Monday, May 14, 2012

Old Film With Modern Message

I received this film bundled with some other footage I acquired recently.  I can find no record of this episode, but it was part of the Screen Magazine series produced by the war department in for distribution the troops.  The film a tribute to the writer and journalist Ernie Pyle, who volunteered as a reporter during the Second World War.  This film must have been produced shortly after Pyle was killed in action in 1945, as the narrator suggests the war was still going on.  I was really taken by this film.  The photography is beautiful, the people appear vivid and natural, and the words and theme are in keeping with Pyle’s personal and compassionate writing about people.  Above all, I thought a forgotten 1945 film that promotes diversity was worth showing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

“We Drove All Night Until We Reached 1930”

Growing up, we never had a color TV in our house. For most of those years, our set was a small portable early 1960s model with a 10-inch screen. The reception was often so distorted that even when we weren’t watching Star Trek, everyone on TV looked as though they were going through a transporter. Still, for some reason I thought our set was in color. Despite my father’s earnest explanations, and even my own witnessing of a color TV once at my grandparents, I still believed that the image on our little TV was true to life. Eventually I figured out the difference, especially when I began shooting and editing super8 movies. But black and white remained my photographic view. In fact, I didn’t fully embrace color photography until the prolific instantaneousness of digital photography finally gave me the crash course I needed. After 10 years of color work, returning to black and white seems more natural than ever – like the fresh perspective of a traveler coming home. My friend and photographer John Huseby introduced me to shooting with lens filters, which have added a new creative layer. It’s like color without color. True color is beautiful, but it’s complicated. Color can open your eyes, but it can blind you. There’s a timeless essence to black and white that appeals to me; like this photo, taken at a vista along Route 253 in Mendocino County.