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Jeff Bridges: Photographer & Actor

Photograph by Jeff Bridges, Peter Bogdanavich Lining Up a Shot, Texasville, 1990.
Photograph by Jeff Bridges, Peter Bogdanavich Lining Up a Shot, Texasville, 1990.

Oscar and Golden Globe award winning actor Jeff Bridges is known to most from his roles in the films True Grit, Crazy Heart, The Contender, The Fisher King, and many more. However, Jeff Bridges has been a photographer as long as he has been an actor. He says: “I’ve been taking pictures and making movies for most of my life… I started taking pictures in high school. I set up a darkroom and would lose track of time, developing and printing for hours and hours, listening to FM radio in the red ‘safe light’.” He says that photography took a back seat when his acting career took off. and he didn’t get back into it seriously until he was working on the remake of King Kong in 1976. He was playing a paleontologist that carried a camera with him wherever he went, so he started taking pictures again to prepare for the role.

Bridges takes photographs on the set during each of the films he works on. At the end of filming he makes a book of the photographs for the cast and crew. In 2006 he published the book, Pictures, which is a collection of some of his favorite shots from those smaller albums. Proceeds from sales of the book benefit the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF).

Most of Jeff Bridges’ photographs  are done with a Wide-Lux camera. He says that it is a panning, still camera. He uses the 35mm version, with a 28mm lens that pans nearly 180 degrees. Instead of a traditional shutter, it has a slit that, as the lens pans, exposes the film.

He says:

The Wide-Lux is a fickle mistress; its viewfinder isn’t accurate, and there’s no manual focus, so it has an arbitrariness to it, a capricious quality. I like that. It’s something I aspire to in all my work — a lack of preciousness that makes things more human and honest, a willingness to receive what’s there in the moment, and to let go of the result. Getting out of the way seems to be one of the main tasks for me as an artist.

2004 NYFF Poster by Jeff Bridges
2004 NYFF Poster by Jeff Bridges (A photograph from the set of The Fisher King)

In May, Jeff Bridges will be honored at the International Center of Photography (ICP) Infinity Awards. “ICP is proud to honor Jeff Bridges at the 2013 Infinity Awards,” said Mark Robbins, Executive Director of ICP. “In parallel with his illustrious career in film we celebrate his dedication to the arts and to the photographic image.” The award ceremony will take place Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, New York City. Contact ICP for more information.

The multi-talented Jeff Bridges is also a musician, singer and songwriter. He has released two albums of his music; Be Here Soon in 2000 and Jeff Bridges in 2011. Bridges also performed on the Crazy Heart Soundtrack.

For more information about Jeff Bridges, his photography and music, visit: http://www.jeffbridges.com/.

Visit the Pop Life Art celebrity artists list for links to many more actors, singers, and musicians that create art and photography.