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Liv Siddall

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Are you a young, gangly man who smells of smoke and carries a guitar around stained duvet and fag-end strewn flats? Do you find yourself in dingy basements covered in your own, and other peoples’ sweat most weekday evenings? If so, there’s a high possibility that you have been snapped by the legendary Hedi Slimane and added into his colossal online diary.

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Benoit Mandelbrot was one of the most influential minds of the 20th century. His career spanned many disciplines, but he's perhaps best known for his groundbreaking geometry work in defining fractals, a class of shapes that "mimic the irregularities found in nature." In The Fractalist, Mandelbrot's memoir, the late scientist reveals his journey, from fleeing Poland as a young boy in 1936 to working for IBM and meeting with Noam Chomsky. Through the course of his career, Mandelbrot influnced a number of disciplines, and the impact of his work is likely to continue to be felt for many years to come.

According to The New York Times, "to read The Fractalist is to examine a brain that can seem to reside in a jar," as few references to the...

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Remembering That Time in the 90s When Disney Hired a Pedophile To Direct a Movie

 When people think of a pederast or sexually deviant film director, they are likely to imagine Roman Polanski having sex with a 13-year-old or Woody Allen marrying his adopted daughter. But those stories are a bit tired and cliched now, so, for those with a thirst for horrible stories about film men abusing their power, we present mid-budget journeyman director Victor Salva. In 1989, Salva was jailed after molesting the 12-year-old star of his first feature film, the low-budget horror thriller Clownhouse.

Salva has said that the idea of making a horror movie like Clownhouse had been on his mind for some time, and when you watch it, you can see why. The plot’s victims are three pre-pubescent brothers, led by debutant Sam Rockwell, who spend their time running hysterically around their enormous suburban house getting terrorised by sadistic escaped lunatics dressed as circus clowns (the leader is called “Cheezo”).

As a concept, it’s pretty basic, though the nightmare’s enlivened by a constant, thrumming undercurrent of high school homoeroticism, which manifests itself in lingering crotch-shots and constant close-ups of half-naked teens. It’s basically as terrifying as you’d expect a film about murderous, child-killing clowns directed by a pedophile to be.

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© Leonard Misonne

© Eugene Atget

© Jules, Louis & Henri Seeberger

© Henri Cartier-Bresson

© Eli Lotar

© Eugene Atget

© Alvin Langdon Coburn

© Alvin Landon Coburn

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© André Kertész

© Walker Evans

© Alvin Landon Coburn

© André Kertész

© Berenice Abbott

© Berenice Abbott

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© Berenice Abbott

© Berenice Abbott

© André Kertész

© Izis Bidermanas

© Lee Friedlander

© Bruce Davidson

© Josef Koudelka

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In academic and literary criticism, the verb “to interrogate” is often a neutral term, stripped of its more violent, forceful resonance. But in Donald Weber’s new book, Interrogations, itself an “interrogation” of the way state power plays out across stretches of Eastern Europe, the Canadian photographer seeks to show the brutality and helplessness that undergirds almost all societies.

The images above are scenes from interrogation rooms, the product of seven years of exploring Russia and the Ukraine and befriending and winning the trust of ordinary police officers. They are stark and bleak. Detained suspects sit slumped in empty rooms, their faces stretched in terror, shame and resignation. A teenager under suspicion of shoplifting bursts into tears; when his interrogation goes wrong, a supposed car thief finds himself pinioned to the table, his hands limply warding against a gun pointed down on his skull.

Weber says the scenes are not out of the ordinary. The interrogations are conducted by officers who are “respected in their departments,” he says. “They rose through the ranks and did the job required. What I think is so powerful is that this is not a rogue set of cops. This is standard practice, it is what it is. It’s the utter terror of a wayward bureaucracy.”

On one level, that’s an indictment of the ethical vagaries of policing in post-Soviet countries. But on another, Weber is illustrating—dramatically, to be sure—how state power essentially functions the world over. French philosopher Louis Althusser famously placed the moment we recognize our subservience to the authority of a state in a street scene where one is confronted by a police officer. The officer, writes Althusser, shouts: “‘Hey, you there!’… Assuming that the theoretical scene I have imagined takes place in the street, the hailed individual will turn round. By this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes a subject.”

