The Genius of Moving Image Part III

This last part of ITAP consisted in the music videos “Only you” by Portishead and “All is full of love” by Bjork, both the work of director Chris Cunningham.

T1: How did Bjork and Chris collaborate on the All is full of love video?

Chris liked Bjork’s track so decided to collaborate with her in order to get a “short film”. He used his passion for industrial robotics to create a music video that suited Bjork’s idea of “robo-love”. Several shots had to be taken again and again and it was only until computer graphics stepped in that Cunningham saw the final result. Bjork needed to have half of her face painted in white and the rest of the body wearing a blue suit in order to face her face on the robot in the video.

T2: What techniques were used on the portishead video to create the     unusual slow motion effects.? Research this.

To get the effect the initial footage was shot in a water tank. Later on, the footage had to be inserted via software in the alleyway of a street.

T3: What other music video directors have gone on to direct feature films? Name two and the feature films they have made.

Spike Jonze – “Being John Malkovich”

Mike Mills – “Thumbsucker”

T4: Which famous sci – fi film did Chris Cunningham’s work on before he became a director?

Before her career as a director, Cunningham worked for over a year on animatronic in the film “A.I.”

T5: What makes his work different or original compared to other similar directors?

What makes Cunningham’s work original compared to others, is it’s ability to induce a very different and strange new world to the audience in the form of a sci-fi-robotised narrative.

The Genius of Moving Image Part II

The second part of the genius of moving image is from a documentary film called  “Visions Of Light, The Art Of Cinematography” by Arnold Glassman.

T1: What is the role of the cinematographer in film making?

The cinematographer is in charge of the filming, camera and light placements, and ensures that the viewer’s attention is directed at the key elements of the movie.

T2: Why did director Roman Polanski insist on using hand held camera in the film Chinatown?

Because cameras and lenses evolved enough that a scene could be shot handheld inside a room and Polanski wanted to “use modern technology to film the past”.

T3: Name two films which use colour in a very symbolic way, and describe what they suggest.

“The Last Emperor” – the red in the wrist-cutting scene represents the beginning. Orange is also used as a symbol of family.

“Days of heaven” – most of the film was shot in the 20 minutes after sunset when the sun wasn’t visible but the sky gave a color and feel the suggested romanticism.

T4: In the film Raging Bull why was the fight scene filmed at different speeds?

Because the film was based on LIFE stills from the period of what boxing looked like to people.

T5: Who is the cinematographer for the film Apocalypse Now, and what is his philosophy?

The cinematographer for “Apocalypse Now” was Viitorio Storaro. He thinks that photography is a single art, like painting and that film is an art form that cannot be expressed by a single person. 

The Genius of Moving Image Part I

For this series of documentaries we had several videos and films.

This one is  documentary of filmmaker Sam Taylor Wood.


T1: List two specific key relationships between Sam Taylor Wood’s photography and film work?

Both Sam Taylor Wood’s photography and film are self portraits and were ways of getting over the hard periods in her life.


T2: How does the use of multi-screen installation in her work reflect narrative?

In multi-screen installations, the narrative exists without a certain story, but rather it is made up by the viewer.


T3: What other photographers use film as an integral part of their work? List two with examples.

Larry Clark – Photography book “Tulsa” and movie “Kids”

Nan Goldin – “Saints and Sibyls”, “Sisters”


T4: Research three other Video artists and explain their working philosophy

Andy Warhol – his work was all about sexual scandals combined with mystery and visuals in the form of pop art. In 1950 he introduced realism in his work and produced films such as “Kiss” and “Haircut No. 2”.

Bruce Nauman – uses of language, human condition and psychological behavior are among his favorite subjects.

Bill Voila – his work is focused on the human experience: birth, death, human consciousness and experience. He also has an interest in mystical traditions.


T5: Show an example of a specific gallery space or a site specific location where a video artist or film maker has created work specifically for that space and been influenced by it.

Such an example is Chris Cunningham’s “Flex”, which was a video installation shown at the Royal  Academy of Arts in London. It consists of a 15 minute film loop, depicting the naked people floating in darkness. 

Another one bites the dust…

…actually three.

Kodak has announced the discontinuation of three of it’s slide films: Ektachrome E100G, E100VS and ELITE Chrome Extra Color.


