Black and White Portraits on Film
Shot in film by Cat Thrasher Photography.
Cat Thrasher dusted off her Hasselblad, loaded the scroll of black and white film and started taking studio portraits that showcase the unique beauty and and utter humanity of her subjects. Cat’s subtle and keen eye, her instant intimacy and grace, and her technical mastery of light, allow for portraits that capture moments, expressions, and the essence of those who are lucky enough to work with her.
These photographs reminded me of my years living in NYC, the Mud Club, the raw art photography of Nan Goldin and Robert Mapplethorpe. All evoking the vivid portraits by Steichen years before. I’ve curated a selection of black and white portraits here. Many of the photos that follow are of my heroes, or are taken by my aesthetic heroes. They are not Hollywood studio glamour shots, rather, they are shots that shine a light into the subject and reveal something of their essence.
Here is the gallery of photos inspired by Cat’s gorgeous portraits.
Louise Bourgois by Robert Mapplethorpe. I remember reading of her exasperation when somebody remarked on the phallic shape of the sculpture she holds. She was outraged!
Neil Jordan, one of my favorite directors. By Dr. Fragelis Fragiadakis.
Katharine Hepburn by Cecil B. DeMille. One of my namesakes. Another was Kate in Taming of the Shrew. True.
Diane Lane. A hero since A Walk on the Moon.
My friend, Carlo.
Juliette Binoche. A hero since The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Another hero.
Viggo Mortgensen. Again, A Walk on the Moon. Dreamy.
Dustin Hoffman. One of the greats.
An iconic image of an extraordinary woman. Anne Bancroft.
Beckett by Avedon. I love Beckett and had to great privilege to hang out with his company at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His troupe came into the performance space at the Richard DeMarco Gallery right after my company performed. It was the band of brothers he found on death row when they did a production of Waiting for Godot. The few who were released joined Beckett and Billy Whitelaw to form his company. He bequeathed the rights to his plays to this group.
Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones by Joan Savio. Truly one of my heroes. I’ll never forget his production of Still Here at BAM. I expected the performance to be about Death. But it was about Life. Fifteen minutes into the show, a tall, elegant man stood up in the center of the audience and said, “Hold! Hold!” The dancers halted, confused. “The music is a little bit off. Excuse me, All. We’ll start again at the beginning.” And they did.
At the end, the audience rose as one and floated out of the theater and down the street, into to subway. No one seemed to speak. We had been transformed.
Steve Buscemi by Murray Mitchell.
David Lynch. Love his work and miss it. From Eraser Head to Blue Velvet, to Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks.
Debby Harry by Mapplethorpe.
Doris Dorrie. Her film, Nobody Loves Me, is my absolute favorite film.
Garbo by Steichen.
A young Gerard Depardieu.
Gordon Parks by Toni Parks.
Isabella Rossellini.By Marc Apers. Look at her. Extraordinary.
Marlon Brando. What can I say?
Johnny Depp by Mary Ellen Mark.
Grace Jones by Mapplethorpe. Slave to the rhythm…
Jeff Bridges by Mary Ellen Mark. The Dude abides…my father and brother saw The Big Lebowski in Orange County, CA, where the film is set. Nobody in the audience thought it was a comedy, but them.
Maya Angelou. I just listened to her read one of her books on tape. Her voice!
Miranda Richardson. My favorite actress. Dance with a Stranger.
Patti Smith by Mapplethorpe.
Robert Frank. A wonderful photo of the great photographer.
Robert Mapplethorpe, self portrait. Whimsey and élan.
Sally Mann’s “Immediate Family.”
Wim Wenders. The man, himself. The creator of Wings of Desire, a film that planted the circus, hope, love, and the beauty of human imperfection deep within me.
And now, I add Sam Shepard. When I saw his production of Fool for Love at the old Circle Rep on 7th Avenue with Kathy Baker and Ed Harris, i knew this was my creative home. Years later, when the theater was tossing old checks, I found and kept one made out to Sam Shepard…
And this is a Black and White photo by Jen Fariello, I happen to love. A portrait of me. Thank you, Jen!
On Redbud you can find:
Black and White Portrait on Film by Cat Thrasher Photography
And here are their sites: