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Them and Their Cameras: Male Photographers in the Movies

"There was once a photographer who captured murder in his photographs." "A young boy from Rio de Janeiro grew up in a violent neighborhood and then he became a photojournalist." "Another photographer, the one with a broken leg, once witnessed a killing through his telephoto lens." Sounds familiar? No? You might need to watch these films first!

In our ongoing Best of the Best series, we have already featured some of the greatest photographers in history and most of them belong to the masculine kind, such as Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Irving Penn, Robert Capa, and Yoshiyuki Iwase.

Today, let’s get into the movies and take a look at these actors, holding their majestic cameras, who role-played as shutter-heads. It is quite hard to decipher what kind of cameras they were using (you might know them so feel free to share with us!) but without further ado, here are the film stills of some men and their analogue cameras. (Some of these movies were fiction and others were based on real events.)

Dennis Hopper as a photojournalist in Apocalypse Now, 1979

image via listal.com

David Hemmings as Thomas in Blow-Up, 1966

image via dobbscinemablog

Alexandre Rodrigues as Rocket in City of God, 2002

image via listal.com

Edward Furlong as Pecker in Pecker, 1998

image via makedo-and-mend

James Stewart as L. B. Jeffries in Rear Window, 1954 (see also: Alfred Hitchcock)

image via listal.com

James Woods as Richard Boyle and John Savage as John Cassady in Salvador, 1986

image via listal.com

Which of these fictional photographers do you like most and why? What other films portray stories about male photographers? Perhaps you can find a film still of them and their cameras, too? Share it with us a comment below.

written by basterda

43 comments

  1. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    Blow up is soooo bad! The Rear Window camera looks like an Exakta of some varient or other!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  2. maxwellmaxen

    maxwellmaxen

    i loved blow-up! genious film

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  3. duckduckninja

    duckduckninja

    Richard Boyle isn't actually a fictional character, he was originally going to play himself in the film, very interesting guy. Great film, really set the tone for Stone's career.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  4. crocodil_fotografic

    crocodil_fotografic

    You must watch Pecker. Story about a talented photoghrapher which clashes amusingly with the art world. More about it here: http://www.imdb.com/(…)/tt0126604/ :)

    By the way, no female photographers to be discussed?

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  5. scorpie

    scorpie

    - Wim Wender's "Palermo Shooting" with Campino as Finn: http://www.imdb.com/(…)/tt1008017/ (I'm kind of indifferent, can't say I really liked it, but it's sort of worth a watch anyway, if that makes sense. Not sure about the cameras, but they were old and analogue (might've been Mamyia and Hasselblad, I can't remember)) http://filmverleih.s(…)_motiv1.jpg
    - Anton Corbijn's "The American" with George Clooney as Jack - okay, I admit this is cheating, Jack only pretends to be a photographer, but he waves a big Nikon with a huge lens around once or twice. http://www.imdb.com/(…)/tt1440728/

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  6. crocodil_fotografic

    crocodil_fotografic

    Oops, now I see that Pecker was already on the list! Well, I'll add a mixed gender movie then :)
    Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids
    http://www.imdb.com/(…)/tt0388789/
    Inspirational, truly! And very lomo as well.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  7. nural

    nural

    Palermo Shooting was amazing, I think! I loved the relation they portrayed with death... but I kinda got bored in Pecker...

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  8. stickyvinny

    stickyvinny

    I'm loving this article! :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  9. disasterarea

    disasterarea

    Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson shooting with a Leica M7 in Vicky Christina Barcelona
    ...pure camera sex!
    http://blog.ricecrac(…)elope-cruz/

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  10. disasterarea

    disasterarea

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  11. conde

    conde

    @scorpie: The reason they are all male is that the great majority, if not all of these movies is about male voyerism with the camera as a stand-in for their inability to "perform". In Rear Window the main character is crippled by an accident, and is therefore powerless in his manhood. He makes up for it by staring out the window at his neighbors instead of hanging out with the beautiful Grace Kelly. In City of God the main protagonist Rocket is as powerless as they come. All the other kids have guns, money and power. All Rocket has is his camera that makes up for his inadequacies as a male and his inability to "score." Note that his luck with the females turns around after one of his pictures ends up in the front page of the newspapers. And on and on and on.. if you analyze every single one of these movies you will find the same pattern male voyeurism/Sexual inadequacy/Camera as a crutch to make up for it. Still, good selection
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  12. My top 3: Hard Candy, Funny Face, High Art
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  13. icomewhenieatcaponata

    icomewhenieatcaponata

    i hated palermo shooting aha..was so silly:)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  14. neurodiaz

    neurodiaz

    City of God is incredible, I highly recommend it. :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  15. neurodiaz

