singing Frank Sinatra's old-man lament "A Very Good Year," playing a really creepy lovers-breaking-up sketch with Ross, pretending to be the grown man he never really got to be.

10. "Don't Let Your Baby Catch You," from 1972. Singing this many songs about mistrust and cheating has gotta mess you up, relationship-wise; Michael sounded paranoid way before they were all out to get him.

11. Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, 1972. Sonny asks Michael what he wants to be when he grows up. Michael: "I can't make up my mind, whether I want to be a jet pilot, an astronaut, or the governor of Georgia."

12. J5 take on the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic "Reach Out I'll Be There," made famous by their Motown labelmates the Four Tops. Cut sometime in the '70s, unreleased until 1995.

13. "You Ain't Giving Me What I Want"—another rarity, unearthed on 1995's Soulsation box set. This is what they were sticking in a drawer. That's insane.

14. You are now freaking out, Pt. 2: Indescribable Deadwood-meets-Solid Gold medley of War's "The Cisco Kid" and Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff," from a 1977 episode of the family Jackson's CBS Variety show, The Jacksons.

15. 1977 again: Michael Jackson reports three murders, with help from a little-known comedian (and fellow Hoosier)…

16. …and trades punches, kinda, with the Champ.

17. "Forever Came Today." Another clip from the CBS show, with Michael doing shoulder-to-shoulder Temptations lockstep moves with Marlon and Jackie. The choreography can barely contain him; when he busts out around 0:38, it's like, Well, hiiiiii there, solo career!

18. Jackson, sounding eerily like Charlie Brown, to shrink (The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Georgia Engel): "People just don't seem to notice me at all. It's like I don't even exist. I don't know what I'm gonna do if this keeps up. It just gets worse and worse all the time. Why don't people seem to care about me?"

19. "Blame It On The Boogie," The Jacksons, 1978. Michael Jackson made a lot of videos that revolutionized the medium. This is not one of them.

20. Oh, yeah, and remember in 1980, when the Jacksons evolved into golden space-gods and brought peace and harmony to Planet Dianetics? That was awesome. (Fun, un-sourced Wiki-facts: "The song again rose to prominence when in 2006, psycho-illusionist Derren Brown used the song along with various other psychological motivators to convince a group of 4 people to each commit a bank robbery by their own free will. The song was also featured on Jane Fonda's early 80's work out VHS tapes.")

21. Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special, 1983. The Moonwalk. One small step for man.

22. "Leave Me Alone," eighth single from Bad, 1987. The song's a haters-get-off-my-dick rant; the video's a bizarrely self-aware non-denial denial of the Howard Hughes/Willy Wonka rep he'd picked up by the mid-'80s. Michael dances with the Elephant Man's bones while wearing a ball and chain. Michael rides a rocket ship through a tunnel lined with images of Elizabeth Taylor. Dogs read about him in the tabloids. Now he's a giant, waking up and laying waste to the amusement park the dogs have built to imprison him. It plays now like his last moment of clarity; by 1990, he'd be making bazillion-dollar videos full of morphing faces and singing about how it don't matter if you're black or white, clearly unable to imagine why people might find these artistic choices a little odd.

23. Bonus track: "Thriller," performed, possibly under duress and to questionable therapeutic ends, by 300 prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, a maximum-security prison in Cebu, Philippines. "Before the dancing, our problems were really heavy to bear," says Crisanto Nierre, who plays Michael. "Dancing takes our minds away from our problems. Our bodies became more healthy. As for the judges, they may be impressed with us, seeing that we are being rehabilitated and this could help our case."

24. "Never Can Say Goodbye," 1976.

And for good measure, a kick-ass mash-up of MJ, DMX, and Liam Gallagher of Oasis:

Smoking Hot

Friday  June 26, 2009


How genius is Adam Kimmel's spring/summer lookbook? The New York-based desiger hired Jim Krantz, who created many of the original Marlboro Man ads, to shoot the photos on location in Moab, Utah, using 'real' cowboys and a New Yorker or two. Kimmel calls the collection 'Roy Rogers meets the Marlboro Man'. I'm just going to call it totally badass.—a.r.

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7:35 p.m., Dries Van Noten

Friday  June 26, 2009



Snack of the Week: Bracingly fresh mojito sorbet, doled out from an ice cream truck that Dries Van Noten hired and parked outside the Place de la Bourse (essentially Paris' version of the New York Stock Exchange). Rain showers complicated matters a bit, washing us up from the building's stone steps onto two overflowing rows of skinny wooden benches on what I'm going to call the front porch. At showtime, another truck pulled up, its flatbed stacked with speakers blasting dance music. And with that the show got under way, a series of high-cropped (but pleated pants), printed shirts, and light-and-loose double-breasted jackets. As Interview Magazine's Chris Bollen said, it felt like we were up there posing for a class picture. But the ice cream kept us happy.—a.r.


Model Behavior

Friday  June 26, 2009



In case you're wondering what male models look like when they're not working the runway…—a.r.

Pork 'n Beans

Friday  June 26, 2009


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Big thanks to Christine Muhlke from the New York Times T Magazine for recommending L'Assiette in the 14th. God DAMN was that tasty.—a.r.

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