Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by ashleyf » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:37 pm

Blow up by Michelangelo Antonioni, is a movie from 1966 which follows a photographer who believes he may have witnessed a murder. The main character, takes professional photos of models but winds up taking pictures of people in the park enjoying themselves When he goes to develop the pictures he notices a shadowy figure which he later learned that it was a dead body. Upon discovering the body, a surge of energy goes through him and he is bouncing off the walls trying to find more clues. Photography has a main role in this film because its the basis of finding this body which potentially would have not been found if it weren't for him. The photographer started looking through other pictures for more clues about the murder. The photos that the photographer took helped piece together clues that led him to the body that was still in the park when he first visited. Without the spontaneous visit he would have not known.

In the movie The Parent Trap written by Nancy Meyers’ in 1998 is about two twins who got separated by their parents early in their life. The two girls reunite at a summer camp where they find out that they are related. Each girl has a picture which turns to be a whole picture of their parents. The photograph is essential to the story because it brings the two girls together in a way that helps them figure out their past and who their other parent is. Also helps them learn about each other and where they have been. Without them being in the summer camp, or finding out about the half pictures that each other has they wouldn’t have gotten the chance to meet each other or figure out who their other respective parents were. The photo bridged the gaps that were missing and brought them together for the future.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by juliacurtis » Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:11 pm

When two people look at a scene in real life, they might see two different things. Similarly, a photo might reveal two distinct messages depending on what the focus is on. Even a photograph can capture the complexity of the moment it visually documents. Photography, freezing moments in time, enables one to revisit schemes from the past. Often times, too much going on or too little awareness, narrows the amount we absorb from a moment in time. Two films demonstrating the ability of a photograph to capture a moment from the past are Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) and Christopher Nolan's Memento (2000). Using two unique approaches, photography functions in the two films at the psychological, perceptual and cultural level, suggesting the multiple layers of reality embedded in each moment and captured in each photo.

David Hemmings plays Thomas, a mod London photographer, in the film Blow-Up. Living a successful and comfortable life, photographing high fashion women, Thomas one day, driving around, decides to pull over and go take some photos of a park he sees nestled away in the landscape. Originally describing them as peaceful, the photos are of a couple embracing each other off in the distance of the park and off the park itself. As he was leaving though, the woman chased after him asking for the film back and he snapped a shot of her. Later she comes by asking for the film but he gives her a different roll of film. After she has gone, he begins analyzing the film and printing certain shots. Hanging them all around his apartment he noticed something off about some of the photographs. He quickly becomes consumed by the photos. Taking a photo of a photo he zooms in on what seems to be evidence of murder. A figure holding a gun in the bushes beyond the fence at the edge of the park and a body laying in the grass beyond some low hanging tree leaves. Just as quickly as it all occurred though, Thomas returns to his studio the next time and the prints and film were gone. A moment he never thought happened, existing only to him from his photos, now gone again forever. He returns to the park and finds the body is gone and he is left to question what is real as a group of mime's play tennis.

In Memento, Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pierce, has suffered a traumatic experience and is incapable of forming any new memories since the accident. The movie moves backwards in time through a defining period of Leonard's search for John G., the man who raped and murdered his wife. Since he can't remember anything though, he takes Polaroids of people and places and leaves notes to himself for when he knows he will no longer remember. Also, he gets tattoos of important facts and sayings that are crucial to his future and can't risk forgetting for the rest of his life. At the start of the film, notes on a Polaroid of Leonard's friend tell him that he is the John G. he has been looking for and kills him. Each scene contains the events that led to the Polaroids, tattoos, and notes used in the previous scene, providing insight into what we just saw but also setting the stage for more needed explanation. Without the polaroids and notes, Leonard would not be able to live; to himself, he believes he has constructed the perfect system for living with his condition. Leonard doesn't know how long it's been since the accident, awaking with a blank slate each time. But we see how he uses photography, the ability to capture a moment in time, something we unknowingly do all the time and require to live, to remember where he lives, the people he meets and things he does. In the end though, we are taken back to the scene where Leonard discovered the drivers license I.D. of John G., his John G.. His friend John G. tries to reason with him that he has already found the man but doesn't remember and that he will just continue to hunt John G's for the rest of his life, and Leonard decides that he will make his friend John G. "his" John G., and writ his license ID down as fact 6. The photos and notes allowed Leonard to live, but they were unable to provide what really happened in the past as its frozen in time and viewed in the present.

