Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Impossible Cool
Of all the talents I envy, the ability to truly capture people in still photography is near the top. There are a few photographers who are almost as famous as their subjects--Penn, Lebowitz, Weber--and their work rivets me. But their books are really big, and they cost a lot of money.
Then I found The Impossible Cool, a spare and gorgeous blog with black and white celebrity photographs from an age when we didn't know what Ashton Kutcher just ate for breakfast or what kind of pharmaceuticals a particular PGA star used before a short but ill-fated drive. (Full disclosure: I follow Mr. Kutcher on Twitter and have read more than is dignified about golf clubs and Ambien.)
And yet these photographs are candid and it's wonderful to see Hunter S. Thompson in a canoe and Jackie Bouvier laughing and languid in an armchair, after a party, though we don't know, because there is no narrative. And, I hate to say, no comments, refreshingly. The blog host must be overwhelmed by email, given the charm and relative mystery of the photographs. So far, this picture of Gregory Peck (on the set of Twelve O'Clock High, according to the link that pops up when one clicks on the picture, which is an elegant mode of explanation) is my favorite. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Whoever is responsible for this does amazing work.