Yesterday (Tuesday) Kirsten was interviewed on “The Today Show”. I’ve added pics to the gallery & you can watch the interview here.
Aside from the fact that his work speaks to me personally with his semi-candid approach, natural light and use of (dare I say) “real people” as subject for his photographs, the retrospective work of London born Rob Nelson is stunning.
Walking through the red doors of the McIntosh Gallery on the Western Campus on a grey day hugging myself and my camera bag to try and not get swept up by the wind, the rain, or the fact that today felt like the first real Fall day, I am stunned with a beautiful large print of little Kirsten Dunst. Nestled on a plush cream coloured couch on the (I’m projecting here, but) pent house level of a swank Bay Street condo in Toronto.
Dunst, whose sky blue eyes are one of her most attractive and known features (aside from her one off-kilter tooth) are closed, her knees brought up in a comforting, exhausted fetal position and a little terrier sleeps by her feet.
This is the work of Rob Nelson. He has that special quality that few have to let you feel it’s safe to let that guard down. Just let it go. Your ego, your fear of double chin or crow’s feet around your eyes. If it’s you, that’s what he wants to see.
This is where we met for a quick interview which turned into a little bit of catch-up and a lot of discussion about his work, his past, his life now and how he got here.
I asked him abut his approach to the trade of photography. It’s looked at less and less of a skilled trade and more of a hobby/unattainable job nowadays, but Rob shows that it’s all how you look at it. It’s your perspective. It applies to a lot more than just his work, but for now, that’s where I’ll keep the focus.
“My father [Ron Nelson], his story; is he loved to build things with his hands and he had a love for model airplanes. He entered a competition for building model airplanes at the YMCA and he won first place, which was a camera, and from that, he decided to build a dark room, and then from that, he started selling his work and then he got his pilot’s license and then started doing aerial photography, then he got the studio and then the camera shop and then from that, started an audio visual department. He encouraged me to think outside of the box. He built a lot of his own equipment and when digital came along, I looked at that as a new way of seeing.
“He was a commercial, industrial and aerial photographer, so he did incredible shots of buildings and group photographs. From him, I learned technique and at a very young age.”
As we walked around the room, I started to notice more similarities with his work and a tangible closeness that consisted though each of the portraits. They are all so damn personal.
“As of late I’m not photographing models, I’m photographing friends. The woman there on the couch (a photo of a universally gorgeous woman in natural light) I’ve known her for like, fifteen years, the woman above, twenty years… I like my photographs to be stripped down, natural light. As little gear in between myself and my subject as possible, and very intimate. ”
I’ll say. Some of the work feels so intimate that I almost blush looking at them. A portrait of a young brunette reclined in a pose of utter comfort and easiness is shot from the perspective of her close friend or lover. It’s two frames, and the bottom of the two is simply her naked face and her green eyes staring directly into you. She has nothing to hide.
That’s typical of Rob, or a theme of his work. It feels like there is so much more than what you see happening just beyond the parameters of the frame, much more of a story to be told.
“I love film. I love the feeling of the horizontal, 16×9, you’ll notice that most of my photos are horizontal and for that exact reason, so that it looks like a film still.”
Because I didn’t have a copy of the legend for each of his pieces, Rob graciously went through all 34 pieces with me telling me who it was a portrait of, often peppering in a tid-bit of information or piece of history and I got to know a little more about why he does what he does.
“You know what I love? Is when you go to a party and someone pulls out a camera, you see this over here( he points to a photo of a woman sitting on the floor with her arm elegantly perched on the couch, drink in hand, looking effortlessly striking), this is a shot for Elm Street and everybody’s having fun and looking [...genuine...]” but it’s totally right. The essence of the photo makes you wish you were at that party there with those fabulous people.
So how does one condense more than 40 years of work to fit in one room? Curated by James Patten, it’s an apt representation of the work of a man delving into the world around him and more importantly, the people that populate it.
At the end of our conversation, he reluctantly let me take a few snap shots of him in the Gallery Room. He tells me as I pull out the camera “you know, this is the reason I got a camera, so that I didn’t have to be on this side of the it.”
He pulls his trade mark stealth little camera out as I’m packing up my gear to leave. He asks if he can take a quick photo of me. I say “sure, I mean, it’s rare I see a picture I like, but go ahead. Glasses on or off?” “Off.” I oblige (my glasses are filthy anyway, the arms held on by pieces of paper clip and sit lop sided on my face anyway). I now feel the pressure to look correct, especially after all the discussion that we just had but I fail miserably and smile uncomfortably, with my face most likely turning red. Damn. I should have been ready for it, but as quick as it his point and shoot was out it’s back in his pocket and we’re done. My moment in the sun was brief, but now I can say a professional photographer shot me, and it didn’t hurt a bit.
