Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by slpark » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:20 pm

The films that I will be focusing on are Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell 2. Blade Runner is a science fiction film that came out in the early 80s. The film takes place in Los Angeles in 2019, and the plot revolves around human-like robots called “replicants” that were made by the Tyrell Corporation. Originally made to help humans, replicants were given a limited lifespan so as to prevent any dangers to real humans. Interestingly, they are given real humans’ memories and use photographs of what they think is their childhood to prove that they are indeed “human.” In this film, the photograph is a mechanism of truth on the surface but is also conversely false, showing how images and their meanings can become distorted. The film shows photography as a way to validate one’s identity and history, a “truth” that people don’t often question, while simultaneously providing commentary on the idea that photography is just a snapshot of a moment with no context and it does not necessarily represent the truth at all.

Ghost in the Shell 2 is a 2004 Japanese anime film that provides a similar commentary to that of Blade Runner. This film is also set in the future, 2032, and is centered around a cyborg corporation called Locus Solus who manufactures robots made for pleasure. When these sex dolls start malfunctioning and killing their owners, an investigation that is heavily based on images is launched. In one of the most pivotal scenes in the movie, the owner of the corporation implants images and memories into the minds of the policemen that are investigating the dolls. This causes the policemen to accept the images that have been implanted into them as reality, while simultaneously questioning their actual realities. Again, the issue of seeing an image and its actual truth is brought up. This scene is another instance of photographs not representing reality. Instead one must investigate the relationship between the object or subject photographed and the image that ends up being produced. This is especially true today, since we now have to ability to (very easily) alter an image to create an entirely different one. One of the most recent examples of this happening can be seen in the famous photo The Kissing Sailor. It turns out that this image is not actually the patriotic and romantic scene that it first appears to be, but a man that is sexually assaulting a women. Both of these films, as well as this example, show the unreliable and selective side of photography and the digital image.

Ghost in the Shell 2 and Blade Runner both demonstrate the implications of photography on a cultural, perceptual, and psychological level. On a perceptual and psychological level, characters in both of the films accept the images to be truths about themselves even though the images are in fact completely false. The characters accept the images as memories and even I had a hard time after a while trying to figure out what the truths were in both movies, particularly in Ghost in the Shell. On a broader, more cultural level, photography has the effect of desensitizing, perpetuating social order (ex: institutions like police, surveillance), and altering the way that all of us perceive reality.

(article: http://cratesandribbons.com/2012/09/30/ ... es-square/)

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Christin Nolasco - Report on Photography in Cinema

Post by aleforae » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:42 pm

Photography is instrumental to any type of film because it affects the emotion, concept, and perception of the viewer through the combined elements of photography. In particular, Blade Runner utilizes photography to create a sort of grungy effect. The overall dark lighting of the film creates a dark atmosphere that emphasizes the dystopian/cyber-punk environment that Blade Runner is set in. However, photographic techniques not only highlight the environment of the film, but also the cultural, perceptual, and psychological aspects of the film. Culture-wise, it is easy to point out that the society of Blade Runner is largely either Caucasian or Chinese. In particular, the camera tends to periodically zoom in on one particular Chinese advert throughout the entire movie. Perception-wise and psychologically, Blade Runner again utilizes the dark lighting to create a dark tone throughout the film which matches with the premise of the movie. It causes most viewers to not desire to live in this type of environment. In addition, periodic close-ups of many of the Replicant characters illustrate their emotions more clearly and cause one to contemplate what really makes someone human. However, a more concrete example of how photography plays an instrumental role in this film would be the use of the Esper machine by Deckard to find a Replicant woman. All he has to do is command the machine to zoom in on certain coordinates of the photo and it will do as he says. This further emphasizes the cyber-punk environment of the film because it clearly illustrates just how dependent people in this society are on technology. This dependence brings up the issue of whether technological expansion, such as A.I. and A.I. interfaces, are right or wrong. One's opinion on this could vary differently according to one's psychological status or the culture they grew up in. Though most of the people in Blade Runner have only ever been raised in a culture that largely despises Replicants (i.e. Deckard), there are also other characters such as Sebastian who are empathetic to Replicants. The reason for this empathy is highlighted periodically throughout scenes which have him tinkering and living with robotic "toys". Another more concrete example would be Rachael's use of photographs to dissuade Deckard from thinking that she is a Replicant. Her reliance on the photos imply a sort of commonly held notion that photos = memories. But photos, especially now, are easily manipulated and causes one to question what is and isn't real. Even if the photos are manipulated, because Rachael thinks she remembers experiencing these moments, does that make them real? It brings up all sorts of notions that will probably never have a true answer.

