What do you make of these monochrome photographs by Brad Pitt?
W’s creative director Dennis Freedman wanted a different perspective for the magazine’s feature of Angelina Jolie, one of the most photographed women in the world. The answer couldn’t have been more obvious and ambitious…
“I was surprised that Brad accepted the challenge,” said Freedman as Brad Pitt showed interest and enthusiasm in shooting the portraits himself.
Captured on rare tech pan film, Brad’s portfolio ‘One Week’ showcases private moments in the Jolie-Pitt household in Provence, France.
Freedman tells of Pitt’s film of choice – and how he got his hands on it:
For a hobbyist, Pitt certainly knew what he wanted. He was determined to shoot Jolie with Kodak Tech Pan film, which hasn’t been manufactured for four years. Photo editor Nadia Vellam located 40 rolls of the stuff on eBay, which a courier then hand-carried to Pitt in France, where the couple have been hiding out since June.
A week later Pitt called; he needed more film. Vellam’s first source was tapped out. She finally tracked down a guy who offered her 30 rolls—in Israel. She then had mere hours to find someone in Tel Aviv who could get on a plane to France with the film that very day.
Pitt also wanted to try a specialised film used in World War II–era movies. That was a no-go. One of Vellam’s sources instead recommended Ilford to achieve the same romantic, grainy quality. Assistant bookings editor Will Higdon-Sudow hopped a flight with it and made the handoff in a hotel lobby. The results speak for themselves.
Freedman says he’d previously noticed Brad’s particular attention to detail:
Last time we collaborated, I was struck by his sensitivity to the subtleties of photography. I knew that he possessed a highly tuned critical eye and would be very demanding of himself. Still, I wasn’t prepared for the beauty and intimacy of the images he made of Angelina and the children.
Hmm, I nearly always shoot digitally, but I absolutely love black and white film photography – the gorgeous grain, the wonderful tonalities… I really must shoot in black and white film again sometime soon.
It’s difficult to beat the appealing aesthetic qualities of black and white film photography, don’t you think? Not only are there not the distractions from key elements that can be present in colour photographs, but to me the visual language of black and white images seems to have an intimate immediacy that can so often be lacking in colour photographs. Black and white images seem more expressive and honest somehow…
What do you think?
Related post: Colour or black and white?