If you are in London between September 12th and November 1st check out “Rob Nelson: Photographs 1977-2014″ at the McIntosh Gallery on the Western Campus.
Pamela Haasan, London Fuse
I’ve added the gorgeous photo of Kirsten by Rob Nelson mentioned in the article to the gallery. Long-term fans might remember we added a very similar photo (that Kirsten very kindly sent to us) to the gallery back in 2008. A very belated credit & thank you to Rob Nelson for use of that photo.
As you may have read Kirsten’s SoHo apartment in New York has been made available to rent. Here’s the listing details for the property.
“Fully or partially Furnished Penthouse. Breathtaking views of the Hudson from the exquisitely appointed top floor loft. Perched on top of one of the most iconic lofts buildings downtown, this property has been gut renovated by its current owner with the highest level of finishes and attention to detail. This two bedroom, one and half bath has been furnished with the finest mix of modern pieces and antiquities and shall appeal to the most sophisticated of palates. The entrance to this grand industrial loft space features a library/sitting room area with separate powder room which leads you into the large open plan living area with a sizable kitchen, dining, and lounge area. The fully equipped windowed kitchen features Wolf and SubZero appliances, marble countertops, and generous cabinets adjacent to the dining area currently furnished with a dining table to comfortably seat 8 people. The oversized arched windows provide south west exposure allowing for very generous sunlight throughout the day, not to mention stunning river views. The master suite has a spacious layout easily fitting a king size bed with the brand new en-suite master suite beautifully outfitted with free standing vintage clawfoot soaking tub, separate shower, custom mosaic tiled floors, and heated towel rack. 11 foot ceilings and wide planked custom wood flooring throughout, top of the line Electrolux washer/dryer, north/south/west exposures, central air & heat, state of the art security system complete this rare offering. This apartment is offered fully or partially furnished for a 1 year lease term. Shorter term leases will be considered but a minimum of 6 months only, potentially flexible for well qualified applicants. Please contact us directly to schedule an appointment.”
Listing courtesy of Douglas Elliman
The property is on the rental market for $12,500 per month. Anyone got a spare $150,000 they can ‘lend’ me?
I’ve added pics of the beautifully furnished property to the gallery. Love that “Easy Virtue” poster Kirsten!
The new issue of Net-A-Porter’s online magazine “The Edit” features a truly stunning cover & photoshoot of Kirsten by photographer David Bellemere. I’ve added digital scans from the magazine to the gallery.
The magazine also features this behind the scenes video of Kirsten’s photoshoot.
The Fall/Winter issue of Vs. Magazine is on sale now. Kirsten is on the cover of the magazine & also features in a stunning Fashion Spread by photographer Kayt Jones.
I’m just slightly late with this update! I’ve added a further 60 pics of Kirsten at the “Two Faces of January” London Premiere to the gallery.
I’ve added to the gallery digital scans from the September 2014 issue of “Red” magazine.
Apologies for the recent google search/malicious software issue at the website. I’m not totally sure what was going on as I couldn’t find any problem at all. Anyway the server we are hosted on has now had a full clean & following that we’ve been given the all clear from google.
While we’re currently in the midst of looking ahead to this fall’s most promising films, it’s time to jump even further, specifically to one of our most-anticipated films of 2015, Jeff Nichols‘ Mud follow-up Midnight Special. Marking his studio break-out, the Warner Bros. project won’t be arriving until November 25th, 2015, but we’ve received the first synopsis.
Midnight Special is a supernatural sci-fi thriller from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter). It stars Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Man of Steel) as Roy, a father desperate to protect his uniquely gifted, eight-year-old son Alton, played by newcomer Jaeden Lieberher.
Joined by Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Animal Kingdom) and Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man, Melancholia), this group must race to get Alton to a secret location all while being hunted by an extreme religious sect led by Sam Shepard (Mud, August: Osage County) and a government task force headed up by Adam Driver (Girls). It is a full-on chase, the outcome of which could bring about a world-changing event.
While we previously knew some of the basics — particularly that Lieberher’s character had “special powers” — this rundown reveals the enticing roles of Driver, Shepard and a vague idea of how Edgerton and Dunst fit into the story.
The Take Shelter director has previously revealed that the overall tone will be a genre movie taking place heavily at night and akin to a “1980s John Carpenter” work such as Starman. There’s still a ways to go before we likely even see the first image, but it sounds like it’s shaping up to be something special and one can check back as more details come in.
Jordan Raup, thefilmstage.com