cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM DIRECTOR Satyajit Ray



Satyajit Ray’s World of Restless Watchfulness and Nuance

by

Terrance Rafferty

NYT:  2 April 2009 [May need to register for access]


I can remeber the sensation I got when I first watched Panther Pachali what is now probably over 30 years ago.

If there was such a thing as Film studies for preen-teens, the Apu the trio starting with Panther Pachali would be some of the first I would show, because it they hold within them all that is the magic of film.



Advertisements

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

FACTS, IDEAS AND VALUES : The Ecology of thought and action





brain_power_memory_2_3




Academic Anatole Pierre Fuksas has a blog {2}and an upcoming book of this name.  It’ll sell on the title alone: The Ecology of the Novel. For people of a certain mind set (including me) adding ecology to anything non-biological makes it instantly attractive. That’s partly because, 40 years ago, ecology came into my higher education, and it always seemed a transferable part of the intellectual tool kit: out of biology and into other disciplines.

Unfortunately, the use of the word ecology in non-biology does not necessarily mean that the subject is being tackled under the constrains of the concepts involved in the science of ecology. It’s often just a metaphor or a statement of intent which means, “I’m going to tackle this in a comprehensive, all-encompassing way.”  Though, as I write, I can imagine the flow charts we used to study which showed how energy moved up the food chain, and see how a literary scholar might fancy that this was not dissimilar to all that French stuff (intertextuality) about every book being from another book. The trouble is, saying something is like something is not necessarily a full explanation. Finding sets of analogs is a route to an explanation (Darwin’s use of analogs between domestic and natural breeding gave him the clue to natural selection) without being a complete one.

35 years ago, immediately after a science degree, having dutifully tackled Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logioco-philosophicus in the lull-before-the-storm-of-work-and-life-intellectual-catch-up-period,  I set to with a will on an outline of a book boldly titled Tractatus Ecologico-Mentus, without any idea if it was correct Latin, let alone if it contents meant anything sensible.

tractatus
nm
dealing w/problem/subject/treatment; treatment method; handling/management
tracto

v.
draw| haul| pull| drag about; handle| manage| treat| discuss

~

I felt sure it was what one could say, in  an ecological framework,  in much the way Wittgenstein did with his Tractatus, except that unlike the Tractatus, (see Bertrand Russell’s attempt to explain what it was about in his intro. in 1922), it only dealt with the commonplace things one could say about mind from thinking about it, by subjecttive report and inference. For example, I could not allow myself to conjecture – about duality for example – about what a mind was or came from, because I could not tell, except through designed experiments.  I could not take any one’s word for it.  Though I could say something about consciousness because I was aware of being aware. I could say people seemed to stop thinking when they died. That would be classed a natural experiment. I could see they stopped talking, but not be sure they stopped thinking. The point being that all of us could do this basic philosophising (= clear thinking) and build up what was true for each of us. Later these notes could be compared with others in a dialogue or in a wider social setting. We do this all the time in any case because that is what being human is about, but we do not nornmally do it by means of numbered lists or flow charts!

TEM consisted of numbered lists of statements, as in TLP, without science – except in using the concepts of ecology – under three rough headings: Monologue, Dialogue, Society. I could say my mind – and by inference other minds – were capable of taking in the facts, constructing ideas from them [such as relations, or even correlations], developing values from the world of direct experience and reading, but not concern myself with any sort of examination of  the significance of the knowlege.

I could say things like “I can read that the leaning tower of Piza is in Piza”, and I could say that I might prove it was there by going to Piza. I could discuss whether the leaning Tower of Piza really was the leaning tower of Piza. I could only find out by historical research. I could not, for example rely on general opinion that it was. All standard philosophy.

This led on to the problem of accepting the word of others, which was dealt with under various headings such as trust, confidence, belief, lying, deceit, camouflage and red-herrings in the dialogue and social spheres.

In those days they divided ecology into synecology and autecology. The terms have gone out of favour. So my monologue corresponds roughly to autecology, while one-to-one or more communication to synecology.

Putting ecology in the title was meant to be serious. It didn’t just mean inter-connectedness.  If you are not familiar with ecological concepts, there are masses of website to help. Wiki: ecology is fine, and so is Fundamentals of Ecology, which has diagrams to help. The diagram I rather like and have not seen before (Section 1.3), ‘Scales of ecology’, pretty much encompasses why I thought I could write this. Logically, progressively, I could say what I knew about minds starting from my own mind, as thinkers have always done.  (Bear in mind I was not and am not a philosopher of mind). For example, I was rather keen on in some way finding ways to categorise mind according to ecological interactions (Diagram section 3.3): parasitic thoughts, mutual thoughts, commensal thoughts, etc.

