Interesting Posts

February 6, 2009

After looking through people’s first blog posts I wanted to maybe just draw your attention to a few that work pretty well. That is, the posts come off as personal or thoughtful rather than cliched or uninspired. There are many others that work as well, but this is just a taste.

Both Annie and JD are using their blogs to post images they’ve made, which is an excellent use of the blog. Though I’d like to know why JD likes the images he’s producing.  Not because they’re bad, but it’s good to talk a little about why you do what you do.

Over at her blog Kristen has begun a rather sophisticated discussion about the relationship between a photographer and her subjects. This post is nice because it has a photo she took and invites readers into a discussion about the making of the photo.

Alex has produced a longer post, telling a little story about her connection to her theme. She’s also posted an interesting photo that in some ways begins to visualize her theme. Shadows are a fun way to visualize the absence and presence of people.

I also enjoyed Brandon’s post. While the picture is nice, I think his consideration of piers invites plenty of thought. At the moment I don’t know that the picture visualizes the idea he discusses, but reading his post you can definitely imagine images that might.

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When There’s Nothing to Film

February 3, 2009

The idea of making a movie preupposes a couple things.  Namely, that you have a camera that will record moving pictures of something.  And then, your movie will be about those pictures.  Your  movie will communicate to an audience through those pictures.  What often gets lost in this assumption, especially for non filmmakers, is that not every idea for a movie lends itself to actually being a movie.  Not every idea can actually be translated into images.  Take the case of directors Robb Moss and Peter Gallison who wanted to make a movie about government secrecy.  By their own admission:

At first glance, you couldn’t choose a less visual film subject than secrecy. It is by definition the topic you are forbidden to see, with sources who, by profession and inclination, won’t tell you anything.

In deciding to make a film about “Secrecy”, both directors took on the daunting challenge of trying to find a way to make a movie about something you literally can’t see.  If you read through their statement, they discuss some of the way in which they tried to overcome this rather large shortcoming.

But at the heart of their dilmmea is the struggle of every filmmaker.  How to represent thoughts, feelings, ideas, visually – how to take abstract, or complex, or invisible things, and make them visible.  Give them form.  Make them concrete.

In the end images are far more concrete and specific than thoughts or feelings.  The struggle is always in how you move from one to the other.

Richard Pryor and Yaphet Kotto and Art Films

January 31, 2009

I was looking at the new schedule for the Havard Film Archive, and it turns out they’re doing a Paul Schrader retrospective. You know, the guy who wrote “Taxi Driver”. Well he also directed a bunch of films. Anyway, I’ve never seen his film “Blue Collar” but I’ve always wanted to. If just to see Richard Pryor in what was possibly his most, and really only, dramatic role. Unless you count The Toy. Reading the description of the film it somehow reminded me of a film that played Sundace this year, Ballast. I never saw that one either, but as luck would have it Ballast is playing at the Brattle this month as part of their Best of 2008 series.

Both movies seem to be observational films – low on plot, heavy on character and atmosphere – about working class life. Blue Collar in Detroit and Ballast in the rural South. While neither movie promises to be especially feel good, I’m looking forward to seeing them. Partly because I like slow movies where emotions and themes simmer for a long time, and partly because I’m attracted to environments that are 1)urban 2)run down or abandoned and 3)show me places I don’t often see in movies.

Also, I love Yaphet Kotto as Det. Alonso Mosley from Midnight Run.

Artist’s Statement

January 30, 2009

At some point or another most artists – painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, filmmakers – have to write a personal statement. In order to explain their work or sell their work or find funding for their work they must find a way to communicate what they are trying to do with their work. What their interests are, what drives them to investigate this or that subject matter, and how they attempt to do this with their medium.

Usually, the statement doesn’t quite convey the power of the actual art. If it did, there would be no point in making the art. But, the artist statement is a good way for the artist to try and articulate, to put into words, what their intent is. Here’s an example I like:

Rough fields, dirt roads, hidden pastures, remnants of industrial America where nature has reclaimed the land, these are some of my subjects. My eye is drawn to rusted barges on the river, small patches of nature in the midst of city blocks, as well as traditional landscapes.

My paintings combine plein-air and studio work to create a sense of place. In the field my interest is in the immediacy of color, light and the momentary feeling of the location. In the studio the work is often a reduction of elements to find what is most important to me about the scene.

Oil on gessoed water color paper and oil on canvas are my preferred materials. The oil on paper lends itself to small, quick studies in the field. The white of the paper comes through the oil in a manner similar to water color.

While this statement is a bit vague, as artists often end up being when they write, it does convey a sense of what their art might look like and why. I’ve posted a few more links to statements for your reading pleasure. Check’em out, see if any of them grab or inspire or point you in a direction.

Get Started

January 27, 2009

Hollywood stars in your internets! Sci fi, green screen magic and Rosario Dawson!  Gemini Division. Check it.

Hello world!

January 27, 2009

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!