Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Possibly the most expensive photograph ever taken

I was sincerely hoping I'd cope better than this. Less than 48 hours after it ended, I find myself restless and wanting.

Football is coming back, I know, but it's not the same. Even if you could watch all ten opening fixtures of the new Premier League season simultaneously on ten individual TVs, in my preferred pub, with the Guinness at half price, the void that has been hitherto filled by total spectacle could not be properly completed.

Though clearly no substitute, the incredible photograph you see above is, at least, an attempt to replicate the mind-bogglingly stellar experience of that event of these last two weeks.

It is Art Streiber's remarkable picture, published in Vanity Fair, and celebrating 100 years of Paramount Studios. This is old-style Hollywood glamour - proper, jaw-dropping celebrities. And Justin Bieber.

You have three generations of Godfather cast (James Caan, Andy Garcia and a rather grumpy looking Robert De Niro); apex legends (Jack Nicholson, Kirk Douglas); two generations of Captain Kirk (William Shatner and Chris Pine); "starlets", as they would have once been called (Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Megan Fox); a couple of knights (Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ben Kingsley); original Brat Packers (Sean Penn, Molly Ringwald and Tom Cruise); two of the greatest film directors in history (Spielberg and Scorcese) and some of their leading stars (Harrison Ford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg); character actors (the late Ernest Borgnine and Scott Glenn), contemporary British comedians (Simon Pegg and Sacha Baron Cohen) and three of America's funniest people (Eddie Murphy, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock); astronomically talented actresses - er, sorry - actors (Meryl Streep, Glenn Close); the original Danny and Sandy (John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John); another Danny - Ocean - and two members of his gang (George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle); members of the directorial awkward squad (Oliver Stone and David Lynch); a director (Peter Bogdanovich) and the director (David Chase) whose TV series (The Sopranos) he acted in; and a pair of directors whose work you just can't keep your eyes from (JJ Abrams and David Fincher).

The Paramount Centenary 116
Vanity Fair excels at this sort of thing. One the few monthly magazines left still capable of writing intelligent features about people - not just celebrities - but individuals who make the world the diversely fascinating curiosity that it is. Throw in the incredible cover photography of Annie Leibowitz or Mario Testino, and you have a magazine that treats the famous with a respect that is rewarded, handsomely by interview features that capitalise on the magazine's excellent writers.

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