Another film which incorporates photography is the thriller-horror movie, Insidious. This film is about a boy who can go to the spirit world and is possessed by an evil spirit. The parents hire an exorcist to rid the boy of the spirit and it seems as if he is free at the end of the movie. However, the exorcist takes a photograph of the boy's dad when he seems to be acting strange and sees the evil spirit in the photograph. The dad, much like his son, was able to travel to the spirit world but learned to suppress his memories. However, when the dad sees photographs from his childhood, which his mother hid from him till now, he begins to remember again. This illustrates once more the concept of truth and fiction in photography. Like Deckard, the exorcist uses the photograph to reveal a truth. And like Rachael, the dad connects photographs with memories instantly , regardless of whether he was aware of those memories before that or not. I think such a connection is something that many cultures are now accustomed to in modern times and don't even realize how much of a habit it is. Sometimes, people are even more reliant on their photographs than their memories because they are able to "see" things they may not have noticed before. Perception-wise and psychologically, this film makes one question whether photography is really able to capture the image of supernatural things or not. The fact that there are people who actually believe photographs are capable of such things only cause further speculation, but this further adds to the horrifying content of the film.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema - Sydney Vande Guchte

Post by sydneyvg » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:04 pm

Blow Up was a film made in 1996 and directed by Michelango Antonioni. The film portrays the life of a fashion photographer, Bailey, played by David Hemmings. The film highlights the effect of photography on popular culture during the time. His daytime job of shooting models only allows so much creativity; in the end they are all subject to his orders of how to create beauty in the photograph. As an artist, he however is fascinated by everyday life and strives to find the organic beauty of a scene and situation. Upon encountering a couple while on a stroll though the park, he is captivated by their highly emotional and free interactions. He begins to shoot them under the cover of various foliage and fences, but is eventually discovered by the woman who confronts him and demands the photos. She argues that the park is a public space in which people are free to do whatever they want in peace, but there is definitely more going on behind the peaceful and romantic scene that is immediately apparent to the human eye. Due to the woman’s strong determination to retrieve the photographs, Bailey’s curiosity increases and while developing the pictures, he begins to find mysterious forms amid the beauty. Upon repeated editing of the photos, he realizes that he has actually captured evidence of a murder scene. The photographs divulge the once concealed reality of the subjects in the park.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is about the lives of “ex-lovers” Clementine and Joel, both of whom undergo a medical procedure that enables each of them to forget the other. In order to perform the procedure, the doctors create a “map” of memories about the partner whom the subject desires to be erased. Using objects and photographs they are able to locate the memories in the brain, from most recent to those furthest back into the past, and eliminate them. Clementine is the first to have the procedure done, without Joel’s knowledge. When she no longer recognizes him, he finds himself in shock, confusion, and rage. Once he finds out about her procedure, he decides he must also have it done. Somehow while exploring his past memories and having the doctors probe through and pick out all things related to Clementine, his unconscious realizes that one of the doctor’s assistants has stolen all of his memorabilia- diary entries, objects, and photos alike- to steal his disintegrating identity and make Clementine fall in love with him. While in the process of undergoing the procedure, Joel realizes he is too in love with her to have her erased. His unconscious mind tries to hold onto memories of himself and Clementine, even disguising her in the form of other people in his oldest memories. The film depicts how photography can preserve a memory and serve as reference both to things wanting to be remembered as well as those wanting to be replicated.

