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7 posts tagged "Purple"

Brad Elterman, The One-Man Factory


Don’t call him a paparazzo, but photographer Brad Elterman (pictured, above) pioneered celebrity photography, capturing rare moments in the lives of music and fashion icons like David Bowie, Joan Jett, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono from a very young age. “They thought the camera was a novelty,” Elterman, now 55, tells WWD. “Today, everyone is armed with an iPhone and can beam a picture around the world, but this was an age before PR and management controlled the imagery.”

Tomorrow, Elterman (who founded one of the first L.A. photo agencies specializing in celebrity photography, California Features International Inc.) is set to debut a series of his works, some of which have never been printed, at the Kana Manglapus Projects in Venice Beach. In the exhibition, titled Factory 77, there are behind-the-scenes images of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Cherrie Currie, Jett, and more. “Joan and I would eat huge burgers at a coffee shop called Duke’s and play softball in the Valley,” Elterman, whose first published photo was in 1974 of the legendary Bob Dylan, says. Elterman is still in the game today, shooting for publications like Purple and running his photo agency Buzz Photo, and he will soon launch a blog, under the same name as the show, with more of his archival shots. Here, a look at some of the rare images on display in the exhibition.

Photos: Brad Elterman

Olivier Zahm Shares The Secret Of Photographing Women


For anyone who’s taken even the most cursory glance at an issue of Purple or Olivier Zahm’s Purple Diary, the title of his new show, The Secrets of Photographing Women, should come as very little surprise. But the secret is that, actually, there is no secret. “I guess the interesting thing is the book is all about the secret, but there really is no secret,” Zahm said at the opening at Los Angeles’ LeadApron Gallery last night.”It’s that all women are a secret that we try to understand.”

If understanding is the goal, few have done their homework more thoroughly than Zahm. The photos on display are culled from the work that he shoots everywhere from hotel rooms to parties to on the street. “Something is happening between the photographer and the model,” he explained of the intimate images, a combination of friends, lovers, and women who have come and gone from his life. “You can call it an emotion or an interaction, and it doesn’t have to be sexual. But I create an emotional contact with the women I photograph so she can express something very deep about herself.”

Though he is constantly showcasing his work on Purple Diary, the small-scale exhibit—and the Los Angeles locale—is new. “It’s difficult for me because I have to be my own critic,” Zahm explained. “Decide if this is a picture that has the potential to be artistic.” What about, say, the potential to be fashionable? “These pictures are not constructed,” he went on. “They are very rarely a fashion picture. It’s more of a moment with a model for me. I don’t want it to look like I am shooting a model. Even if there is fashion photography in the shoot, it’s always personal and intimate and a moment of abstraction.”

The Secrets of Photographing Women runs through June 12 at LeadApron Gallery, 8445 Melrose Place, L.A.,

Behind-The-Scenesters: Mel Ottenberg


Designers design. Photographers photograph. Models model. That much—in broad strokes, at least—is clear. But what about the artists, technicians, and industry insiders, often unpublicized and underappreciated, who help to get clothes and accessories made and shown? Call them Behind-the-Scenesters: people who shape our experience of fashion but never take a bow on the catwalk or strike a pose for the camera. Without them—from patternmakers to production designers—the show wouldn’t go on. And in our recurring series, sits down with a few of these pros to find out, basically, what they do.

“Style,” as Jean Cocteau said, “is a simple way of saying complicated things.” And so it might be said that stylist Mel Ottenberg’s job is to find that simple way of saying something complicated. A button undone, a cuff rolled just so, the particular way a particular belt is slung over a particular dress: A good stylist makes these kinds of choices seem inevitable, and uses them to impart heaps of information about fashion, about the vibe on the street and the mood of the nation, and about how to look, now. “You’re kind of a medium,” explains Ottenberg, who is, among many other gigs, the fashion editor for Purple and the stylist for Adam Kimmel and Opening Ceremony (below). “You’re doing your own appropriation of this ‘thing,’ that’s how you bring the style into it. That’s hard to talk about, and it’s pretty much subliminal,” he adds. “I don’t want the style to be noticed, per se. I just want the kid who’s reading the magazine to think, wow, that looks great.” Here, Ottenberg talks to about his big break(s), his atypical days, and how a little fear can be a very good thing.