    neurodiaz

    City of God is incredible, I highly recommend it. :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  16. disasterarea

    disasterarea

    @conde good analysis!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  17. conde

    conde

    @disasterarea Thank! It's always good to remember these films are about more than just guys and their cameras. Good catch on Vicky Christina... I was wrecking my brain trying to think of films that feature female photographers. I am still trying to think of films where the female protagonist and camera are front and center.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  18. bkyoung

    bkyoung

    What about John Malkovich and Julian Sands as the photographers in "Killing Fields?" And if spies pretending to be photographers counts, there's Brad Pitt in "Spy Game." He uses Leica M4s and Nikon FMs as a photographer in Beirut during the civil war. (I suspect Pitt, a known camera nut, had some say in that.) Also, in films about photographers, Nick Nolte as a photojournalist in "Under Fire," and Joe Pesce as a WeeGee based photographer in "Public Eye." Finally, let's not forget the classic Eddie Arnold photographer in "Roman Holiday."
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  19. disasterarea

    disasterarea

    I guess fashion photographer and debonair Austin Powers doesn't count?
    http://farm2.static.(…)3df_z_d.jpg

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  20. willyboy

    willyboy

    Brilliant, brilliant article. Dennis Hoppers character is based on British war photographer Tim Page (who - I interviewed once - is insane). Got to love him.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  21. nicolas_noir

    nicolas_noir

    Just remembered Avadon in the Capote film, photographing the murderers with his Hassey! Biopic so don't know if that counts!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  22. pushkar

    pushkar

    @disasterarea ha ha ha! Austin powers is my fav photographer too :D

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  23. webo29

    webo29

    the guy in Palermo Shooting also has a Spinner 360 knock off...

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  24. onegreenfan

    onegreenfan

    Male award = Blow up ; Female award = Through the Eyes of Laura Mars ....
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  25. onegreenfan

    onegreenfan

    Male award = Blow up ; Female award = Through the Eyes of Laura Mars ....
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  26. saidseni

    saidseni

    Great, I didn't know what Buscapé meant, I was like "Rocket?!"...! @conde, great analysis.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  27. conde

    conde

    @saidseni In the U.S. version I watched Buscape' was translated at Rocket. It might now be the same everywhere else. Buscape' is a type of firework for kids that when lit flies all over the ground. Literally" "feet chaser" because it acts like it's coming after your feet.
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  28. wil6ka

    wil6ka

    @scorpie, @webo29: Campino uses a Swiss Seitz Roundshot 35/ 35s.
    The queen of 360° photography.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  29. j0any

    j0any

    What about Bradley Cooper in The Midnight Meat Train? :)
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  30. missmomo

    conde is exactly right. Also, isn't it pretty much the given nowadays that Thomas in 'Blow Up' was based on David Bailey?
    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  31. lusisilu

    lusisilu

    good idea. But why only men?
    In one of my favorite movies if not in my most popular movie, is the scene where Liv Ullmann photographs with her Leica.
    Stunning, amazing film
    masterpiece.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  32. basterda

    basterda

    WHOA ~ !

    Awesome replies, everyone! Thanks for linking some images, too! I'll find time to add your suggestions in the article - soon! Also, stay tuned for the FEMALE version! You probably will like my selections as well. :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  33. thewretched

    thewretched

    Peter Parker?! http://humordistrict(…)a111306.jpg

    Andrew (Scoot McNairy), from Monsters http://static.guim.c(…)ers-007.jpg

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  34. basterda

    basterda

    @thewretched, I wanted to include Peter Parker but I wasn't sure if he was holding a film camera in that picture you linked! ;)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  35. mythguy9

    mythguy9

    I've only watched three of them. The famous flag-raising photo in Iwo Jima was also featured in the film "Flags of Our Fathers". Cheers.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  36. thewretched

    thewretched

    @basterda if you have a look on the top of the camera, you can see the film rewinder!

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  37. brunonf

    brunonf

    Nick Nolte in "Under Fire"

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  38. basterda

    basterda

    @thewretched I realized that, too! Thanks! :D

    Great suggestion, @brunonf! Still waiting for more suggestions before I update this article. :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  39. disdis

    disdis

    I loved Eddie O'Connell in Absolute Beginners http://www.youtube.c(…)ure=related

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  40. disdis

    disdis

    but in this list my favorites are Rear window and Blow-up.

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  41. basterda

    basterda

    As promised, the female version is here! http://www.lomograph(…)-the-movies :)

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  42. irufan7

    irufan7

    edward furlong in "Pecker"

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  43. wil6ka

    wil6ka

    Servais Mont in "L'important c'est d aimer"
    http://www.imdb.com/(…)/tt0073155/

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam

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