In both films, the photography captures instances of beauty that are threatened by circumstances unknown to the photographer at the time- the murder and the stolen identity. Additionally both films also seem to belittle the significance and potential impact photography can have on others until this threat to the beauty is realized. The first movie begins with photography as having artificial and commercial motives, but later conveys the serious impact photography can have on the world as a technology that serves to enhance knowledge in terms of uncovering the murder case. The second movie initially displays photography as a way to preserve happiness and freeze intimate moments between a couple, and then later shows how this same photography can also be used to gain knowledge about the persons captured on the film. Photography seems to initially be depicted as solely used for personal pleasure- for the photographer and the couple- and then expands to display new knowledge that can be used at the advantage of people outside of this personal level.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by kevinalcantar » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:30 pm

The eyes are perhaps the most important part of the human body. In essence, the eyes allow the brain to see and therefore interface with the outside world. The eyes convert the information viewed into mental images .These images go on to become the basis for our memories, influencing our actions, choices and ultimately who we are. However, the eyes are a flawed device. At times, the eyes will miss a particular detail that in turn will affect the memory created of that certain moment in time; creating an incomplete mental memory. With the advent of the photograph, the eye’s shortcomings in capturing an external moment in its entirety seemed like a thing of the past. However, although the photograph provides a literal reproduction of an external scene, without some sort of mental connection to provide context for the image, it too is incomplete. Even then, the context created by memories, fueled by the viewer’s emotions and individual biases, also influences the way in which an image is viewed. This disconnection between photography and memory plays an important part in both in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) and Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000).
In Antonioni’s Blow-Up, the protagonist is a fashion photographer who also takes pictures of random scenes in everyday life. One day, he photographs two lovers in a park. He is later confronted by the angry woman in the picture who demands that he give the photographs he took. Ultimately, it is revealed that he unwittingly photographed a murder and the photographer only becomes aware of what he has just witnessed after examining the photographs in detail by “blowing them up.” Here, we see where the eyes as a camera fail. In psychology, this phenomenon is called change blindness. Change blindness is defined as “failure to observe large changes in the vision field that occur simultaneously with brief disturbances.” The photographer doesn’t realize the change in scene until he goes back and examines the literal reproduction created by the photograph. Only then does he come to understand the full extent of what he witnessed.


In this respect, the photograph is treated as documentation; proof verifying that what one saw was real and indeed did happen. Upon first blowing up the images, the photographer believes that he has accidentally saved someone’s life by his presence at the park. He excited calls his editor to tell him this new account he has constructed both from his memory of the event and this new narrative created from cross referencing these new realities which he observes with each succeeding enlargement of the prints. Upon zooming in further, he realizes that he did not in fact save someone’s life, he saw someone murdered. He confirms this new narrative created by the images by finding the body in the same spot the images placed the body in. When he returns home, the prints and photographs are gone and the body disappears the next morning, leaving no proof but his memories of the events that transpired.
In Memento, the photograph’s use as a memory tool is even more literal and plays an integral part in the narrative. The protagonist goes by the name of Leonard. One night, he and his wife were attacked at home. In the attack, Leonard was critically hurt and begins to suffer from anterograde amnesia. Anterograde amnesia leaves Leonard with the inability to create new memories after the event. As he seeks vengeance in finding one of the attackers, Leonard begins keeping track of his daily activities and people he meets by getting tattoos and keeping an index of Polaroid pictures with the names of people he meets, as well as any relevant information. Leonard literally carries with him his memories in his pocket wherever he goes.


However, these images also prove to be an unreliable source of information and a poor substitute for real memories. It is revealed that Leonard had already killed the man responsible for the attack a year before the events of the film and that the man who helped him (who goes by the name of Teddy) has since been manipulating him into killing other men for profit, all under the pretense of aiding Leonard’s quest for revenge.


