British artist Tacita Dean alludes to a quality about film that we have all but forgotten in our digitised world, namely, the artistic necessity of gestation. The immediacy that digital affords the creative process has diminished the value of an ‘interval of time’ between start and finish; where mistakes can be made, flaws are seen and incorporated, and the chemistry allowed to surprise. Digital crushes time by being efficient and economical. Digital leaves nothing to chance by banishing the ‘not knowing’ part of creativity that’s an essential ingredient of image making. Our so-called modern world demands clarity, conviction, conciseness, confidence and cost control – digital delivers all these digital left brain qualities. Ambiguity and doubt are the domain of the analog right brain – and that is where interesting things are made. Nuance.
My first foray into filmmaking. Shot with a Canon PowerShot G9 and edited with Adobe Premier Pro, the short film follows the trials and tribulations of my young son, Aidan, as he tries to master the art of making noise. I decided to shoot in B&W to give the proceedings a documentary feel, reminiscent of the “Cinéma vérité” style of filmmaking. A bit ropey around the edges – especially the sound quality – but hopefully it’s still worth a viewing.
Again – not strictly a post about photography, but if you have been following my recent posts concerning the emerging digital landscape and its ramifications for creative and artistic expression, you will know it’s a subject I feel very passionate about. The trailer above is for a documentary about Google’s ambitious plan to scan and document every book, ever written – and ignore copyright in the process. This has implications for all intellectual property: including photography. Who owns the future? Will I be prosecuted by Google for copyright infringement by using the word “future©” in a sentence? Who owns what and why? We are on the cusp of a new digital civilisation where intellectual copyright means jack shit. Monsanto and Big Pharma are busily patenting the very stuff of life itself (DNA) and artists are being informed they do not own their own thoughts or creations – it’s all just derivative thinking from past masters. Time to reassess our priorities methinks; if it’s not already too late.
I’ve never had the opportunity to work with Irish photographer and filmmaker Conor Masterson – but I’d like to. Based in London since 1995, Conor’s talented and accomplished eye for producing polished and intriguing photographic work has been recognised and awarded by the Association of Photographers and has led to photography commissions for award-winning ad campaigns for Guinness, Coca-Cola and The Royal Navy. I first noticed Conor’s work through his portrait pieces of Glen Hansard – lead vocalist of Irish band The Frames. What I particularly like about Conor’s approach to portraiture is his ability to capture a sense of spontaneity and playfulness in his subjects, while still maintaining a strict adherence to the discipline and technicalities of producing quality photography. By no means easy. In recent years, Conor has used his well-honed photographic skills to successfully move into film making and cinematography. His natural abilities for building a visual narrative combined with his compelling photography style have culminated in him directing a full-length documentary film about the The Frames. The film celebrates the band being a collective of gifted musicians, who, over a 20 year period, have supported each other and created music together. Titled ‘The Frames In The Deep Shade’, it was shot in beautiful black and white and in an experimental style that steers clear of all the ‘rock documentary’ clichés. The film follows the band over an 18 month period and is intercut with spectacular concert footage and intimate interviews with band members on several different dates and at varied events. The final film received its premiere, to critical acclaim, at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival. A trailer for the film is posted below. I encourage you to visit Conor’s web site and discover the depth and diversity of his talent.
Link to portfolio: http://www.conormasterson.com/
More portrait work from Conor.
Belgium might not be world-renowned for spectacular landscapes – but it has a magical charm all of its own. Like its people and culture, there is a strength and depth to the topology that might not be immediately obvious. The more you look – the more you see – the more you like what you see. I choose the music of the 19th century French composer Erik Satie to accompany the film. Though not Belgian – the wistful melancholy of his music evokes the rhythms of Belgium – beautiful yet unobtrusive.