So, Mel: In one sentence, what do you do?
Well, on a good day, I’m the glue that holds everything together. Let’s say I’m on a shoot: I get the hair and the makeup going, I get the clothes together, looking right, and I’m there the whole way working with the photographer and the model. There’s a ton of collaboration involved. But fundamentally, I’m there to help make it work. Keep things going, keep things on point.

How did you get into styling?
Growing up, I was super, super-obsessed with fashion. I’d pick up copies of Vogue and Interview and pore over every word. And I started going to clubs at a young age, too, so I began dressing up and seeing fashion and glamour from that angle. Then, after I graduated from RISD, I moved to New York City and started working for some designers. The thing was, as much as I loved design and respected the process of putting a collection together, I didn’t like being hunkered down creating one thing for six months. And I tended to see images more than clothing, if that makes sense. But I wasn’t sure what to do with that until, completely by chance, I was asked to style a friend for The Face.

Continue Reading “Behind-The-Scenesters: Mel Ottenberg” »

Lindsey To Meet The Ladies, Louboutin On The “Clumsy” Kardashians, A Coup For Carey, And More…


Set your DVRs: According to her agency, gap-toothed model of the moment Lindsey Wixson (left) will be on The View tomorrow morning with Donatella Versace. One can only imagine what Joy Behar will find to say about her now-famous pout. [@MarilynAgencyNYC]

Speaking of Twitter revelations, Kim Kardashian took to the tweet this week to announce she’d fallen and broken her toe. It didn’t take paps long to track down the shoes she’d been wearing: a pair of leopard-print, studded Louboutin booties. Racked tracked down M. Louboutin himself for comment: “Didn’t she or one of her sisters hurt their ankle with some studs or something one time?” he asks. “Maybe it’s just a clumsy family?” He did admit, however, that he himself tripped and fell in his own shoes recently—though, he was careful to note, he’d been wearing flats. [Racked]

The latest high-profile wedding coup for Zac Posen? According to rumors, the next celebrity to traipse down the aisle in one of his gowns isn’t even real (but no less rabidly followed for that). It’s Bella Swan (a.k.a. Kristen Stewart), heroine of the Twilight series. [Fashionologie]

Carey Mulligan scoops up the best-dressed award from Harper’s Bazaar‘s U.K. edition, besting Natalia Vodianova, Victoria Beckham, and even Britain’s “first lady,” Samantha Cameron. [Telegraph]

And the Times is the latest outlet to sing the song of Olivier Zahm, devoting a long profile to the Purple auteur and (in the words of fellow smutty photographer Andrew Richardson) “living Facebook page.” [NYT]

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /

Blasblog: The Blue Work Of Purple


On the walls of Colette’s upstairs gallery: naked girls in the bushes, naked girls in bed, naked girls in a stairwell, Peter Beard with sexy ladies, Olivier Zahm with sexy ladies, sexy ladies kissing sexy ladies. “Just pictures I’ve taken of me living my life,” shrugged Olivier Zahm, the perpetrator (and Purple founder). His work’s range includes modern architecture, portraits of his designer pals (there’s a fabulous shot of Stefano Pilati in a cape), art-world pals (the late Dash Snow posed as Jesus), and scenes from his behind-the-curtain life (at Beatrice Inn, backstage at the shows with Terry Richardson). But the sultrier shots do tend to get the most attention, and Zahm himself is game enough to join in on the fun. Pointing to a picture of himself rolling around on the floor topless—just below an image of two people in full, ahem, fornication—the photographer explained he would never ask someone to do something he wouldn’t do himself. “And I want to participate as well,” he smiled.

Zahm’s computer crashed in 2005, taking with it all the pictures from his digital cameras. At last night’s opening he told me this was perhaps a blessing in disguise: After he went through his archives from 2006 to the present, his first edit of pictures included more than 6,000 images. This show comprises exclusively the images culled from the party pages of Purple magazine and the images from his Web site, Purple Diary []. “These are just of my friends,” he said, adding that he plans to put the rest of his images in a book, hopefully released within the year, and that he has another project in mind for his shots of celebrities and front-row regulars. In the meantime, he’ll keep shooting away. “I just take the picture, and that’s easy,” he explained. Unlike in a studio or a fashion story, in which the photographer has to create a story and a mood, “in moments like this, these girls bring the mood.”

Photos: Yusuke Kinaka