The idea was any one with reasonable intelligence could work this all out using an ecological protocol.  Everything from idle thoughts and random acts to mental illness could be covered. When you are convinced someone is lying to you, where does it fit into your mental ecosystem? There are things we think, and there are things we say.  What was this tendency to want to spread what we thought? Or, to keep certain things hidden. Could it be described as some sort of food chain? Would such schemas help to in Dawkin’s term, extend the phenotype?

Thoughts lead inevitably to action. So it is obvious that a comprehensive ecological analysis cannot exclude anything that the mind sets upon. Can one filter all actions and artifacts (culture) as products of minds through an ecological sieve?

A not dissimilar process is going on when (o.k., I do such things, but am probably rare in so doing..) a chart or some sort of record is made of web surfing. Elsewhere I have described how long after this ecology of mind idea, I went through a period of making flow charts of individual web surfs, to see how they went, what was discovered, and ultimately how to get back into the surf at a particular point later, for a follow through in an area of the ‘map’ of thought/enquiry. I used to find I was highlighting certain discoveries as being significant to me or what I deemed to be of import in a fairly consistent way.

This is not to say that this is a significantly different a process from sitting down in library with a pile of reference books, and with a combination of prior suggestion (from one’s academic guide or mentor for example), of chapter headings and indices, working through till such a point as a clear set of clearly significant/important areas are delimited. But with a chart of a surf shows by visualisation where you have been (even if you tought you are so inclined..) in a way that the mind will not be able to recover from sets of written notes.

~

Nowadays, all sorts of things are confidently ruminated over by evolutionary psychology.  It requires a willful Casaubon-like refusal to see the mind cannot be studied within such strict ecological bounds. (If you wish to consider syncretism as against eclectism, feel free. Try Syncretic Reality: art, process, and potentiality: though about art disusses syncretism. For example:

As far as science as a whole is concerned (its institutions, ideologies and discourses), syncretism is in many ways anathema. The whole history of modern science has been to keep to the straight and narrow path of reductionism. This tunnel vision has had huge success and undoubtedly is the bulwark of pragmatism. So much of the economy of utility depends on it. But it has been singularly unsuccessful in terms of human development, biological understanding and psychological or spiritual insight. Science is firmly cautious of straying beyond the bounds of strict causality and reductive materialism, but artists are prepared to look everywhere and anywhere to try to reveal what is real and authentic in human experience. Science is caught in a trap of its own making: for example, it recognizes the counter-intuitive precepts of quantum physics, while refusing to recognize their metaphysical implications. In so far as matters of consciousness are concerned, science is in denial.

The question began to arise, Is attempting to squeeze brain and mind into an ecological framework nothing more than using ecology as a metaphor. And, Is analogising bound to fail?

Anthony Campbell: The Casaubon Delusion, Avoiding the Casaubon Delusion.

~

When you use a map it is to find a fact in two dimensions that you can use in practice in three. But sometimes the detail hides the answer. A simple map often provides the answer a more detailed ones hides.  So An Ecology of Mind (There is a book, Towards an Ecology of Mindth, by Gegory Bateson, and it is, to me, largely incomprehensible), would only be a route devised from a map with a lot of the detail left out.

~

As I review what I briefly and almost perfunctorily tried to achieve (Had I gone doolally after the rigors of finals imagining there lay some sort of comprehensive working protocol? ), almost as if nothing had come before,? Compiling my A-Z of topics to consider, it was clear there is something, in principle, to be said for treating the mind ecologically – that is to say pretty much ignoring the structure of the brain inthe sense of what bit is responsible for what function. Any possible links between structure and function which are claimed now with scanning are still a bit iffy, in that these are in the end often just correspondences which seem significant but which we have no real way of knowing if there is cause and effect or ifthey reperesent some sort of epiphenomena – an area lighting up in the brain may be in a module but the whole brain is probably involved in some way.

The scan is not revealing the details of the relationshion between the words read, listened to, or learnt or responded to and the highlighted area in any very meaningful way. Most scans just says, “yes, the word you are thinking about now is being processed in some way in that area of the brain.”

There will be limited use in simply searching for analogs and then applying particular ecological rules to the analogs.

