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Movie Life

Richard Edson
Louis Ford
Roger Bywater
Bywater Bros. Editions
Artists' Books

Edited by Roger Bywater & Richard Edson
Designed by Louis Ford

Movie Life is an inside photographic portrait of the film industry by the veteran character actor Richard Edson. Although primarily known for his acting accomplishments, Edson started his career working as a musician, first as a the original drummer for Sonic Youth, and later in the seminal NYC funk collective Konk, for whom he preformed with throughout the early 1980s. It was around this period that he was approached by Jim Jarmusch who cast him alongside John Lurie in his 1984 breakout film Stranger Than Paradise.

Since then Edson has appeared in over 100 films, including Desperately Seeking Susan; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Good Morning, Vietnam; Do the Right Thing; Eight Men Out, plus many others. Throughout this period he nurtured a keen interest in photography but held back from actively shooting on set as he felt it distracted from his primary responsibly as an actor. However, when he was cast in Oliver Stone’s Platoon and Alex Cox’s Walker, (films shot in the Philippines and Nicaragua respectively), he realized these were opportunities he couldn’t fail to document.

Combining high-contrast format together with a first-hand insider viewpoint, Edson assembles a unique behind-the-scenes perspective of film making. Taken over a 30 year period, and entirely shot using B&W film, Movie Life features portraits of famous friends and colleagues from in front and behind the camera such as Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Dee Dee Ramone, Ed Harris, Laurie Metcalf, Holly Hunter, John Sayles, and Wim Wenders.

Documenting the dramatic as well as the mundane Edson presents the full spectrum of film production, from the exotic and creative process of shooting on location, to the not-so-glamorous necessity of promoting films at festivals, press junkets and countless interviews. In the end what one is presented with is a portrait of an industry as well as a life contained within that industry. Ads Edson explains in the epilogue: “Becoming an actor was a good excuse to take photographs. The places I was went, the people I met, plus being involved in the whole machinery of film making was a subject that was too great to pass up.”

  1. Movie Life

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