That subjection—that subjugation—is all too apparent in the suspects Weber photographs. Even in full-fledged, mature democracies, one still feels a kind of nakedness when in the crosshairs of the law, a vulnerability that can only be mitigated after the fact by norms of due process and habeas corpus. Says Weber: “This is work not about Ukraine or Russia or even the former Soviet Union, but instead a way to see the modern State as a primitive and sacrificial rite.”

That’s a particularly dark interpretation of how power gets wielded and realized, but it’s echoed in public opinion polls throughout the post-Soviet world. Twenty years since the fall of Communism, a significant majority of people in Ukraine and Russia have lost faith in both the promise of free-market capitalism as well as multiparty democracy. This disillusionment with politics has much to do with disgust at what some say are kleptocratic, domineering elites in both countries. But it also indicates a deeper gloominess: the sense perhaps that, whatever the dominant ideology of the day, there’s always the prospect of the interrogation room, and the grim, subterranean power that it holds over of us.

Interrogations was published this month by Schilt Publishing. Weber’s series recently won first place at the World Press Photo awards in the Portraits—Stories category.

Ishaan Tharoor writes for TIME and is editor of Global Spin. You can find him on Twitter at ishaantharoor

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Anna Karina and Jean-Paul Belmondo on the set of "Une femme est une femme"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Paul Belmondo on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Dorothée Blanck on the set of "Lola"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


Claude Mann and Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Filming Jean-Luc Godard's classic film "À bout de souffle" at Orly Airport, Paris.


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


Jean Luc Godard and Raoul Coutard on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jeanne Moreau and François Truffaut on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Françoise Dorléac on the set of "La Peau douce"


Jacques Demy and Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Anouk Aimée on the set of "Lola"


François Truffaut on the set of "La Peau douce"


François Truffaut and Françoise Dorléac on the set of "La Peau douce"


On the set of "Jules et Jim"


Jeanne Moreau and François Truffaut on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Oskar Werner and Henri Serre on the set of "Jules et Jim"


Jeanne Moreau on the set of "La baie des anges"


Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg on the set of "À bout de souffle"


On the set of "À bout de souffle"


On the set of "À bout de souffle"


Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner and Henri Serre on the set of "Jules et Jim"

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More often than not, some of the best observers of places are those not originally from there. Leon Borensztein was born in Poland, settled in Israel and emigrated only later in life to the U.S. in 1977. But unlike de Tocqueville and other aristocratic travelers of old, he had to make ends meet and stumbled into taking commercial pictures of average, normal Americans as a fly-by-night job to pay the bills. Borensztein’s portraits—comprised in his new book, American Portraits, 1979–1989, published this month by Nazraeli Press—took place on the sidelines of commercial gigs. His tools and techniques were dictated by his means: a generic backdrop, a camera, simple and spare.

Yet the depth and quality of Borensztein’s oeuvre place him in a storied canon of chroniclers of America, stretching past those intrepid visionaries of the Farm Security Administration, photographers who voyaged out into a country blighted by the Depression and returned with snapshots of its soul — weary, defiant, beautiful. Early portrait photography — be it conducted by socialist sympathizers during the New Deal or the ethnographic work of turn-of-the-century imperialists — all sought after a kind of authenticity. Gone was the age of outsized oil-canvas monarchs. Now was the time of the quotidian and real, a moment imbued not only with a sense of place, but of human feeling.

Borensztein brings this tradition to bear in his work, but does not belabor it. There is, after all, as the first picture above of the man in Native American headdress makes plainly clear, an artifice involved. He shot modest homes, inhabited by unassuming people. He instructed his subjects specifically not to smile, a marked contrast from the faux-mirth and conviviality of his commercial work, which often relied on the same subjects. Reflecting on what the portraits represented, Borensztein once suggested his “black and white images reflect the alienation so typical of today’s America.”

But even a brief sampling of his pictures would communicate far more to the viewer. They are at once hemmed with a wry, sardonic edge, yet brim over with Borensztein’s genuine empathy for his subjects. Still, “they are not sentimental,” writes Sandra S. Philips, a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Borensztein gives us a world of feeling with a light, almost imperceptible touch. The subjects radiate loneliness and coziness, an empty despair and a glowing hope for the future. Gazing at Borensztein, the man with the camera and that background, “they partly represent him,” writes Philips. “They partake of his curiosity, amazement and tenderness when he looked at these American people.”

Leon Borensztein’s book American Portraits, 1979–1989, was published this month by Nazraeli Press.

Ishaan Tharoor is a writer-reporter for TIME and editor of Global Spin. Find him on Twitter at @ishaantharoor.

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