Don’t Go Up Those Stairs…

Girl On The Red Steps David Driben

Like watching a scene in countless thrillers and horror films: ‘Don’t go up those stairs’, we’re thinking. ‘Don’t go up in the attic, don’t go down in the basement, don’t open that door.’  But we know the heroine (soon to be a victim) inevitably will, and nothing good can possibly come of it.

Girl On The Red Stairs, by fine arts and commercial photographer David Driben.

Arseniy’s Toying With Me…

Arseniy Semyonov

Consider it a story prompt: This photo by Arseniy Semyonov could spark at least a dozen different tales, each scenario deliciously dark and probably deadly.

A private eye’s just been handed that photo by his secretary? Or a meeting with a classic femme fatale of a client has just wrapped up, the gumshoe assigned to hunt for her (most likely dead) lover? Heck, that fellow could be a pulp scribe holed up in a grungy motel room to complete his hard-boiled masterpiece, the silhouette of a curvy vision in the doorway no more than a figment of his liquor and cigarette fueled imagination.

Damn, I love/hate when pictures set me off like this…

(Neon) Neo-Noir Still Lifes

Maurizio di Lorio 1

If you prop a still life photo with a vintage UK edition of Mickey Spillane’s Kiss Me, Deadly, you’ll get my attention.

Photographer Maurizio di Lorio shoots commercial assignments for diverse clients including GQ, Vogue, WWD and Elle among others, and has mounted fine art photography exhibitions from Los Angeles to Venice, Italy. Most of his images are incredibly crisp macro close-ups, all of them oozing intensely saturated hues, di Lorio’s figurative work sometimes isolating facial closeups, or more famously (or notoriously) deploying models sporting black or neon-hued opaque legwear, often in surreal or provocative situations.

But it’s di Lorio’s still-life and tabletop shots that caught my eye. Propped with crime genre trinkets like smoldering cigarettes, handguns and cocktails, they’re like glimpses of decidedly non-black & white neo-noir film sets.

Maurizio di Lorio 2Maurizio di Lorio 3Maurizio di Lorio 4Maurizio di Lorio 5Maurizio di Lorio 6Maurizio di lorio 7

Noemie’s New Year.

noemie lenoir by sergei pons newton tribute

And how did your New Year’s Eve work out? Myself, I brought a cold-that-feels-like-more back with me from a holiday-over-the-holidays, so my midnight toast was a second shot of Nyquil.

As for model Noemie Lenoir in this Helmut Newton homage photo shot by Sergei Pons, it’s unclear if she’s already given up on having a Happy New Year at all, or is recovering from the aftermath of the post-midnight bacchanal. Lets just say she’s enjoying a moment alone to reassess her 2020 New Year’s resolutions.

Meow.

three cats by igor shmatov

It’s not Selina Kyle, though it sure could be. In street clothes, that is (well, sort of). “Three Cats”, by Igor Shmatov

Anna Parfenova’s Sin City

Sin City Anna Parfenova 1

I posted one example of an Anna Parfenova photo back in mid-December 2018. The talented St. Petersburg, Russia photographer, who also goes by ‘Annie Parfi’, showcases the usual commercial work for fashion, portrait and editorial, all of it colorful, crisp and slick. But her own personal creative work is dominated by elaborately staged and lushly styled romantic fantasy images, with ethereal beauties in sumptuous gowns in opulent salons. Truly, it’s quite lovely.

If that’s your thing, that is.

Sin City Anna Parfenova 2

But there must be a bit of darkness lurking somewhere in Ms. Parfenova’s creative soul, or a flair for the noir-ish in her camera’s eye. See the juxtaposition for yourself in her galleries at DeviantArt, 500px or even Tumblr (well, her traditional photographer’s formal nude figure studies have understandably vanished there, under the new Tumblr content restrictions) or go her own site, annaparfenova.com. There, the lovely princesses, brides and fantasy femmes are suddenly interrupted by a suite of images titled “Sin City” that pull you into a retro-styled private eye’s office, both retro and contemporary at the same time, cluttered, smoky and ominous looking. A crime is about to be committed, or a steamy love affair is about to commence…or both, more likely.