You only need to read an introductory ecology text to see sentences such as, “When the human activity lacks controls and regulations, great catastrophes can take place.” {1} It seems pretty sensible to try to squeeze the round peg into the square hole.  Only a week or two ago, I was watching a tv programme in which a tribal group demonstred its ‘ecological’ credentials (they knew nothing else but the ecological) by only taking a few fronds from each tree as they prepapared to build a shelter. So, one assumes, man was ecologically-minded once. How did he become what he is now from that? An answer to be found in the study of civilisation and civilisations.  Or did this ecological way of thinking persist in the mind but become subsumed by more powerful concerns?

So those civilisations which petered out had reached a critical mass, so to speak, as an organised society, beyond which they were incapable of acting ecologically. Easter Island comes to mind. But of course these tribes had a simpler system to consider: when they had removed too many leaves in the past, and the tree had died, they learnt not to do it again. After all that tree had other things they wanted.

My idea was to use ecological principles to describe and organise what we thought, saw, heard, said, smelt, felt, did. Nothing to do with how the brain worked, the details of how these experiences or thought were produced: just the thinking and the consequences in general terms of all the thinking, which is a mixture of old-fashioned philosophical ratiocination and and an ecological framework or template or limiter.

Plenty of people have used the metaphor of ecology to explain how the brain works (Bateson, Edleman neural group selection). The typical pop-science explanation of Edleman’s theory was that the brain was like a tropical rain forest.  This directs to something that might not be immediately obvious to a non-biologist. Ecology = evolution. That is, ecology operates through evolution and genetics. Though a description of an ecosystem can be made without reference to Darwin or DNA, what has been described wouldn’t work without evolution. In practice, as this interview with Eugene Odum, one of the founders of modern ecology, who wrote Fundamentals in Ecology, shows, ecology went from the descriptive to a holistic approach which dealt with every aspect of how an ecosystem worked: the pH of the soil, the moisture in the air, the physiogical adaptations of the plant or animal.



April 24, 2009 Posted by | ecology, mind | , , , | 1 Comment

FILM TRUFFAUT His Myspace page



tuffaut-fag-on

You’d expect a man like that with the vision and energy for film to find a way to tap into the social networks beyond the grave!

Here Truffault’s Myspace page, which is full of interesting stuff  produced by Carletto di San Giovanni, whose own myspace is pretty fulsome too.


April 20, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques], francois truffaut, Truffaut | , , , , | Leave a comment

PHOTOGRAPHY FILM: Between four and nine pictures

Mogan Meis’s essay in The Smart Set, Quite Ripples – Capturing the moments indifferent to being captured, plucks a chord  for me: a harpsichord –and not clavichord or pianoforte — kind of moment. Meis moved from an idea from Thales to a quote from Hericlatus (‘You can’t step into the same river twice’), followed by Plato’s, ‘ if the nature of things is so unstable as that, you can’t even step in the same river fronting an explanation of a photographer’s art.

A clear litte expansion on the philosophical background from Siva Prasad might help at this point.

The photographer he looks at is Paul Graham: his exhibition, A Shimmering of Possibility, at MoMa, the perfect excuse for Meis to deliver two killer paragraphs:

..human beings have been trying to figure out what makes one thing one thing and another thing another thing. In very general terms, there have always been some people who are more comfortable with Being and some people who are more comfortable with Becoming. The Being people get excited about how identity remains stable, how a chair is always a chair, a table always a table. The Becoming people are fascinated by the gray areas, the things you can’t quite categorize, the fleeting, the indefinite.

Photography, since its invention in the 19th century, has always played the role of a double agent. On one hand, photography fixes time, a notoriously shifty and ever-changing phenomenon. But photography grabs time and sits it down. You could say that photography freezes moments of essence. This pleases the Being people. A photograph has a sliver of forever inside it.

and two killer sentences:

The old saying tells us that a picture is worth a thousand words. Graham, however, thinks you need somewhere between four and nine pictures.

Meis dissects the notions of  being and becoming a bit more, but it was something else that occured to me: somehow the great filmmakers are and were quite aware of this ‘between four and nine pictures’.

Recently I saw an interview with Truffaut in which he was talking about 8 frame freezes: the maximum was 12 frames: more obtruded into the movie shots either side: the viewer was aware it was a still. Somehow at the optimal 8 frames, the stillness of a face amongst action is more a psychological stop than a physical one. Is the 8-frame an artifical construct of film with no parallel in real life? Perhaps an equivalent; is the sensation of a person talking to you suddenly having her sound off as one’s concentration goes from the words to the expression, and suddenly back again as some process in the brain decides to switch the sound back on, which hasn’t been off at all (so to speak).

