The phrase “expertly curated” might be one of the most overused on the Internet, but it pretty much defines The Impossible Cool, Sean Sullivan’s insatiable Tumblr. The photographer (slash other things) posts a never ending stream of images that make you wish they bottled and sold whatever it is that produces people like Steve McQueen, Monica Vitti and Mick Jagger. So when Russell Blackmore wanted to up the cool factor on his already achingly hip site, Sonic Editions, Sullivan was a natural partner.
For their first two collaborations, Sullivan just picked his favorite photographs from Blackmore’s site, but their third effort, which launches today, took a bit more effort. Blackmore, who used to work at Getty Images, hopped on a flight to LA where he and Sullivan had the chance to go through the photo agency’s archives. “It was pretty intense,” Sullivan said. “Weird because there’s so much stuff there. They have millions of negatives that have never been seen, not since they were put into storage—and some were put in there in the 70s.”
Turns out choosing a dozen or so pictures among 6 million negatives can be overwhelming, even for an expert eye. Thankfully, the duo had a guide (a guide who, by the way, is the son of the guy who introduced John to Yoko) to direct their attention toward specific files. “There were a few Warhol negatives that I picked up,” Sullivan said of his early favorites. “We’re not allowed to use the Terry O’Neill stuff but we were going through—I believe it was George Harrison—and it was the first time it dawned on me that we were holding onto negatives that were priceless, that if they were ruined it’d be over.”
Of the ones Sullivan chose—Marilyn leaning over a balcony, Paul Newman in Pocket Money, Brigitte Bardot on set—he calls the image of Al Pacino, above, his favorite. “With the World Trade Center and everything in the background, it’s like New York at its finest.”
Sonic Editions x Impossible Cool images are available starting today, from $109.