Archive for May, 2013

GLM_2013 

Here is a snapshot of a Great Lake Monster recently placed down by the harbor in Östersund, one of 20 painted in different colours and ways that tourists and locals can see all over town this season. It is in fact financed by local authorities and the model for the monster in question is a childrens book character called Birger that is very popular over here among the very young.

Within a week or two now, this harbor will be jam packed with boats. The holidays are coming up and in the next three to four months thousands of tourists will invade this area. Some, perhaps, with hopes to see a glimpse of the real Great Lake Monster, that is sighted and reported every single year in local media.

Let us see what 2013 has in store.

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MichaelSchenker 

I saw Michael Schenker and band yesterday at Tonhallen in Sundsvall, performing a solid set of classics and a couple of brand new tracks (from a yet to be released album), and I have to say that it was highly entertaining. I had never seen Michael Schenker perform live in the past (which I can´t quite believe), so it was about time. On this tour he travels with the old rhythm section of Scorpions and ex-Rainbow singer Doogie White.

White is at home here I think, and sings better than ever. This gives Schenker a boost and I hope this will be the beginning of a long partnership. The general feeling in the crowd after the show seemed to be that fans were very happy. I was, I thought they delivered a well executed show. Some songs stood out, Scorpions old “Holiday” was beautiful, rockers like “Armed And Ready” (MSG) and “Doctor Doctor” (UFO) almost took the roof off the place. And Schenker played really well and looked like a happy man.

Now, can we have more of the same please?

1967

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Magazines, Prepping

Motor_7_67

This magazine cover is like a postcard from my youth. I have blogged about this publication before, and this is the cover of issue 7 1967 (with a SAAB on the cover). Good days.

For a week now, we have had riots in many suburbs in Sweden, with countless cars burning. It´s nobody´s fault, apparently. It´s a sad thing to see.

1967 looks pretty good now.

The Tumbler

Posted: May 25, 2013 in Cool stuff, My photographs

Tumbler 

Batman always had the coolest car. I visited a Car Exhibition in Östersund today to check out a Swedish built Tumbler (it was built by a guy called Leif Garvin), and I was not disappointed. I don´t have too much information but I can see on the net that it took Leif three years and 20.000 working hours to build the car.

I took these particular snapshots before “Batman himself” arrived and posed for pictures, so I avoided the rush and the excitement initially, but captured some of that as well for the archives.

Beautiful car.

RF6b_page2and3 

It feels good to be alive right now. My holiday begins on June 6 and by then I should have RETROFUTURE 6 (rock edition, with Deep Purple MK4 on the cover) in from the printers. Here is a preview of the first spread in the magazine, most of the images has been shot by my longtime friend Michael Johansson. 100 copies will be shipped to the States (see earlier post) and 800 will be distributed for free in my neck of the woods in the next six months or so. The main magazine (western cover) will follow in October, and 900 out of a 1000 will be handed out and distributed in different ways ending on my 2014 holiday I think. It´s the beginning of the end for this hobby of mine. And a celebration (there will be a party with Deep Purple as the soundtrack).

This weekend seems promising too, starting off with a Car Exhibition in Östersund which will give me a chance to see and photograph a Batmobile (good fun I would say), and on Sunday I will see Michael Schenker in concert in Sundsvall in the good company of old friends.

As for the holiday, I am gearing up with some good DVD´s as well. There will be rainy days (this is Sweden). The second season of Spartacus, the final six episodes of Columbo (starring Peter Falk), etc. I have more episodes of High Chaparral to see and I will definitely be buying some more goodies in the coming days.

An impressive pile of books (of all kinds) awaits my full attention as well. I will have a summer jam packed with cultural bliss, in all shapes and forms. Yes, I am a happy geezer.

And on top of all this – I can´t stop listening to the new Deep Purple album. They have really delivered quite a masterpiece this time.

Good times.

Bob_book

I have rubbed shoulders with a lot of stars in my life but this has been largely confined to music (especially hard rock). Hollywood was another beast and I never really tried to get my foot into that door. But I did interview a man that for years was one of the very top men in his field in old school Hollywood, world renowned photographer Bob Willoughby. As a big fan of Audrey Hepburn I saw his name again and again and in 2005 I asked him for a chat for my PIZZA 2006 magazine (on the specific subject of Audrey), which he granted. So I called him at his home in France and he told me that Audrey was so special to him that he was only glad to talk about her. Bob passed away in 2009 but his memory lives on. His photographs of Audrey Hepburn are timeless. Enjoy the interview.

* * * * *

If we go back to your first meeting with Audrey, what do you recall today from that day?

– It was right after her having shot “Roman Holiday” (1953) in Rome and Paramount wanted her to be seen in the media so they set up a session with their photographer and they also invited me. I was impressed with the respect that everybody was showing her. People that work with movie stars are inclined to behave in certain ways, but it was obvious that everybody really treated her with respect. She was a lady. When we were done, somebody suggested that that it would be a good idea if she met Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin as they were in a studio next door, so I tagged along. They didn´t know who she was but Martin was a real gentleman about it and showed his decent side, so we got some pictures from that. I then asked her if I could get some pictures at her home and she agreed to that. She was still doing the odd performance of “Gigi” so she had a place in downtown Los Angeles. So we went over there and I got some pictures of her unpacking her bag and of her reading a private letter. Then I took the pictures of her by the window which became so famous. Those shots belongs to the ones that I´m the most happy with as a photographer. I have seen them everywhere and they still pop up all the time all over the world. It was the beginning of a long friendship.

