Author Topic: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled  (Read 7063 times)

Offline YaadPyar

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Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« on: February 05, 2009, 10:24:49 pm »
Vanity Fair's Digital Redux
by Mike Krumboltz   
February 4, 2009


Heath Ledger Vanity Fair is known for its provocative photographs. Last year, Miley's "backless" photo lit a firestorm of controversy that's still burning in Search. Now the magazine is back in the buzz after recycling a few well-worn pics for its most recent issue.

In the mag's March issue, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz snapped shots of acclaimed actors and their directors. Kate Winslet and hubbie Sam Mendes, who teamed up for "Revolutionary Road," strike a pose. There's Sean Penn and Gus Van Sant, who worked together on "Milk." And, oddly, there's Heath Ledger and Christopher Nolan of "The Dark Knight." Of course, Mr. Ledger died more than a year ago, so one may be inclined to ask where the photo came from.

The answer: 2005. The shot of Ledger was apparently taken while he was promoting "Brokeback Mountain." Editors digitally added Mr. Nolan and voilá. Some might say the digital redux is in questionable taste, but magazine reps insist they took great care and worked "with permission." We're a little fuzzy as to who, exactly, gave the OK. A Ouija board, perhaps?

Less controversial but still bizarre was Vanity Fair's cover shot of President Obama from the same March issue. The photo was originally taken back in 2007 and was actually on the cover for a special issue on Africa. We're not sure why Vanity Fair recycled, but we assume the leader of the free world was just too darn busy to come in and pose. Interestingly, unlike the Ledger photo with a second added subject, Obama's photo redux digitally removed actor Don Cheadle. Don't take it personally, Don. It's just show business.
"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2009, 10:34:23 pm »
Heya Celeste!  So great to see you here at BetterMost Friend!  :D

Yep, I saw two different reports about the Nolan/Ledger photo montage in Vanity Fair on E!News and The Daily 10 on E! a few days ago.

I suppose Vanity Fair was maybe in a qundary about what to do regarding Heath.  The image looks respectfully done.  And, in a strange way, I'm very happy they used a pic of Heath from Brokeback days.

But, surely there are lots of complex issues to think about with that kind of gesture by Vanity Fair

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline YaadPyar

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2009, 10:44:26 pm »
Yeah - how weird, right.  The re-creating of reality to satiate the the media/pop culture gods seems a bit much. 
"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 10:58:27 pm »
Yeah - how weird, right.  The re-creating of reality to satiate the the media/pop culture gods seems a bit much. 

Yes, I agree there is something kind of odd about the gesture.  But, Vanity Fair itself can be a funny phenomenon... it teeters on a funny edge between sort-of wanting to be high-brow and being either too kitschy or too trendy.

In this specific case, though, I keep having a feeling that they were trying to do something respectful and purposefully "haunting", while trying to make sure Heath was included in a special way in that issue of the magazine.

It all comes off kind of strangely... and very Vanity Fair.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2009, 12:08:53 am »
It all comes off kind of strangely... and very Vanity Fair.

That is certainly true!!
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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2009, 02:40:46 am »
For those not familiar with the subject matter, here's the picture and accompanying text from Vanity Fair:



http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/03/actors-directors-portfolio200903?slide=9

The Hollywood Portfolio

Something Just Clicked

Some of these actor-director teams have a history together—remember Ron Howard and Tom Hanks’s breakthrough, Splash, a quarter-century ago?—while others produced their first mind-melds in 2008. Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet even brought marriage and kids to the Revolutionary Road set. But in each case the chemistry was profound, the effect exponential. From Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn to John Patrick Shanley and Meryl Streep, Annie Leibovitz photographs 10 partnerships that helped generate more than four dozen Oscar nominations this season. Related: Krista Smith goes behind the scenes at the shoots. Plus: Video from the photo shoots.
photographs by Annie Leibovitz March 2009