More of Anna Parfenova’s work follows in the next post…

Sin City Anna Parfenova 3Sin City Anna Parfenova 4Sin City Anna Parfenova 5

Vintage Selfies

chanel f-w 2011-12 karl lagerfeld

So, I suppose they made sense before cell phones, right? And after all, if you wanted to take a saucy self-portrait, you couldn’t very well bring your roll of film to the drug store for prints. Of course, Polaroids have been around since the 1950’s…

Above is a truly iconic and often-seen photo by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2011-2012 print campaign. Below? Well, that one’s called (no surprise here) “Fotobooth” from the Japan Diaries, a photo suite by BJ and Richeille Formento, the successful fashion, editorial and art photography team known as Formento + Formento (formento2.com). The non-too-subtle message relayed by that pair of stockings’ seams is one thing. But it might make you wonder what the fotobooth photos themselves will be. Ahh, the indulgence of art.

Fotobooth by Formento & Formento

 

The Cheatin’ Hotel

Cheatin Hotel 1

‘Noir’ is a mood and a mindset, not a color palette, and ‘neo-noir’ works just fine in color, in the contrast of deep dark shadows and saturated hues.

Cheatin Hotel 2

Adultery, infidelity and just-plain-cheating are the reliable building blocks of noir-ish tales, even when they’re only in glitzy neo-noir tinged fashion photos. Case in point: Milan, Italy filmmaker and photographer Riccardo Torri, whose work can be seen at Vogue.com, Behance.net and his own site, and here in his photo suite The Cheatin’ Hotel, with models Alessia Keyer and Sofka Berezhko, their affair no less illicit or dangerous for being set in a more upscale spot than a rundown roadside motel.

Cheatin Hotel 3Cheatin Hotel 4Cheatin Hotel 5Cheatin Hotel 6Cheatin Hotel 7Cheatin Hotel 8cheatin hotel 9Cheatin Hotel 10

Damien Lovegrove’s Hollywood Style Reborn

Lovegrove 10

I’d swear that I’ve seen selected images from this series of photos countless times at Pinterest, Tumblr and random blogs and sites, but rarely – if ever! – have I seen the photos credited with any attribution for a photographer, model, source publication…anything.

Lovegrove 1

It didn’t take much digging at all. A simple search engine image match brought me right to photographer Damien Lovegrove’s Pro Photo Nut at prophotonut.com, and a posting from way back in 2013 titled “Film Noir – A Hollywood Style Reborn”.

Lovegrove 2

Model/actress Chloe-Jasmine Whichcello (along with a male co-star who only goes by ‘Frank’, so lets guess he’s the photographer’s assistant or some other fellow) dives into a series of stunningly lit images of a glamorous Hollywood blonde femme fatale, with makeup and hair done by Claudia Lucia Spoto, photo styling done by the model herself, assisted by the photographer, Damien Lovegrove. The project was all shot on location in Pipwell Hall, Northamptonshire in England.

Lovegrove 3

Frame by frame, Lovegrove explains the details of how he arranged the lighting, what equipment was used (all of which is way over my head) and how these techniques created the dramatic mid-20th Century Hollywood cinematic film noir look and feel. I was intrigued, and I know absolutely nothing about photography, at least, the technical end of things.

Lovegrove 4

Well, I’m glad to put these striking images out there with credit where credit’s due for once. And I have to say, that Pipwell Hall in Northamptonshire looked suitably dark and gloomy for this film noir stylistic exercise. So much so, that Damien Lovegrove and his talented associates should have returned at some point for a study in gothic horror visuals, perhaps a tribute to England’s Hammer films, with Ms. Whichello doing a stand-in for Veronica Carlson, Ingrid Pitt or Yutte Stensgaard. Hmmmm…

Lovegrove 5

Link below to the ProPhotoNut site to browse the images and read Damien Lovegrove’s text (which ought to be of particular interest to the less photographically challenged among you). And more images from the project follow in the next post.

Lovegrove 6

 

https://www.prophotonut.com/2013/02/17/film-noir-a-hollywood-style-reborn/

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