Branded Youth and Other Stories
by Bruce Weber.
First published in 1997.
ISBN 0-8212-2525-1 (Paperback, 314 Pages)
Bruce Weber's career as a portrait photographer, film producer, director of music videos and author spans more than twenty-five years. His photographs are featured in practically every mainstream magazine as well as in the official calendars of numerous celebrities including Madonna, Daryl Hannah and Silent Tongue and The Thing Called Love co-star, Dermot Mulroney. Weber has also organized exhibitions and donated work for auction in aid of various Human rights causes. This particular book was published to coincide with an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London which ran from November 1997 to February 1998.
With its large size, considerable weight and expensive price this volume shares many similarities with Gus Van Sant's own work 108 Portraits. Noticeable differences however are that Weber's book is intermingled with stories and poems and that it also features graphic, full-frontal male nudity.
Green Chimneys is a farm where troubled kids and wounded animals get together to help each other. It exists because of Dr. Sam Ross, whose philosophy is that every child and every animal deserves a chance. It was just before Christmas when I visited Green Chimneys to take photographs for Interview magazine. As we walked around the farm that freezing December afternoon, children and animals followed Sam everywhere we went. I suddenly realized why he has remained here for over fifty years.
Just like 108 Portraits, this book features many photographs of celebrities including Brad Pitt, Ewan McGregor, Matt Damon, Flea, Drew Barrymore and My Own Private Idaho co-star Mike Parker. There's an index identifying every photograph at the rear of the book, but the main pages themselves are not numbered thus making this index less than useful.
No index is necessary however to identify the young man dressed in a sleeveless shirt and jeans, who is to be found sitting on a swing, lost in a world of his own thoughts as he absent-mindedly plays with his long hair. On the opposite page to this photograph of River, Weber selected the following piece of text:
It is something to have wept as we have wept,
and something to have done as we have done;
it is something to have watched when all have slept;
and seen the stars which never see the sun.
It is something to have smelt the mystic rose,
although to break and leave the thorny rods;
it is something to have hungered once as those
must hunger who have ate the bread of gods:
To have known the things that from the weak are furled,
the fearful ancient passions, strange and high;
it is something to be wiser than the world,
and something to be older than the sky.
Lo, and blessed are our ears for they have heard:
yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen:
let the thunder break on human, beast and bird,
and lightning. It is something to have been.