As I remember, the whole Kodak line-up consisted of these three films…so no more Kodak slide film :(. Stocks are said to last about 6-9 months.

Some might say to stack-up but, in my opinion, it’s something else knowing there’s still more to come for you to shoot. Cheapskates like me will suffer from this.

For my personal photography this is quite a blow because I was intending to shoot almost all of my future color analog photos on E100G because it offered the best combination of natural colors. Fuji is very different in the way that it slightly distorts colors and has very poor skin tones. Sure, Velvia is wild and crazy but does that help you capture the essence of a scene or simply stun a crowd? There’s also Provia. I’ve tried it but I’m not happy with the results; technically it’s very good but it lacks some sort of a humanity, it doesn’t render scenes in a very friendly way, it’s very imposing.

Luckily, I think that slide film has still some years to live thanks to the excitement caused by Velvia. The rest of the line such as Provia 100F and 400X will have to follow, so buying my Nikon F6 with it’s advanced light meter  is still on :).

On the other hand, I might consider taking a closer look at color negative film. Both Portra and Ektar are still produced and Fuji this time comes close to Kodak’s reproduction of light.

I have given some thought to this and came to the conclusion that negative film can be just as good as slides if you print it…which I intend to. After some experimentation in the darkroom with b&w negative film, I came to the conclusion that (using the same contrast grade), you can increase or decrease contrast in a print by giving more or less exposure to both the negative and the print respectively. I’m not sure if I was dreaming or there’s actually something behind this. Underexposed negatives require higher contrast grades so, by tracing back, we could conclude that underexposure means lower contrast and vice-versa.

Of course, there isn’t any need for lower contrast in a color negative with it’s huge dynamic range, you just expose it as rated. But when you overexpose the negative and then add more exposure to the print as well………might be interesting.

Negative materials are cheap and widely available so I might consider giving more attention to this mater.

But in the meantime, where did I put that Kodak?…

The Genius of Photography Part VI

T1: How many photographs are taken in a year?

Around 80 billion.


T2: What is Gregory Crewdsons modus operandi?

Gregory Crewdsons works by using film props, actors and assistants in order to get a perfect image out of several photographs taken at different times and digitally combined.


T3: Which prints command the highest price & what are they called?

The most expensive prints are the ones made by the photographers themselves near the time the photograph was taken. They are called vintage prints.


T4: What is a Fake photograph? Give an example and explain how & why it is fake.

A fake photograph is a print made from the negative by someone else than the photographer. Such an example is Luis Heyne’s “Powerhouse mechanic”.


T5: Who is Li Zhensheng and what is he famous for?

Li Zhensheng is a photojournalist famous for he’s images of communist China.


T6: What is the photographers “holy of holies”?

Magnum Photo Agency.


T7: How does Ben Lewis see Jeff Walls photography?

Ben Lewis sees Jeff Walls’s photographs as a return to 19th century painting.


T8: Which famous photograph was taken by “Frank Mustard”?

He took Camille Silvie’s “River in France” photograph.

The Genius of Photography Part V

T1: Who said “ The camera gave me the license to strip away what you want people to know about you, to reveal what you can’t help people knowing about you”, and when was it said?

Diane Arbus.


T2: Do photographers tend to prey on vulnerable people?

In recent years, this has been a debate.


T3: Who is Colin Wood?

olid Wood is a man who, as a child, was the subject of one of Diane Arbus’s photographs.


T4: Why do you think Diane Arbus committed suicide?

In my opinion, Diane Arbus commited suicide because, whatever she had in mind to achieve and record, she realised it was impossible.


T5: Why and how did Larry Clark shoot “Tulsa”?

Larry Clark shot “Tulsa” by being of his subject and because he wanted to record his own life.


T6: Try to explain the concept of “confessional photography”, and what is the “impolite genre”?

“Confessional photography” is all about catching the glimpse of someone’s personality in one photograph. The “impolite genre” is a “nasty thing that no one wants to know about”, such as Larry Clarks album, Tulsa, of his friends taking drugs and having fun.


T7: What will Araki not photograph, and why?

Araki only shoots certain things he wants to remember later.


T8: What is the premise of Postmodernism?

The premise of Postmodernism is that we now live in a culture so saturated with media imagery of how people live that our idea of how we live is made up of that imagery.


