Widescreen Black & White Movies

I don’t use Facebook to follow my cousin who had a great barbecue yesterday. I follow groups where people are fun or inspiring.

In a group about movies today I found a great question :

“Widescreen Black & White Movies?”

For a cinema lover it means something, because black & white movies are NOT widescreen. Silent movies and anything before 1940s are black and white and Cinemascope began in the 1950s.

Let’s make is simple : old movies are in 1.33 format, 4/3, the shape of old TVs.

We could study… recent films shot in 4/3, like on this page : https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/lists/10-great-modern-films-shot-43-academy-ratio – like :

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But I chose the other option for my article, Widescreen Movies (the modern format) shot in black & white.

This means something. The format is modern but the director chose “no color”. It’s often absolutely gorgeous – I don’t really know why.

What did we find?

Hud, Manhattan, Lola, Jules & Jim, La Dolce Vita, The Innocents, The Hidden Fortress, Andrei Rublev, L’Avventura

You can Google it to find pages like : http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/20-black-and-white-films-with-the-most-beautiful-widescreen-composition/

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Well, it’s a funny interesting way to explore cinema with your lover.

The structure/pattern here is cool :

Where else do we find this mix : something new (widescreen) with something old (black & white)? What does it bring?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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…and few droplets in a cold spring morning

It’s a blog about tools for the mind, with rushes, about management, or poetry, or writers, musicians. These days it’s about photography, you noticed?

After a bad night of insomnia, I walked for half an hour under the rain with my cam. Caught droplets. Had fun with colors and points of view. Here are the droplets :

 

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Boring Bokeh

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What’s bokeh? I ask Wiki :

It is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.

Look at the “blurry magic” behind the girls, pleasing your eyes :

 

Google it and you’ll find plenty. I’m the first to use it, because it’s easy, it underlines textures, it gives depth, etc. Here are four strips I made from my own pics. It’s an aperture game : Little blur on the wife portrait. A big blur on branches. A way to soften clouds, or to shine the little star :

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Like HDR, this effect became rapidly a dogmatic and systematic feature for portraits. “Oh I bought a new cam look at this splendid bokehhh”. There’s even a fake bokeh on smartphone now!

It’s beautiful, but I always wonder about cattleness. I wonder. And I immediately want to do the contrary. Maxing the aperture to keep everything sharp (1) or making everything blurry (2). Just to see. So there!

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The tool is easy to catch and put in your toolbox : What is it you do because it’s cool and everybody does it? What if you DON’T, just to see what happens?

 

Thanks for reading!

Snakeness

One cool thing with English is the way you add “-ness” after every word. I knew kindness and quietness, but I was amazed by the existence of “togetherness”, and today I wonder about what’s better : animality or animalness?

We don’t have this in French, and we say “the fact of being together” for “togetherness”.

A few days ago I took this picture of a snake, but I didn’t get the snake (where’s the head, the tail?), but I surely got its snakeness!

“The quality of being a snake”, or a set of qualities? An energy, a texture…

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Sometimes you do it on purpose, but sometimes it’s an accident. For example, with this bud, I caught a lizardness, no?

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Then I wondered about what makes a picture :

Do you want to show a thing, or it’s thingness?

 

What is it we catch? How to do it? What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 2/2

It’s the same pattern for photographers.

First, this little thing. The world of Internet is full of “gorgeous” photos, like this sunset and this glass ball. But you won’t find anything like this in the world of good photographers.

 

Open a book of masters of color photography (Shore, Eggleston, Herzog, Leiter…). This is NOT what they do. The gorgeousness is elsewhere than in the result of pushing cursors (very colored, very sharp, big bokeh, etc).

It can puzzle you, or make you feel the mood of a place, or anything.

I know that it becomes the philosophical problem of “Beauty”, but in this article I extract the comparison.

On the left is a Venus, she’s perfect, like in porcelain, on the sea, doing an arty movement with her hand, and little angels are gazouilling around. It’s pompier, mythical, boring. On the right is Olympia, she’s a whore, she watches you (you’re the client). Both come from the same time.

 

Now take a “splendid” pool (with a big logo on the bottom, which is a sign of bad sign), and then Stephen Shore’s pool. Which one is a good picture?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

“Great” photography & Pompier painters, part 1/2

Ce qui est trop parfait met Dieu en colère
“What is too perfect makes God angry”

 

Academic Art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. In the 19th Century, the French called it “l’art pompier”, especially historical or allegorical ones. It derives from the helmets with horse-hair tails, worn at the time by French firemen, which are similar to the Attic helmet often worn in such works by allegorical personifications, classical warriors, or Napoleonic cavalry. It also suggests pompeux (“pompous”).

Pompier art was seen by those who used the term as the epitome of the values of the bourgeoisie, and as insincere and overblown.

(Thank you, Wikipedia)

These painters (like Gérôme or Bouguereau) had a splendid technique, but they stayed in History, in this Pompier catégory : boring and perfectly made.

 

Now I admit there’s a guilty pleasure watching these guys’s works. But this is NOT what you want to study for months, right? Which I did with Manet…

There’s a pattern here : an annoying dance between “It’s splendidly made” and “It’s nowhere inventing here”, no emotion, just technique…

If we agree with the core of Arts (“What’s new here?”) – and that there’s nothing new here – we can watch this pattern/structure in other places, like photography. This will be the part 2!

Thanks for reading!