At the start of the film which chronologically takes place at the end of the story, Leonard kills Teddy and takes a picture as personal evidence that he has completed his quest. However, at the end of the film which chronologically takes place at the very beginning, it is revealed that because of his amnesia, Leonard realizes that he can’t trust Teddy and writes on his Polaroid “Don’t believe his lies” and thus leads to the events depicted at the beginning of the film. The photographs are meaningless without some sort of memory or socially constructed context to connect them to. It isn’t until Leonard can write someone’s name and why they are relevant to him that the pictures are of any use to him.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by ttapscott » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:39 pm

Photographs have come to represent evidence of reality. We are taught to believe that what we see in photography actually exists and occurred a some point in history. However, with advances in photographic manipulation, such as Photoshop, the maker can take as many liberties with the image as painter with a canvas. Now one feels as if they are holding a relic of past when looking at a printed photograph like the ones printed for 24 Photo. In the past however, before the digital age, those kinds of pictures were common and came to symbolize memory.

In Ridely Scott's 1982 film, Bladerunner, robots designed to be exactly like humans carry around photographs of their past as proof of their supposed memory. However, these "replicants", as they are called, actually have implanted memories created their designer Mr. Tyrell, a genetic engineer and mastermind behind Tyrell Corporation. His latest breed of replicants are supposed to be most like humans with the capacity to develop emotions. Unfortunately for them, however, they have only been given a 4 year lifespan, thus Tyrell gives them memories of their past so they feel as if they are indeed human. They are also provided with photographs of their supposed childhood as proof, like the one Rachel (Deckard's, Harrison Ford, love interest and goodreplicant) carries of her 'mother' and herself. When she shows this to Deckard, however, he is able to relay a memory of hers that no one should know, explaining that it is actually a memory of Tyrell's niece that has been placed in Rachel's brain. In this way the photograph breaks our traditional notions of what a photo should be by becoming part of a lie.

On a lighter note, in Nancy Meyers' 1998 adaptation of The Parent Trap, the photograph acts not only as memory, but as evidence of a connected past. The photograph in question has been torn down the middle, an extremely violent act, as if attempting to destroy a memory. Each twin, played by Lindsay Lohan (before her unfortunate downfall), has one half of this photograph as their only image of the respective parent they had never met: Hallie has a picture of her mother, while Annie, her father. The torn photograph represents a nasty divorce and subsequently broken family. When the twins finally reunite at summer camp, however the photograph acts as a final connection. In the end of the film they recreate the image including the entire family reunited. This photo remains intact. It is, in fact, the subject of the final shot of the film symbolizing a bright future for the family.

These two films are extremely different in almost every way, however they both deal with the notion of photography as truthful representations of the path. Bladerunner seeks to subvert that idea when the photograph only perpetuates a delusion of a non-human. While in The Parent Trap each child not only regards their half of the photo as accurate, but they grow to depend on that image as their only evidence of their parent's existence. The photograph is a connection to the past and ultimately a projection of the future.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by samibohn » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:42 pm

"Blow Up" and "Hard Candy"

The film "Blow Up" by Antonioni follows a day in the life of a successful photographer who photographs fashion and is also working on a book project. He photographs several women and treats them callously, seeing them only as props or simple minded children that he can push around. Two aspiring models pursue him throughout the film, trying to convince him to photograph them, and though he encourages them to frolic naked in his studio, he brushes them off. He also photographs a couple in the park without their permission, and when the woman protests and demands the photos, he promises to give them to her, always "later" without ever going through with it. He notices something in these photographs that resembles a body and a mysterious, murderous figure, and goes back to the park and finds the body. When he visits a second time, the body is gone.