The Genius of Photography IV

T1: Why did Garry Winogrand take photographs?

He took photographs to “see what the world looked like, photographed”


T2: Why did “citizens evolve from blurs to solid flesh”?

As technology evolved, short exposures became possible and people moving in the streets ceased to be simply blurred.


T3: What was/is the “much misunderstood theory”?

The decisive moment.


T4: Who was the godfather of street photography in the USA?

Gary Winogrand.


T5: Who was Paul Martin and what did he do?

Paul Martin was a 19th century photographer who took revealing pictures of the English seaside.


T6: Who said “When I was growing up photographers were either nerds or pornographers”?

Photographer Ed Ruscha.


T7: Why does William Eggleston photograph in colour?

William Eggleston photographed in colour for more realistic images.


T8: What is William Eggleston about?

William Eggleston is about “photographing life today”.

The Genius of Photography Part III

T1: What is described as “One of the most familiar concepts in photography”?

This concept is called “the Decisive moment”.


T2: Should you trust a photograph?

“It was probably a huge mistake from the beginning”, according to Philosopher Arthur C. Danto.


T3: What was revolutionary about the Leica in 1925?

The Leica was revolutionary for it’s period because of it’s silent and compact body, enabling photographers to take images that would otherwise have been impossible with view cameras.


T4:  What did George Bernard Shaw say about all the paintings of Christ?

George Bernard Shaw said that he would give all the paintings of Christ for one single snapshot.


T5:  Why were Tony Vaccaros’ negatives destroyed by the army censors?

The negatives were destroyed because they contained images of dead soldiers.


T6: Who was Henryk Ross and what was his job?

Henryk Ross was a polish jew photographer and had the job of documenting the production of goods at a polish nazi ghetto.


T7: Which show was a “sticking plaster for the wounds of the war”, how many people saw it and what “cliché” did it end on?

The show was called “The family of man” and had over 9 million visitors. It concluded with a picture made by W. Eugene  Smith’s of his children walking into the light of his garden.


T8: Why did Joel Meyerowitz photograph ground zero in colour?

Joel Meyerowitz photographed in colour because he didn’t want to keep the event as a tragedy.

The Genius of Photography Part II

T1: What are Typologies?

Typologies are systematic accurate records of people and things.


T2: What was the “Face of the times”?

The “Face of the times” was a selection of portraits published by August Sander in 1929.


T3: Which magazine did Rodchenko design?

Rodchenko designed “USSR in construction”.


T4: What is photo-montage?

Photo-montage was the process of cutting, pasting and retouching photos and artwork together.


T5: Why did Eugene Atget use albumen prints in the 1920’s?

Eugene Atget used albumen prints because he did not know how to use modern techniques.


T6: What is solarisation and how was it discovered?

Solarisation is a photographic process that consists in a short exposure during the print development and was discovered by accident.


T7: What was the relationship between Bernice Abbott and Eugene Atget?

Bernice Abbot was Eugene Atget’s assistant.


T8: Why was Walker Evans fired from the FSA?

Walker Evans was fired because he couldn’t link his own vision with the propaganda display of the FSA.

The Genius of Photography Part I

This term our ITAP lectures consisted of a series of documentaries about both photography and moving-image. At the end of each one we asked to complete several tasks related to each of the documentaries.


T1: What is photography’s “true genius”?

Photography’s “true genius” is it’s ability to show the secret strangeness that lies behind the world of appearances.


T2: Name a proto-photographer.

One of the first proto-photographers was Henry Fox Talbot.


T3: In the 19th century, what term was associated with the daguerreotype?

The daguerreotype was also called a mirror with a memory.


T4: What is the vernacular?

The vernacular is a genre of photography that has other purposes than art (journalistic, medical, scientific, etc).


T5: How do you “Fix the shadows”?

“Fixing the shadows” meant stopping the image from exposing by using a certain chemistry.


T6: What is the “carte de visite”?

“The carte de visite” was a type of photography that meant taking 8 different pictures of a person in rapid sequence that were later used to promote certain businesses throughout the world.


T7: Who was Nadar and why was he so successful?

Nadar was a French-19th century photographer, famous for his authentic and natural portraits of celebrities.


T8: What is pictorialism?

Pictorialism was an artistic current characterised by carefully constructed images that resembled paintings and were against candid photography.