How do you sum up coolness in a photo? For example, with a guy casually lounging in a sulfur bath, the inevitable cigarette in the corner of his mouth, a bottle of red wine on the edge of the tub, plus a female back nude. “Life” photographer John Dominis got close to Steve McQueen during his photo reportage in May and June 1963, and not just for this shot. Also at the refrigerator, where he holds a charming brunette in his arms in swimwear. Or in California’s Mojave Desert, where McQueen lay down to sleep in the back of his pickup truck after a motorcycle trip, apparently after a beer or two. Coolness meets closeness in 81 shots.
Steve McQueen. Photographs by John Dominis. With a foreword by Neile mcQueen. 128 pp. Hardback. (German) Schirmer/Mosel.
Casual, relaxed – and hidden for five decades.
To remain absolutely unnoticed – and yet be in the thick of things at the decisive moment. That is the mark of a brilliant reportage photographer. Barry Feinstein was such a photographer. Whoever had rank and name in the USA in the 1960s, Feinstein photographed them, the Garlands, Kennedys or Dylans. And then he also had a close friendship with Steve McQueen. This is perhaps also the reason why his greatest photo treasure remained hidden for five and a half decades. From 1960 to 1968, when McQueen was making films like “The Thomas Crown Affair” or “Bullitt”, Feinstein was at his side with his camera. The pictures reflect precisely this casually relaxed lifestyle and McQueen’s passion for fast cars and motorbikes. Fortunately, they are no longer “unseen”. By the way: Photos from the book are also available in rampstyle#10 “Cool as a cucumber“.
Unseen McQueen. Photographs by Barry Feinstein. 128 pp. 100 bw photographs. (German) Reel Art Press
“Honey, I brought some Old Milwaukee”.
What makes a man an incredibly cool man? Barbara McQueen, the last woman at the actor’s side, explains it this way: “Steve McQueen was not the type of man to give his wife flowers. His kind of bouquet was a six-pack of beer. He would come through the front door and shout: ‘Honey! I brought us some Old Milwaukee.” She tells of planes in the living room and motorbikes in the hotel suite and how McQueen shot the lights out of a famous neighbour at night. Not a biography, but a road movie and love story. With private photos that Barbara had kept under lock and key for years.
My McQueen. Barbara McQueen über den Mann hinter dem Mythos. (Deutsch) Ankerherz Verlag. 192 pages.
Religion on wheels
Steve McQueen’s trademark? Sure, the cigarette casually in the corner of his mouth. But also: his motorbikes and cars. Legendary is the 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback, which he drove in the seven-minute car chase in “Bullitt”. But also the 1967 Ferrari 275 Nart Spyder, the 1957 Jaguar XK-SS and of course the 1969 Porsche 911S from the opening sequence of the classic film “Le Mans”. Matt Stone has researched background information and collected photos on these and many other vehicles. The result is a portrait of the Hollywood star himself. What did he say? “Billy Graham once asked me what my religion was, and I told him, ‘It’s the desert, the grass, the sun in the sky- and my wheels.”
Matt Stone: McQueen`S Machines. The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood Icon. Motorbooks.
To be continued
For all those who have already seen McQueen’s heart project “Le Mans” 917 times or more on the big screen or in the home cinema, here is a new perspective: that of Sandro Garbo. The illustrator and his team worked for more than three years on this graphic novel, which not only breathes the spirit of Steve McQueen, but also conjures up the atmosphere of the 1970s on 64 pages with great attention to detail. High-speed pause, so to speak. Commissioned by the “King of Cool” himself, if you believe the author. One night in 2013, McQueen is said to have appeared to Garbo in a dream and whispered to him: “Sandro, if you don’t do a graphic novel about the film ‘Le Mans’, no one ever will! You are the only one capable of taking on this challenge, as I did 40 years ago.” There are certainly worse dreams. And best of all, this is only the prelude to three volumes.
And Steve McQueen created Le Mans. By Sandro Garbo. 64 pages. In German, French or English.
Classic Cars Graphic Novel – Steve McQueen in Le Mans