In film we are being shown this 8-frame phenomenon as a stylisation. It has been used time and again by many directors. So why are cinematographers like Truffaut obsessed with it? For me, it runs right back to the simple pleaure of a flick book:; bored in a school classroom on a hot summer afternoon, teacher droning on, we idly draw a matchstick man in the top corner of the text book and make him move: the 8-frame splice is a reverse flicker book. It is a little bit ‘because it was there’, but it has a serious purpose, noneless.

No film-maker gets over the way film works: 24 fps. Even a photographer who has run off a rapid set of shots of a face, now finds it possible, with digital technology, to make the head move up and down with a loop of two photographs. There is something mesmerising about creating movement from stills.

Many filmmakers use a sequence of photographic stills or frames from a movie shot – in lieu of tight montage sequences – because they come to the conclusion that these stills — simply a short set of consecutive frames — played slower than 24 fps by digitally chosing say 1-3 seconds which is the poor man’s; still creating the necessary movement both in cinematographic and perceptio-cognitive (narrative) terms.

~

In a short documentary I am making, after much playing around with one sequence of  someone arriving on a train, decamping, and walking back up the station to where I, the cameraman, am standing, I came to the slow conclusion it was more effective as film not just to show the sequence at normal speed (the edited shot with only a few seconds taken off each end), but also a repetiton of the same shot in single frames at an optimal fps to produce an inexorable slow movement forward, which at the same time was seen as a set of ever changing stills.

Such a design is always self-reflexive: that is so much what the fun of filmmaking is. In some cases, the auteur seems to be almost solely concerned with cinematographic  reflexivity. No crime. The medium itself has it built into its DNA. The films such people make are as much about the pressure and satisfaction in the making as any subsequent viewing by a third party. True of all creative art.

~

In the process of running a sequence of screen grabs, one is consciously aware that this is what it must have been like for the first filmmakers – and their enchantment with the new medium – as they ran their celloid through a projector. The movie made of stills or screen grabs, though often run quite slow, is smoother than the flickering of those films at less than otpimum speed. One is fully aware, as all this happens, that one is watching how movie works, but also fully conscious immediately, or in slow stages, what it can and can’t do.

~

If I was teaching film (not likely) these are aspects of film-making I would emphasise: practical exercises with HDV cameras, each student would be told to go out and film and bring to class to work on: a few tricks to encourage the enjoyment of the filming such as how to film continuously, panning and zooming at the places where they envisioned cuts for example, to prevent them wasting too much time switching the camera on and off (and missing some of the action in the process) in the attempt to create ready made and editable shots.

~

Creating movie sequences from stills is quite a laborious process, involving grabbing maybe as many as 50 – 100 digital ‘frames’ for a 20-30 second shot. It is only when the slow motion sequence is played and replayed that it can become apparent how other elements such as music can subtly but radically alter the images.

In this specific case, I found quite quickly – almost by chance – a backing track from music site Jamendo that moved forward at the same speed as the slow movement of the stills. This sequence lasts about 30 seconds, which would be considered incredibly long by some ‘default’ filmmakers. But the slow pace of the figure moving up the station platform, facial expression slowly changing, physical actions – the posture of the body in relation to limbs – is enhanced by the perfect matching of the pace of the film with the music.

April 19, 2009 Posted by | cinéma-vérité, cinematography, cognitive illusion, cognitive science, consciousness studies, documentary, film analysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques] | | Leave a comment

FILM BLOG The Seventh Art



Srikanth‘s Film blog The Seventh Art is is a good film blog by a film enthusiast, and ought to be highlighted.

The world cinema page tabulates films he has written about, and is where I would recommend you look for writing by him on film.



April 15, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, Film and psychoanalysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM Film as an act of Love {by Sukhdev Sanhu}





antoine-les-400-coups1




Film as an act of Love


by Sukhdev Sandhu

Fifty years ago, François Truffaut’s Quatre cents coups
heralded a revolution in cinema. Sukhdev Sandhu salutes
a modern classic



NewStatesman 2 April 2009

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Antoine Doinel, Cahiers du cinéma, criticism, culture, film analysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film theory, film [its techniques], Truffaut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FILM Mindfukc Movies



Well it’s Mindf**k Movies, but who wants the whole world arriving at your door on Google searches?

