Cool pages: Our top 5 Steve McQueen books

There are different ways to approach the »King of Cool«. Very few have come as close to him as his wife Barbara. Or had the pleasure of photographing him in private. But there are still his vehicles. And Le Mans. Five worthwhile books about Steve McQueen, who would have turned 90 on March 24.
Text Bernd Haase
Photo Presse

So close, so cool

How do you bring coolness to the point in a photo? For example, with a guy casually lying in a sulphur bath, the inevitable cigarette in the corner of his mouth, a bottle of red wine on the edge of the bathtub, plus a naked female back. »Life« photographer John Dominis came very close to Steve McQueen in his photo reportage in May and June 1963, not only in this shot. Also at the refrigerator, where he is holding a charming brunette in swimwear. Or in California's Mojave Desert, where McQueen lays down on the back of his pick-up truck to sleep after a motorcycle trip, apparently after a beer or two. Coolness meets closeness in 81 shots.

more information via:

Casual, relaxed - and hidden for five decades

To remain completely unnoticed - and still be right in the middle of the action at the decisive moment. This is what distinguishes a brilliant reportage photographer. Barry Feinstein was such a photographer. Whoever was famous in the USA in the 1960s, Feinstein photographed them, the Garlands, Kennedys or Dylans. And then, of course, he had a close friendship with Steve McQueen. Perhaps that's also the reason why his greatest photographic treasure remained hidden for five and a half decades. In the years 1960 to 1968, during the time when McQueen made films like »The Thomas Crown Affair« or »Bullitt«, Feinstein was at his side with his camera. The pictures reflect exactly this casual, relaxed lifestyle and McQueen's passion for fast cars and motorcycles. Luckily not »unseen« anymore. By the way: You can also get photos from the book in rampstyle#10 »cool as a cucumber«.

more information via:

»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 like this: »Steve McQueen was not the type of man to give his wife flowers. His kind of bouquet was a six-pack of beer. He came through the front door and shouted: Honey! I brought us some Old Milwaukee.« She tells about airplanes in the living room and motorcycles in the hotel suite and how McQueen shot out the light 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.

more information via:

Religion on Wheels

Steve McQueen's trademark? Sure, that loose cigarette in the corner of the mouth. But also: His motorcycles and cars. Legendary the 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback, which he drove in the seven-minute 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 the background of these and many other vehicles and collected photos. In the end, 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.’«

more information via:

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 home cinema, here is a new perspective: that of Sandro Garbo. For more than three years, the illustrator and his team have been working on this graphic novel, which not only breathes the spirit of Steve McQueen, but also conjures up the atmosphere of the 1970s in great detail on 64 pages. High speed to take a break, 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 in Garbo’s dream and whispered to him: »Sandro, if you don't do a graphic novel about the movie Le Mans, nobody will ever do it! You're the only one who can rise to the challenge like I did 40 years ago.« There are certainly worse dreams. And the best part is that this is only the first of three volumes.

Und Steve McQueen erschuf Le Mans. Von Sandro Garbo. 64 Seiten. Auf deutsch, französisch oder englisch. 34,95 Euro.

more information via:

Latest articles

Bentley Bacalar: the resting tiger

A conventional washing plant was never an option. Far too exclusive is the Bentley Bacalar, limited to twelve units. So for the ramp CarWash with chief designer Stefan Sielaff only the fine hand wash was used.

Perfect quarantine places: Kilian Fischhuber in Siberia

That Kilian Fischhuber knows how to move extremely elegantly in the rocks was proven in the »Wrongly Dressed« shooting for rampstyle #9. But he also knows where to find extremely elegant rocks. For example in Ulakhan-Sis. That's kind of synonymous with »at the back of beyond«. Or in other words: a great place to isolate oneself as required in today's times.

Labello, chewing gum and potato chips

For our ramp #49 - Higgledy Piggledy we flew to New Zealand for the launch event of the new Jeep Gladiator. It turned out to be a real off-road adventure that a pair of sneakers didn't survive. Additionally, it left us with the serious question: how do you actually survive in the wilderness in extreme cases?

Like a wild Steve

Steve McQueen is the unchallenged king of cool. On screen. And on the track. But what does it look like behind the scenes? Everything different? Not everything. But some.