"Hard Candy", directed by David Slade, is also about a photographer. 32 year old Jeff Kohlver chats online with a 14 year old girl, Haylie Stark, and they meet at a cafe. Haylie goes home with Jeff, she makes them some drinks, and then offers to model for him. As he starts taking pictures, Jeff becomes disoriented and passes out. He wakes up tied to a wheelchair, and is confronted by Haylie, who has drugged him and tied him up because she knows he is a pedophile. She finds a picture of a missing local girl in his house, and says she's going to castrate him, even setting up video camera so that he can watch the procedure. He escapes and finds out that the castration was faked, but she stuns him and ties him up again. This time when he awakes, he has a noose around his neck, and Haylie says that he must commit suicide. If he commits suicide, she will leave a suicide note and hide the evidence of his misdeeds. If she has to kick the chair out from under him, then everyone will know the truth, first of all his girlfriend who is on the way over to the house. He jumps off the chair but Haylie goes without taking the evidence, leaving his body behind.

One immediate similarity between the two films is the importance of the crucial photograph in each, which are proof of murder. The photograph in "Blow Up" fascinates the photographer and he has to go back to look for the body and satisfy his curiosity. In "Hard Candy", when Haylie finds the photograph of the missing girl in Jeff's house she knows that he is the murderer and gives herself free reign to torture and punish him. Photography is important evidence of truth and reality in both films.

In "Blow Up", the photographer has a position of power of those that he photographs. He can take any picture he wants at any time, whether or not he has permission. His subjects and their feelings or desires are much less important than his photography itself. This is a kind of stereotyping that exists about photographers, particularly male photographers that photograph women. The photographer Jeff in "Hard Candy" is similar in that he also likes to photograph women. His walls are covered in pictures of them, and he also has this kind of power over them, to seduce them with the camera. He has to take a picture of the girl he murders as a trophy, and even though it is dangerous evidence, he holds onto it and hides it in his house. The great thing about this film is that Haylie turns the tables on him and takes his power away, punishing him for his crimes.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by andysantoyo » Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:59 pm

Photography plays a crucial role in Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up, and Christopher Nolan's Memento. All of the protagonists from these three films rely on photographs to uncover the truth to their investigations. Deckard is a retired Blade Runner who is forced to come back for one last mission in “retiring” three replicants, who are engineered robots that resemble humans in every way, except in their lifespan. These replicants, which are implanted with memories from other humans, possess photographs from their “life.” These replicants cling onto their photographs as a form to feel human, since they have a desire to live too despite finding the reality that their memories are just lies. After Deckard questions Rachel to prove whether she is human or a replicant, but he finds out that it takes more than the standard thirty questions to reveal that she is a robot. As a result, later on in the film she goes to Deckard's house with photographs from her childhood, but he disagrees with her. In telling her the actual truth, which upsets her, she leaves the photograph in his apartment which he then uses to find more subjects deep within the photograph by blowing up the photograph in a photo-scanner. This leads his investigation to finding the replicants he has been ordered to eliminate.

In Blow Up, the famous photographer Bailey, who casually walks through a park one day in his boredom, captures a couple on film to which he later discovers that he captured a plot to murder was about to happen. Thanks to the woman who demanded the pictures taken of her he grows suspicious. He carefully examines the pictures once he has developed them and sees that he has captured the murder. With his keen sight and a magnifier he notices there was a man with a gun. He blows up the picture, much like Deckard does in Blade Runner, to develope a bigger and grainier photograph of the man who was murdered at the park. He was not purposessly aware of the situation, but he became a witness to a murder, and he besomes more interested in uncovering the murder. Unfortunately his studio is later raided, his photgraphs all being taken away. Bailey's investigation unfortunately doesn't go too well despite his attempts to even get his friend to witness the body he has found at the park, which was removed before he can take another picture.