The word itself (mindf**k, not movies…) came into my ken during a brief doomed relationship. The two separate words ought to hint at what it means. Make it a compound and as the urban dictionary demonstrates, disparate definition happens. Seven here.

Number 5:
A concept or argument which is fraught with contradictions, and is used as a control tool.

E.g.

“The way men can appear to both worship and objectify women is the ultimate 20th/21st century mindf**k.” [uc, ed.]

Knock me down with a feather. Puzzle and puzzled. I was having a reverse no. 5 perpetrated on me. It was the resistance which evoked the accusation: a clever trick to bamboozle the resister (who would do so by instinct if not on moral and ethical grounds) by suggesting resistance is the mindf**k itself.

I don’t like the expression: it clearly originated from the the U.S. : probably find something much more British in Shakespeare.

If this topic seems interesting follow it up with a quick look at NPD (narcissistic personality Disorder).



April 13, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film narrative, film [its techniques] | Leave a comment

FILM Fellini 8 1/2 – First impressions on a new viewing





mastroianni




There are two ways to watch 8 1/2:  sound on/sound off. Only when the incessant shouting and histrionics of Italian women is removed, is the sheer briliance of the cinematography fully seen: the organised movement of the camera and the magical editing, and also that special thing about the films of geniuses: that almost every frame is a photographic work of art.


img_0965


First, it is a film which illustrates cool to the nth. degree just by showing Mastroiani with his eyes almost looking over the top of his Raybans.

If we are going to be all technical here, it is the brilliance of the decoupage which has made 8 1/2 a classic. Though, of course, one suspects  much of the filming is ad hoc.



April 12, 2009 Posted by | film directors, film editing, film [its techniques] | , | Leave a comment

FILM ESSAY Camera Movement revisited {by Jakob Isak Nielsen}



Camera Movement Revisited


by


Jakob Isak Nielsen




in Danish film mag 16:9



April 11, 2009 Posted by | film analysis, film directors, film editing, film theory, film [its techniques] | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FiLM 8 frames of Hitchcock


“Naturally, the knife never touched the body; it was all done in the montage.”


Hitchcock talking to Truffaut about the shower scene in Psycho


8 frames of Psycho: a post in It’s Only a Movie

The movie sequences og these 8 frames that are mentioned in the post can be played from here.



April 9, 2009 Posted by | Alfred Hitchcock, film directors, film editing, Hitchcock | , | Leave a comment

Fear of death is intransitive becomes cutting on the action

img_1178

After a sudden inspiration, and a little consideration, it seemed a good idea to change the name fear of death is intransitive (which is, in any case, meant to be more motif than title) to cutting on the action to reflect my growing interest in and preoccupation with film and photography. Cutting on the action is often expressed as cutting on action, but it does not quite say what I want it to say beyond film technique.

Match cut means the same thing, roughly, but does not transfer out of film into other realms, as I like to think ‘cutting to the action’ does.

Cutting on the action is nicely explained in Basic training: cutting to action page in videomaker.com.

There are quite a lot of Youtube videos, such as Horrors of War EDITING 1 web doc, which also do it well. They don’t get the interpretative value of a good title when they post in YouTube. Here, Horrors of War refers to a film used to explain the technique not to the editing process. Genus => species => variety, guys – please – and all will be much clear. So first say what it is about, then what about is about.

~

Solzhynitsyn once defined an intellectual as someone who had an insistent and persistent concern with the spiritual, which I take to mean soul: what man is or thinks he could be. Whether that meant overall or if one could be obsessed with one little corner of how men act and think and feel,to some effect, who knows.

rubins-vase

fear of death is intransitive seemed like a good idea at the time – a word vase illusion: about how words are only as good at expressing what the author meant for them, as the care with which they were laid down one by one in a certain order – but the novelty has worn off now, and it is probably off-putting to many who think the blog might be focused on death: there must be an awful lot of people on the internet who have been looking for some way to overcome their fear of death who have ended up here reading about film and books and stuff.

