"IN PHOTOGRAPHY there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality," -- Alfred Stieglitz
OUR GOOD Scots Presbyterian pal, who just happens to be the genius photographer Harry Benson, has had his darling wife, Gigi, send us some photos Harry took recently of Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen looks ravishingly charming and beautiful, an effect Harry has frequently on women!
After the portrait sitting, Her Majesty brought in her four Corgis to meet Harry. Then on July 1, The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh unveiled their Queen in a kind of "sweet" aspect of her portraits. She is 88 years old.
In the portrait, she is wearing a gold-and-diamond brooch, featuring thistles, the Scottish national emblem. Harry considers being invited to take this important picture "the highlight of my career."
Harry was Glasgow born and started his career on Fleet Street, "I first photographed Her Majesty in Scotland opening a coal mine in 1957, and thereafter visiting towns in Lanarkshire, Edinburgh and the Western Highlands, and later in London at the opening of Parliament. ... It was always an honor and the most memorable was when I had the opportunity to take an official portrait in Buckingham Palace for the Scottish Art Gallery. If only my teachers at the Eastwood School in Glasgow could see me now, they would be in shock."
Harry likes his latest portrait of the Queen. He feels it is softer and sweeter, reflecting her as she often is! I guess the Corgis drew the line at being photographed.
SOME FANS thought the last season of "Game of Thrones" wasn't the strongest, but what do fans know? The show garnered a whopping 19 Emmy nominations. And HBO trumped all other networks -- again -- with 99 nominations. They really are doing something right.
Speaking of HBO, the final season of "True Blood" is a virtual and literal blood-letting. Much-loved characters are being killed off faster that you can say jugular! We will have to wait a while to find out the ultimate fate of Anna Paquin's Sookie, who has, in her clueless way, brought so much misery to the mortal and vampire inhabitants of her small Southern town.
I MUST say I was surprised and disappointed that the divine Jackie Bisset was denied a Best Supporting Actress Emmy nod for her work in the Starz miniseries, "Dancing on the Edge." She did take home a Golden Globe for that marvelous performance, but Emmy nominees are generally drawn from a pool of consistently popular, well-viewed programs. Starz is a little off the beaten track.
Julia Roberts is considered to be the one to beat for her turn in HBO's "The Normal Heart."
AS SOME of you know, and all of you will declare you don't care, Lindsay Lohan has taken up residence in London. There, she says, she intends to make her stage debut in a revival of David Mamet's "Speed-the-Plow." Yes, the very play in which Madonna made her legit stage bow, back in 1988. (Reviews were tolerant and the star was professional, on time and behaved well during the run.)
Vegas odd-makers are betting against Lindsay, and I can't say I blame them. But if she manages to get onstage and perform and complete the run with no drama, that comeback she has been angling for might just happen.
I am hoping for the best. But I always do where this young woman is concerned. And don't tell me I'm being foolish. I haven't put money on her succeeding, despite my good thoughts!
P.S. Lindsay, dear. You have pale, delicate skin that bruises easily. Stop wearing short shorts and mini-skirts with no stockings. It looks so tacky, all those red, yellow and purple bruises. Not to mention the scratches.
I AM happy that one of my faves, Mark Wahlberg, is in the biggest hit of his career, with the latest "Transformers" movie, but I can't say that this one is any better -- in my opinion -- than the others, which starred Shia LaBeouf. Obviously I had little knowledge of the source material -- graphic cartoons, but I'm always up for an action film, even if it seems an improbable premise.
This new one has astonishing special effects, which is the real attraction -- the morphing of the various machines into -- other machines. Mark is fine, muscular and action hero-y. It's not a role to stretch his acting chops, or a movie to engender Deep Thoughts. It's summer. Relax!
I'm not the target audience. The target audience, apparently, loves the movie, despite dismissive reviews. It's a giant hit, worldwide.
And while Mr. Wahlberg hardly needs the money, it's always nice to have more, and be a part of a successful franchise.
JUSTIN BIEBER's various antics over the past year reaped nothing but dismissed charges and a future stint in anger management. To celebrate, the singer perhaps went out and overindulged, though he is not yet of legal drinking age. Justin posted a selfie of himself soaking in a tub. "Tubs cure hangovers" he captioned it.
Like most celebrities -- and most regular folks -- Bieber is obsessed with selfies. Most of his show him in a state of undress. He is either very confident or very insecure.
I HAVE A momentary brief absence in my office staff, so be patient if you don't get instant answers, emails, etc., or you miss my brilliant postings on Lips and Ears for Facebook. Be patient and try, try again. There is no virtue particularly in all this instant gratification and everything can wait, even the Grim Reaper.
And if he can't wait, we'll never know the difference.
SO the New Yorker magazine is going to start giving itself away with no restrictions. Hooray for this great magazine. I hope they make millions from ads for their insane generosity, and the great quality of their writing and for actually paying their writers a living wage.
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