Heatwave In A Coldwater Flat

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Like film stills from a Pre-Code Depression era movie…only better. A gritty coldwater flat is artfully set to period-perfection by stylist Kari Temlplar, formidable actress Nicole Kidman is dressed down but incredibly sultry, all lensed by photographer Fabien Baron for a 2015 issue of Interview magazine for an article by Kidman’s director Lee Daniels, the two partnering on the 2012 film Paperboy.

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Back-Alley Noir In Belgium

The Confrontation

Sometimes it’s not a question of whether’s somebody’s gonna die. It’s only a question of who’ll die first. Like in this gorgeous bit of back-alley noir from Belgian photographer Gino DeFauw, called “The Confrontation”. Look for more of DeFauw’s work at 500px.


Leaving Town Till Things Cool Down

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“Leaving Town Till Things Cool Down” is just one of the striking retro-styled black and white images I’ve seen from photographer Michael Malak. Dig around and you’ll spot more, though sadly they’re left uncredited too often at Pinterest, Tumblr and elsewhere.

The set, props and wardrobe are all spot-on for what I’m assuming is intended as an early 1930’s look. But study the photo a moment, or you’ll miss the best part. She better leave town till things cool down, because someone’s bound to discover what’s lurking in that trunk.

Draw The Blinds…

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Photographer Celeste Giuliano shoots model Samantha Wehr, with all the noir tropes, and all done well: A retro-looking red satin dress, window blinds, impenetrable darkness and the menacing silhouette of someone casting a long and ominous shadow.

Number, please…

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It’s noir in color, and oh, what color in these selected shots from a Lukasz Brzekiewicz photo suite. Just what’s happening here? A welcomed call from her lover? Or, ordering a hit on her husband? She may look worried in the first two shots, but visibly relieved (or particularly pleased) in the final frame. Oh, I love to speculate…

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L.A. Noir

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Rene & Radka shoot Lauren Cohan in a classic pulp story or noir film come to life for S Magazine in 2014, the photo suite appropriately titled “L.A. Noir”, complete with the trench-coated private eye and the cocktail lounge chanteuse who trades a microphone for a revolver.

(The very striking final image below is one I see all too frequently at Pinterest boards and elsewhere, posted as a retro film noir still. )

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The Cheatin’ Hotel

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‘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.

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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.

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70’s Decadence

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From Vs. magazine’s Fall-Winter 2014/15 issue, an intriguing homage to all that’s decadent in fashion photography – bad boy Helmut Newton, badder-girl Ellen Von Unwerth, and a nod to the 1978 erotic crime thriller Eyes Of Laura Mars (more about that guilty pleasure weird-fest of a flick at thestilettogumshoe.com later…count on it).

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The photo suite’s introductory copy explains: “In the cult movie Eyes Of Laura Mars, Faye Dunaway plays a photographer who can see through the eyes of a killer. Here, our cover girl Uma Thurman – a modern-day Dunaway – embodies the thriller’s title role and pays homage to its seductive 70’s styling and provocative imagery (the movie featured stills by Helmut Newton). Who better to capture this iconic marriage of fashion and film than Newton’s seminal successor, Ellen Von Unwerth?”

Well, I’ve seen Von Unwerth get both saucier and nastier than these, and the staged photo shoots, stills and grisly murders in the 1978 film pushed the limits for the time, presaging a host of disturbing visuals soon to populate countless VHS tapes in the ‘erotic thriller’ craze of the early 80’s. But Von Unwerth and Thurman captured some vintage decadence here, to be sure.

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