CHRISTOPHER NOLAN and the late HEATH LEDGER, The Risktakers
One film together: The Dark Knight (2008).
In one of his final TV interviews, viewable online, Heath Ledger can be found refuting any posthumous speculation that the Joker role somehow got inside his head, contributing to the circumstances surrounding his death. “That was the most fun I’ve ever had—probably ever will have—playing a character,” he says, his future-tense prediction all too heartbreakingly accurate. He found a worthy fun-mate in Christopher Nolan, a mind-warp specialist who broke through in 2000 with Memento and successfully rebooted the Batman franchise in 2005 with Batman Begins. “My thoughts [for the Joker] were identical to his,” Ledger said of his director, and the result—a barmy, creepy hybrid of Beetlejuice and Ratso Rizzo—is compellingly odd and worlds apart from Jack Nicholson’s hammy 1989 version. “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you,” Ledger’s Joker says, in a killer entrance line, “simply makes you … stranger.” Hunched and stringy-haired, slathered in Robert Smith–like makeup gone horribly wrong, Ledger is unrecognizable as the man who played Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain or as the handsome, deep-voiced, Australian-accented 28-year-old he was in real life. As the Joker slouches across the screen, Ledger’s commitment to Nolan’s conception of the role comes off not as some black journey into the depths of the soul but as a hoot. Composite photo: Christopher Nolan photographed in Los Angeles, 2008; Heath Ledger photographed in New York City, 2005.


Offline Monika

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2009, 12:08:57 pm »
I like the pic. I agee, somewhat weird, but I really like it.

Offline Mikaela

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2009, 12:42:01 pm »
I like the composite picture too. I see no big difference between this, and the mag printing one photo of each next to each other, which surely was their alternative approach. As long as they're open about what they've done, I'm fine with it and I think it's been respectfully done. By means of the awards season and the Oscar nom, Heath *is* in the middle of the current media hoopla, and there's no getting away from that.

Images get altered for mag purposes all the time surreptitiously and on the sly (think of all the women stars who get the full photoshop treatment and hardly look like themselves afterwards). This manip OTOH seems to be "honest" in visually admitting what's been going on.


(I wonder if Nolan is the one who'll accept the Oscar on Heath's behalf, should he win. After the last few days' goings-on, I'd say it's a fair bet that whoever does the accepting honours, it won't be Christian Bale!)

Offline Mandy21

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2009, 12:44:18 pm »
I'd never seen that pic of Heath before, so I'm happy to see it.  I wouldn't know Christopher Nolan if I passed him on the street, but as that is the theme of the article -- directors and actors -- I see their point in putting together something they clearly labelled as a composite.  I wouldn't fault them for that.

The Obama cover, however, I thought was just a stupid, embarrassing misjudgment on their part.  Were they trying to save money or something, or was he just too busy to have a fresh picture taken?  Couldn't they have just used any number of them from inauguration day, which I'm sure were available from the AP wire?  I can't quite understand that one, but the Heath one, I would agree with.
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Offline Monika

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2009, 12:50:27 pm »
It´s an interesting pic. It´s almost as if Christopher Nolan with that sober/sad look on his face, is a timetraveller who has travelled back in time, and is watching Heath doing the photoshoot.

Offline YaadPyar

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2009, 04:32:16 pm »
I'm no purist about pop culture, but I know so many "memories" I have exist only because of their reinforcement with photos - the way kids "remember" events from when they were young 'cause they heard a story that went along with a picture, and their memory is of that, not the actual event.

So, when photos represent a reality that never existed, it's a bit like creating history and memories that exist, in fact, only in the present.  As a strictly artistic expression, I'm fine with it.  But these photos aren't being offered as art, so it seems odd otherwise.

It's the pictorial equivalent of fiction, right?  But when you write fiction, there's no assumption of correlation with fact or reality.  With a photographic image, it implies some sort of equivalence between what is seen and what actually exists/existed.

Maybe that's just such a 10-years ago way of looking at photos?  I think the photo is compelling, but still creepy to me.
"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline YaadPyar

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2009, 04:33:53 pm »
And thanks Penthesilea for posting the picture. 
"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Heath Ledger in Vanity Fair; slightly recycled
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2009, 02:07:49 am »
I'm only just seeing this.  One thought I had while reading through it is that Vanity Fair was pretty good to Heath.  Wasn't that where several photos, the one of him grabbing the statue's butt and saying something like the day I quit having fun I'll walk away, and the one of him leaning back against the wall with his pubic hair showing at the top of his pants come from?  They featured him sort of early in his career in a pretty big way.