Did you get any pictures with her and Gregory Peck together?

– No, they had already shot “Roman Holiday” and it was Audrey that Paramount wanted to promote. That movie made her a star and I thought they had picked the perfect actress to play a princess. I know people that have met royalty and they have said to me that they have only met one real queen, and that was Audrey. Everybody that ever met her loved her. She had something. I watched “Roman Holiday” again not long ago and it is still a great movie.

How was your working situation back in those days?

– I was a freelancer. The film companies had their photographers but they knew that I got published in a lot of magazines so they used to give me the access that I wanted. I used to visualize what type of pictures that publications like LIFE and LOOK could want, and then I made sure that they could get them from me. If it was a movie that I thought they may not find that interesting, then I concentrated on the fashion side. This worked well with LIFE magazine for me. So I used to get my pictures printed and the companies liked that. I covered over 100 Hollywood productions. In the 50´s and 60´s I was published on a weekly basis in all the major publications so it worked very well for me.

Isn´t wonderful to see all these classic movies restored now and re-issued?

– Yes, it is very nice to see them again, it really is.

So when did you meet her again?

– It was when she made “Green Mansions”, about six years later.

That was the film where she worked with a fawn and other animals.

– Yes. And this is a remarkable story. Her husband, Mel Ferrer, directed it. He wanted to see a natural bond between Audrey´s character and the fawn so the handler said that the only way to achieve that was for Audrey to spend her time with the animal. So Audrey more or less became a surrogate mother for a time. And it didn´t take her very long to really bond with the fawn. It had another name but it was called Ip during this period. Audrey was such a natural, she handled it with such abundance of affection. Ip used to curl up at her feet when she was reading her script. It was quite a sight to behold. She was so calm and all the animals liked her. The handlers noticed this as well. There were tropical birds and other animals.

You took pictures of Audrey and Ip that are classic today.

– Yes, and it was fantastic. We took pictures in Beverly Hills when Audrey went shopping with Ip. I suppose you can understand that people in cities like Los Angeles are quite used to seeing movie stars, but they couldn´t help but stare when Audrey and Ip walked by. They left Audrey alone, but they stared. And that is another thing that I noticed with Audrey, that people left her alone. She was a very private person. She was never unpleasant but people had a great deal of respect for her. Nobody in the film crew would disturb her.

How often did you see her after that?

– I did a few jobs, “The Childrens Hour” (1961), “Paris When It Sizzles” (1962), “My Fair Lady” (1963) and “Two For The Road” (1966). I had decided never to mix my work with my personal life so I had told my wife that I would never bring any film stars to our home. There were three exceptions, of which Audrey and Mel was one. I think she liked me because we were both very private persons. She never stayed in hotels but prefered to rent a place when she was in town for work. They visited us when their son Shawn and our son Christopher had their first birthdays together and I got some lovely pictures that day. It happened that we met with me taking no pictures as well. I met her when she did “Breafast At Tiffany´s” (1961) but I didn´t take any pictures that day.

After “Two For The Road” she didn´t work for a decade, did you meet her during this period?

– No, I was busy with my career. She wanted to have some private time with her family.

Did she ever talk about her days during the war in Holland?

– No, and I never asked. She was very protective of her father and I don´t think she wanted to talk about that period. She never mentioned it and I thought that it was the kind of thing that was private and that the subject was hers to pick up, not mine. She did mention how she came to London after the war and that she was rejected at a ballet school for being too fat. She did mention that.

Do you have a personal favourite from all your photo sessions with her?

– No, it was always special to photograph her.

Did you know that she was ill before she died or did it come as a horrible surprise?

– I felt deep down that maybe there was something wrong with her when I saw pictures of her with children in Vietnamn when she travelled with UNICEF. She didn´t look well. Around the same time I met a woman who worked for UNICEF when I did a tv-show in France, and she told me that Audrey had said “My face is needed to show the world what the situation is for these children” and I know that she felt that she had to give something back since she herself had received help after the occupation in Holland. I knew her well enough to know how strongly she felt about the children in Africa. It hurt her a lot and she felt that she had to do something. I think she actually gave her life for them.

When did the idea of a book with photograps come up?

– Well, it was the Japanese that brought it up first. She was always enormously popular over there. Then I started to go through my files when I moved to France and I could see that there was good photographs that could be used and there has been a few books now. The 2002 book, “Audrey, An Intimate Collection” is out in Germany in a new print now.

Do you feel that you have been getting proper credit for your work as a photographer?

– Yes, I have been very lucky. I achieved a Lucie Award in New York a couple of months ago. It has been a good journey.

Michael Eriksson (2005)

* * * * *

(No part of this interview may be copied without permission)

* * * * *

The book pictured above is the 2002 print of “Audrey, An Intimate Collection” by Bob Willoughby (Vision On Publishing).

Pondus salutes Dio

Posted: May 17, 2013 in Comics, Deep Purple Family

Pondus_Dio 

Swedish comic book fans can enjoy a special tribute issue honoring legendary singer Ronnie James Dio as issue 5 2013 hits the streets any day now (I got it in the mail today, as a subscriber). The issue coincides with the third anniversary of Dio´s passing in 2010. The album “Holy Diver” gets a full page review and Pondus and his friend Jocke drinks a beer and stares at a big poster of the man on one of the spreads. It´s all rather lovely.

Also, Pondus sings Deep Purple´s “Smoke On The Water” in the shower on another spread, and slips in the tub to the delight of his wife.

Good fun.