City Hearts: 2015 Fresh Focus Photo Auction to Feature Unpublished Marlon Brando Photograph

Stefani Kong Uhler’s shot of the actor with Ifugao children is one of two photographs for the set of “Apocalypse Now” available through the auction benefitting City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts charity
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Los Angeles—A previously unpublished photograph of Marlon Brando from the set of Apocalypse Now will be among the items on offer at City Hearts’ 4th Annual Fresh Focus Photo Auction, November 1st at The Leica Gallery in West Hollywood. The photograph, which shows the late actor in the company of child extras, is one of two shots by Stefani Kong Uhler that will be included in the auction. The second photograph, also from the set of Apocalypse Now, shows Brando with the late photographer Mary Ellen Mark, who will be the subject of a special tribute. The Fresh Focus Photo Auction benefits City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts, a non-profit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of L.A’s most underserved and at-risk children through the arts.

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This year, City Hearts’ 4th Annual Fresh Focus Photo Auction will be juried and feature the work of a host of fine art and celebrity photographers, including Jeff Bridges, Doug Kirkland, Herb Ritts, George Hurrell, Kim-Gottlieb Walker, Eli Reed, Anthony Friedkin, Julia Dean, Michael Semaan, Nicola Goode, Helen K. Garber, Ruven Afanador, Jenny Okun, Greg Gorman, Brian Leatart and Steve Banks, among many others. High-profile Members of the American Society of Cinematographers such as Richard Crudo, Russell Carpenter, David Darby, James Chressanthis, and Charlie Lieberman have donated still photography from their gallery showings.

The Brando photographs were shot by Kong Uhler while working as the actor’s personal photographerThe children belong to the Ifugao tribe and were hired to portray Vietnamese Montagnards in Apocalypse Now.  The Ifugao are indigenous to the mountainous region in the northern Philippines province of Luzon. 

“Marlon was intrigued by their ‘primitive,’ yet extremely political opposition to dictator Ferdinand Marcos,” recalls Kong Uhler.  “He would spend hours among the tribe, and often could be found removing lice from the children's hair.  For me, this photograph captures Marlon's fascination with the children, their innocence and pure joy, and, equally, their fascination and wonder with him.”

“The scene was painstakingly lit by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro ASC, but never appeared in the film,” Kong Uhler adds.  “It has never been published.”

Raised in Beverly Hills, Kong Uhler began her career when she received a telegram from Marlon Brando, asking her to join the production of Missouri Breaks. She became the actor’s personal photographer and worked with him on several films. She went on to photograph many other Hollywood personalities and movie sets, as well as numerous other subjects ranging from acclaimed scientists to local gangs. Her work has been featured in People, Rolling Stone, Paris Match and many other publications. She is currently working on Heartbeat, a limited edition of photographs from 1975-1985, and a book.

Kong Uhler decided to share her very private photographs as part of the Fresh Focus 2015 auction because of her respect and admiration for the organization’s work with inner city youth. “City Hearts brings essential skills to young people and a new way to access and express their world and lives,” says Kong Uhler. “There is nothing greater than giving children the tools for self-expression.”

About City Hearts

CITY HEARTS: For over 30 years, programs have been that very special place for children to grow, experience the Arts, and learn skills that help motivate and enhance school involvement, community engagement, and a sense of caring and compassion for their local and the global communities while encouraging and inspiring children to reach their full potential. Founded in 1984 by Juvenile Court Public Defenders, Bob and Sherry Jason, City Hearts has provided unique training and experiences in the Arts to over 30,000 children since our inception. We believe that intervention and prevention are key elements to nurturing our children to become creative, compassionate and responsible young adults.  City Hearts is Southern California’s pre-eminent Arts education outreach organization.

Fresh Focus: A New Shot at Life, City Hearts’ Photography program, encourages students to shoot with cameras – not guns. “We teach our students to evaluate their lives and community with a critical eye so that they may, in turn, educate others about their world and tell their ‘story behind the shot’,” Jason explains.

What:   City Hearts: 4th Annual Fresh Focus Photo Auction

When:  Sunday, November 1, 2015. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: The Leica Gallery, 8783 Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Tickets and



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