The version of the vase illusion above appeals to me because it itself is more subtly designed than your average vase illusion and so flip-flops more readily. The bog-standard vase illusion in black and white often needs a bit of a perceptio-cognitive push to make it transform between faces and vase. And so, in a way, with words: sometimes they are so perfect they create a whole world without any help form the reader of them; sometimes just good enough to take you on a smaller, though not in itself not insignificant mental journey; often completely impenetrable and, in turn, in their way, as if created by a random sentence generator – or a deranged mind. Do they have a larger proportion of deranged intellectuals in France than elsewhere? (Reference to the myriad of totally impenetrable writers France seems to produce….)

girl-and-deer1

What photography and film are, can do, means has become overidingly important to me. You watch hundreds of films in a life time and then wham, something happens – you get it. You really see why the greats of the stills and movie camera were so obsessed with their crafts. Not unlike looking at cubist paintings for years and then realising that while, before, you understood one of the principles of cubism as showing different views at the same time, now you live the feeling you imagine Picasso had at getting to that point in his artistic journey.

image01

Cromer Pier 14 November 1993

The journey I have travelled to get to this point – reaching a sheer dazzlement at what film is and does – was not an epiphany out of the blue. I reached a similar point with photography 30 years ago. And somehow getting photography – though not how to take well executed photographs! – laid the ground for my much later getting of film, nurturing my ‘insistent and consistent’ desire to be a film-maker.

Girl and a Deer was one of the hundreds of duds on contact sheets which were never printed. Years later, once I had made up my mind this photo had really said something – would say something –  I spent several pleasurable hours framing and reframing it with sheets of white paper and paper clips to try to make the best of a bad job, and to make it mean to others what I saw one day in a second in a wildlife park in the lake district.

I sent it in to The Observer weekly competition. It was published the following sunday.

It was not well executed shot: I had not got the hang at all of using my then new toy, a semi-automatic Nikon. One day, many years after taking the photograph, I overcame my rejection of the shot, because it was a poorly exposed photograph, made a few prints at photography night class and cropped with a vengence. I sent an A4 photo with a neatly cut out of a sheet of A4 showing the crop, and was gratified to see they accepted the crop exactly.

The photograph was taken very quickly.  As they are.  I think I remember the deer approaching people, or at least not running away, and was drawn to the situation. With a Nikkormat there was control over shutter speed and aperture, but they were linked (as they are…) through the light meter. If you chose the speed route for shake (no slower thatn 1/60th.), aperture was then set by middling the light meter needle; if aperture was set (do you want depth of field or not?), the speed in its turn was fixed by metering. And, yes, you had to focus manually.

I am trying to re-imagine what I would have done: speed or aperture.  I guess speed. A professional can tell which I chose from the photograph: it should be possible to work it out now. The background is over exposed and out of focus. The smaller the f-stop number, the bigger the aperture. I might have known enough to set the focus to infinity for maximum depth of field, but because I didn’t know all the permutations at that stage, I probably relied on what in a digital camera at the press of a button sets shutter priority, hoping for the best. It was a very bright day but the two figures were under a tree, in shade. A no-win situation, as they say. You focus on figures 15 feet away and you get a bleached background.

I had wanted that arm round the deer at any price (I wondered later, looking at the image many times, if the deer did a little side line in posing with all the children…) so the technical element went out of the door. However, the people assessing the cropped A4 size photograph I sent in must have accepted it was “all in the eyes”,  like I had done, and were prepared to publish a poor shot for the sake of the greater art, so to speak.

When the girl suddenly put her arm round her new deer friend (I can’t help think she is a she), I saw the photograph and what I thought it meant before I pressed the button. This is sort of decoupage. A detailed ‘pre-planning’ of the result in three seconds rather than hours slaving over a timed script.

The conviction I had the photo right when I took it was confirmed a decade later when it was published so quickly: exciting, shocking and vindicating.

The shot of Cromer Pier was also a disaster. Couldn’t improve it with printing. I knew next to nothing of taking photographs with a fancy camera or developing and printing.

It seemed, from the numbers passing up and down the front, every professional and amateur in the area had honed in, as if by telepathy, on Cromer in atrocious weather on that particular November day. I was the unlucky sod who was duped into standing in a foreground shot for a professional: as I did so, a massive wave rose up, curled over the concrete rolled lip of the sea wall, and dumped itself on me and my precious Nikon, which I frantically swathed in kitchen roll to get the worst of the salt water off. Years later I had to have the internal mech. de-rusted. The water marks on my pier photo show I had already taken it before he got me to do his biding. After its soaking, I did not feel very confident to try winding the film on any further. I wonder who he was and what his photographs were like. And if he deliberately tried to ruin my camera, or really did need a foreground subject. Let me know if you are he and reading this.

In my mind that day, I was taking photographs like these by Richard Trim.

Today, with digital editing, an artistic smudge does wonders:

image02

April 1, 2009 Posted by | blog name change, cinematography, cognitive illusion, culture, film editing, film [its techniques], photography | | Leave a comment