The film Memento ties into these other two films because the protagonists are all detectives uncovering the truth. Leonard Shelby is unfortunate from the start in that he is incapacitated by his condition. He cannot make any new memories from an accident in which two junkies entered his house and raped his wife; in attempt to save her, he gets hurt which leaves him with short term memory. He tries to find his wife's killer and to aid him in his search he takes photos with his polaroid camera. In this film though you can't trust photographs or facts that he has taken before the timeline of the film. He even “records” his facts by getting tattoos on his body, but his logic becomes flawed because he doesn't remember where or when he got them. He says that memory is flawed and he can only rely on facts, but the facts can also be manipulated by others, and he would be helpless since he is bound to forget what he doesn't photograph or tattoo. His life is a simple routine, however he doesn't realize that he may have in fact already killed his John G. but erased it in order to give himself someone else to chase.

The photographs in these films become more than just keepsakes, they aid and uncover the truth about a passing event. Photography is powerful in that it more than just makes a record of an event or place, but it also records the truth. Whatever hidden meaning or person in the photograph is up to the viewer to uncover and interpret. One cannot always rely on memory since it can be distorted, as Leonard mentions, but with photography it can be aided. Even if the replicants in Blade Runner had their memories implanted, they can still feel the emotion of the picture and it goes to show that photography is a great tool to capture the essence of the moment or subject; however even for them they are made to believe that the subject in the photographs relate to their memories. Photography then becomes a dual tool for manipulating or recording the truth.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by jacobmiller » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:43 am

Pictures in Motion Pictures
Since the inception of the photograph, photography has been an important part of society. Many films have incorporated photography as a key component. Blade Runner and Memento are two movies that utilize photography at a cultural, perceptual and psychological level.
In Blade Runner, photographs are used to enhance artificial memories implanted in robotic human analogs. One of the analogs is convinced that she is human and presents the main character with a photograph from her childhood as proof that she is in fact human. The main function of photographs in this film is on a psychological level. However, the main character also analyzes a photo in the film and zooms in to detail well beyond our current capabilities. This scene serves a perceptual function for the viewer because it shows how much technology improved between now and the time of the films setting.
Another movie with photography as a key ingredient is Memento. In this film the main character cannot formulate new memories. His disorder is the result of an altercation during which his wife was raped. In order to stay on track with his goal, to kill the man who caused his troubles, he takes notes and photographs. These notes and photographs fill in as physical memories. The photographs he takes are taken with a Polaroid camera, which was a cultural icon in its day. However the main purposes of the photographs are on a perceptual and psychological level. For the main character the photographs are clearly of psychological significance but for the viewer they also serve a strong perceptual purpose. The filmmaker attempted to simulate the experience of failing to form new memories by playing the scenes in reverse order. That way, each time a new scene starts the viewer is unaware of what happened to lead to that scene. Whenever the character takes out a photo the viewer has not yet seen where the photo comes from, which awards the perception of the characters memory incapability.
Two films in which photography plays an instrumental function are Blade Runner and Memento. Both of these earned loyal followings and will remain of interest for years to come. Photography has played a role in many films and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by sidrockafello » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:46 am

