Monday, August 20, 2012

The Tragedy of Tony Scott

Tony with his 3rd wife, actress Donna Wilson and their twins.

Hollywood is again in shock... as one of its best and brightest takes his life on the pinnacle of his career.

Hollywood Blockbuster Director/Producer Tony Scott died yesterday (Aug.19), after jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, near the Los Angeles Harbor.  According to eyewitness reports, they saw a man around noon park his Toyota Prius, climb the 8 foot fence and jump from the bridge.  Tony's body was found 3 hours later by search and rescue teams.  They found a suicide note in his office.  He was 68 years old.

The Vincent Thomas Bridge where Tony committed suicide

It has been widely reported that Tony has an inoperable brain cancer (autopsy results are still pending), but according to TMZ, Scott's wife told investigators that the rumours are absolutely false and that Tony did not have any other severe medical issue that would have cause him to take his own life.  Friends close to him (including a host of Hollywood celebrities who have worked with him) also express their shock at the suicide, citing that Tony Scott was one of the most positive, energetic man they knew.

Tony (left) with brother Ridley (podium) accepting an award

Tony is the business partner and younger brother of Director/Producer Ridley Scott.  His film directing work include:  "Top Gun," "Beverlyhills Cop 2", "Days of Thunder", "The Last Boy Scout", "True Romance", "Crimson Tide", "Enemy of the State", "Spy Game", "Man On Fire", "Domino", "Déjà Vu", "The Taking of Pelham 123" and "Unstoppable".  He directed more than a thousand TV commercials.  He also produced movies and television shows including "The Good Wife", "Gettysburg", "Numb3rs", "Labyrinth" and the mini-series "Coma".  Tony had more than 30 projects in development when he died, including several directing projects like "Top Gun 2," "Narco Sub," "Emma's War" and "Hell's Angel."

Hollywood and film fans worldwide mourn the loss of this wonderful filmmaker.  We could only wonder at what possessed him to take his own life at such a prolific stage.  A thrill-seeker by nature and a director who portrayed characters winning against all odds, Tony opted to end his life on his own terms.  Is it tragic or is it heroic?  Only he will know.  Ron Howard simply sums it all up, "No more Tony Scott movies. Tragic day."

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Education Of A Photographer

"The Education of A Photographer" is a great read for any photographer, whether pro or amateur.  The book is a collection of articles by some (and on some) of greatest practitioners of the Art:  like Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Irving Penn, Aaron Siskind, Garry Winogrand and many others.

Compiled by Charles Traub (photographer and Chair, School of Visual Arts' MFA Photography Dept.), Adam Bell (photographer) and Steven Heller (art director and Co-chair, School of Visual Arts' MFA Designer Prog.), the book offers an eclectic collection of articles on the Art and practice of Photography -- highlighting perspectives from all the photographic disciplines as well as from the related fields of design, graphics, typography, illustration and commercial media.

Here is an excerpt from the article by Henri Cartier-Bresson:

"For each of us space begins and slants off from our own eye, and from there enlarges itself progressively toward infinity.  Space, in the present, strikes us with greater or lesser intensity and then leaves us, visually, to be closed in our memory and to modify itself there.  Of all the means of expression, photography is the only one that fixes forever the precise and transitory instant.  We photographers deal in things that are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again.  We cannot develop and print memory.  The writer has time to reflect.  He can accept and reject, accept again; before committing his thoughts to paper he is able to tie the several relevant elements together.  There is also a period when his brain "forgets," and his subconscious works on classifying his thoughts.  But for photographers, what has gone is gone forever.  From that fact stem the anxieties and strength of our profession.  We cannot do our story over again once we've got back to the hotel.  Our task is to perceive reality, almost simultaneously recording it in the sketchbook which is our camera."

--Book graphic and quote from "The Education of a Photographer," Allworth Press, 2006.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Art Center College and 30 Years of "TRON"

The Movie 'Tron' with Jeff Bridges

I am a proud product of the two colleges I attended: USC and the Art Center College of Design.  So everytime I find an interesting article related to either school, I always highlight it in this blog.

This article is from the Art Center College of Design's Blog, Dotted Line:

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Tron, the movie which introduced a generation to light cycles, identity discs and a glowing spandex-clad Jeff Bridges. It was also the first time most filmgoers marveled at computer-generated special effects.

The history and evolution of Tron wouldn’t be the same without the work of a number of members of the Art Center community who were involved in the original 1982 film - Syd Mead (TRAN '59), its 2010 sequel Tron: Legacy - Eric Barba (TRAN '92) and the current Disney XD animated series Tron: Uprising - Annis Naeem (current ENT. Design).