Ed Lachman, ASC, recently invited me to the opening of his show at a Paris art gallery. I later spoke with Ed and the gallery director about this interesting blend of cinema and art.
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Ed Lachman, ASC and director Gaspar Noé at the opening of Ed's show in Paris (photo Benjamin B)
Ed Lachman began his career with cinéma vérité documentaries, working with the Maysles brothers on Christo's Valley Curtain, Grey Gardens, and When We Were Kings.
Ed moved on to features, becoming a key figure in independent films. He worked with Sofia Coppola on her first film, Virgin Suicides, and lit Erin Brockovich for Steven Soderbergh. Ed shared director & cinematography credit with Larry Clark for the controversial Ken Park.
Ed has shot several projects for Todd Haynes, including Far From Heaven (nominated for a cinematography Oscar), I'm Not There, and the mini-series Mildred Pierce. Ed also shot the Paradise trilogy for Austrian director Ulrich Seidl.
It was telling that French auteurs Leos Carax and Gaspar Noé were among those who came to greet Ed at the chic opening of his art show at the Galérie Cinéma in Paris.
In our conversation after the opening, Ed began by distinguishing between "open-ended" still images from moving images which have "a beginning, middle and end". He then describes his stills from the film Far From Heaven.
Polaroids from the set
Like some cinematographers, Ed used black and white Polaroids to check the exposure and contrast of a filmed scene. The show featured a series of Polaroids from I'm Not There.
Ed directed a documentary about child diabetes in Africa, which was the occasion for him to spend time with Congolese people in Kinshasa.
Photographing from the inside
Ed worked with cinema vérité pioneers Al and David Maysles, and the documentarian pursuit of authenticity underlies his approach to both cinematography and photography.
I also spoke with the gallery founder Anne-Dominique Toussaint, who has been working as a producer of independent films in France for 20 years, and decided to open a gallery a few months ago.
She told me: "I decided to call it Galérie Cinema because I knew that I wanted to build a bridge between my work as a producer and my work as a gallerist. Not by working with the same artists, but by thinking of my work in the gallery in the same way I think about producing, that is to accompany the artists that interest and please me as best I can, and with as much délicatesse and vigilance as possible."
"The roles of producer and gallerist are very close. I think of my métier as that of a midwife, who accompanies the artist, and provides the context for an artist to flower and create his art in the best way possible."
Anne-Dominique's next show is with Franco-Afghan writer & filmmaker Atiq Rahimi.
Ed Lachman and Anne-Dominique Toussaint in front of her Galérie Cinéma in Paris
imdb: Ed Lachman credits
Wikipedia: Far From Heaven by Todd Haynes
Wikipedia: I'm Not There by Todd Haynes
thefilmbook.net: photos of Ed's opening at the Galérie Cinéma