Sid Miramontes
Art 130
Prof. Legrady
October 7, 2012
Photography in Cinema
As time goes by and photography evolves into motion pictures, so does the level of skill and intellect. What many do not realize is that photographs represent more than a trivial snapshot on facebook, it is a summation of creativity and science. Photography as an art expresses a personal vision, as a science, it relies on technology. This is not unique to photograpy as music, painting, dance or any other kind of creative expression has not only an artistic side but a technical aspect as well. In the movies “Bladerunner” and “Back to the Future” photography plays a pivotal role in the course of action the main character is going to take.
In the feature film Bladerunner, this image represents the advancement of photography and art within that fictional world. Surprisingly few new forms of art have been invented in the course of recorded history, including such recent inventions like multi-media.
In this instance, Bladerunner Harrison Ford, a Human Replica Detective, is sent to capture and kill four escaped androids from the off world planets. To do this he examines stacks of evidence and photographs looking for a lead in the case to the whereabouts of these replicants. However, the most amazing aspect is how he finds the image that is displayed above. What you are looking at is an image taken from another image through the advanced zooming capabilities that is present in this fictional world. What Harrison Ford did in this scene was look at a picture where someone was known to be killed; however they cannot be seen by the naked eye in this image. With that being said, he glances over the picture but is struck by a super small mirror in the background. He proceeds to zoom into the picture, and anyone who has done Polaroid pictures would know that zooming far into a picture will only show you pigment of color, not more of the image within the image that you cannot see. What the movie Bladerunner is suggesting is, the capabilities of photography in the future will be able to zoom into pictures, back out, look around corners, and if need be take a tour of the house to see what is behind the door that is off to the left. I feel like the artist who envisioned this scene must have loved Looney Tunes. Why? Because in Looney Tunes they had the ability to jump into a painting and disappear into the scenery; well, what if you were able to do that with a computer and use it to find clues hidden around the corners in the photo? Then I imagine you would conceive of the idea to perhaps integrate it into a gritty futuristic film.
Not too unlike Bladerunner, Back to the Future presents its own conundrum in the form of a photo. The premise of this film is based around a Marty Mcfly, a High School slacker, and a brilliant but crazy scientist Dr. Brown. These two characters embark on a time traveling adventure that takes them to November of 1966 where Marty Mcfly’s parents are to meet for the first time. This presents a challenge because by traveling to the past they have already changed the course of the future. Throughout the film they find themselves trying to fix the mistakes they have made in the past to assure that the future is not altered in a negative fashion. The key to their success in the movie is measured by a photograph. This photograph represents the time and emotional connection the main character had to his family in the photo. As the film moves on and trouble ensues, Marty’s family members slowly start disappearing from the photo in the order of oldest to youngest, as a result of altering with time Marty may have undone his future. A photo like this speaks to a generation of families who all have a family album with their kids in it, however none would expect such a wild adventure could be had from simply looking at a photo. As time moves on and technology rises we realize the deep psychological connections we have with a picture on a photo. In some sense not the paper itself but the lines and images that represent something to us as humans. It is from this deep emotional response that we are able to convey a vision through the use of using photographs to tell a story and make connections with other humans.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by dslachtman » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:19 am

Both Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction use photography to explore the characters’ humanity or lack thereof in the dark, shallow world in which they live.

Blade Runner uses high contrasted, dark scenes to show the struggle between natural darkness and artificial light, which is representative of the battle between humans and replicants. The dark images give the impression of a world that is void of natural life, so much so that humans have been forced to create artificial light, animals and humans. The imagery is mostly dark with artificial lights that barely light up the scene, which is a stark reminder that artificial light cannot substitute for nature.

The imagery shows the attempt of the replicants to be humane by showing close ups of their faces and eyes which are usually strictly human features. Following their lips, faces and eyes the viewer gets a sense that these are not actually humans and therefore the humanity sought is not found. Even the highly contrasted shots of the android character Rachael make her look like she is entirely convinced of her own humanity even though we as an audience are not.
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Similarly, Pulp Fiction uses close up face shots and long dialogues that focus on one or two characters to show humanity in people that normally would be thought to have very little of it, gangsters. For example, the scene in the cab after Butch kills his opponent shows many closeups of his face in low light. As the curious cab driver displays her interest in the murder, Butch shows lack of true remorse and emotion for the crime he just committed. The photography contrasts the cab driver’s expressive, well lit face with Butch’s vaguely uninterested, low lit face. His highly contrasted face is void of humane expression, displaying his rugged indifference to the events that just took place.

However, later in the film when Butch’s girlfriend forgets to bring his father’s watch is when you see his true humanity. The film flashes back to when Butch’s father’s friend is telling him the origin of his watch. The dialogue between the late father’s best friend from the war and Butch as a small boy show the true impact that the small object has had on Butch’s life. Once again, the dialogue is sprinkled with facial closeups and shots of eyes that show emotion and humanity. The movie then flashes back to Butch having a mental breakdown, and ultimately risking his life to get the watch back from his home. Pulp Fiction uses facial closeups and high contrasting images to show humanity and lack thereof.
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