The Story of Film: An Odyssey

I have been watching Mark Cousin’s history of cinema on channel 4. A program full of thought and ideas. Inspiring. Visually exciting. Movies known and unknown from around the world. He talks about cinema in a range of ways drawing in photography , themes, social relationships, history and context …..and although this images move and the ones we are studying here are still, they share a realm, a basis…..isn’t film the ultimate photographic series…

Much he talks about is as relevant to the still camera as to the movie camera. It is a source of learning, of ideas. His documentary is illustrated with graphic examples of camera use. Of the depth of focus. The way film isolates or includes and plays with space and depth. The way in which these ways of shooting add to the narrative. The use of colour and changes in technology. The vision and awareness of the visual palette held in the minds of directors and of the directors of photography. Their knowledge of light and its interactions with the camera. The way in which they construct the whole image and chose points of view/inclusions/exclusions. Shooting here for this effect/there for that effect/learning from others/ falling in love with new technology/ learning how to use it/their construction of space. Perhaps it is not always possible to control all these elements in that moment but in others yes. And they can be absorbed and learnt. Try to use these resources.

Gregory Crewdson
seems to have taken ideas extracted from cinema, but only in certain areas. There is a type of image he makes. But there are other influences to be extracted from cinema. Other things to be learnt.


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Filed under October 2011, Readings

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