In both these films, photographs serve as the sole representation of events from the past in the present. Through their function we see the ability of a photo to freeze a moment in time but it's inability to really save the complexities of the scene it has captured. At the cultural level we see the type of camera and method of exposure sharply contrasted in the two films. Both reflect the time period during which each film takes places, but also reveals the two very different natures photography plays in the two characters lives. At the perceptual level, we see how photos can be revealing and changing of perception. In Blow-Up Thomas becomes witness to a murder through photos he was taking of a couple and a park. Peaceful turns to criminal. Then in Memento, without any memories, Leonard manipulates his present by leaving false notes. Even though the photo captures that split second, the moment becomes lost. Throughout the entirety of both films photos function on the psychological level. Both suggest the unique ability to snapshot time and the possibilities of what doing so can take shape in. Photograohy functions at the psychological level uniquely as well. The progression of pictures analyzed by Thomas, from film to original prints to zoomed enhancements allows us to see the engine sparked by what he sees in the photos. Leonard's constant referencing of photos reminds viewers that his character has nothing but snapshots of time to provide an account of the past. Together these two films give viewers two contexts which consider the complex and intertwining roles photography and photos play.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by orourkeamber » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:11 pm

Amber O’Rourke
The 1966 film Blow-up uses photographs in order to illustrate the way photography helps viewers to “see” what otherwise might go unnoticed. The main character takes a photo of what he thinks is only a couple in the park but later upon closer inspection of the photo finds more. As he notices the oddities of the photo he decides to blow up it up to get a closer look (something we cannot do using our own two eyes). Based on the magnification of the photo he comes to realize that there was a man with a gun hiding in the bushes.
At first he concludes that he has prevented a murder from taking place. It is not until later in the film that Thomas finds another odd blur in his photo
again he uses his enlarger to allow himself a closer look. What he sees is a dead body lying amongst the trees. It is the technology of the camera that records and allows us to see what is over looked. This theme is reiterated several times through different conversations that Tomas has with another charater throughout the film. At one point in the film Thomas is telling a friend about his findings and the friend responds by asking: “How did it happen”, Thomas replies by saying “I don’t know, I didn’t see” This is an important remark because I believe it puts emphasis on the fact that he didn’t “see” anything, it was the camera that recorded the shooter and body, only after the image was enlarged several times was Thomas clearly able to view those details in the photo. Later in the film Thomas is once again speaking to his friend about the dead man, this time they are at a party and the friend asks again: “What did you see in the park?” This time Thomas replies with a simple “Nothing.” once again drawing attention to the fact that he did not “see” anything.
Though very different in story line the 1997 film Photographing Fairies has much in common with Blow-Up. The main character Charles Castel is a photographer as well as a master of photo manipulation during the early 1900’s. After the war ends Charles makes his living photographing families of dead soldiers and superimposing the image of the deceased into the portrait. Early in the film Charles is approached by the character of Beatrice Templeton who claims to have taken a photo of her two daughters playing with fairies. Upon enlarging the image he finds that the blurred image does indeed seem to be in the shape of a fairy. This is enough confirmation for Beatrice, but Charles, being ever the skeptic, blames it on a smudge on the lens or perhaps a glair in the light. It is not until later that Charles sees a glow in the little girl’s eye. Again he further enlarges the photo and finds the same image reflected in her eye, “There really was something in her hand…something moving too fast for the shutter speed.” This relates again to Blow-Up’s theme of the camera being able to catch things that we cannot see with our own eyes. Charles visits Beatrice in her town seeking more information about what he had found in the photos.
He comes to find out that the children have been eating a flower with hallucinogenic properties. When ingested the flower slows down time, and allows one to see things that would otherwise move to fast for the naked eye (much like a camera can catch a single moment of swift movement). It is then in the hallucinating state of what the girls call “slow time” that the quickly moving fairies can be seen.
Blow-up and Photographing Fairies are fantastic examples of the way in which the development of photography has allowed us to “see.” Because of it we are able to expand our knowledge of movement; we can freeze moments in time (moving or still) in order to more closely inspect them and analyze them. Photography allows us to spend time truly “looking” and through the magnification process we are able to “look closer” if need be.
PS. Upon looking for images to include in my report I came across this one Thomas driving his car, it was interesting that spotted in the still was a crew member’s reflection. Yet another example of something that might go unnoticed had we not had the ability to freeze time through photography (or in this case a film still)[attachment]2.jpg[/attachment]

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by lauren_hughes » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:27 pm

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “Blow-Up” the concept of reality is expressed through photography. Like the human eye, photography not only allows use to perceive and participate in the world around us, but can transform the lines between reality and fantasy. In modern society, we begin to lose sight and our connectivity to the real world through the constant transformation of appearances and masqueraded identities.
In this film, our reality is expressed through Antonioni's camera. The main character (David Hemmings) represents a blur between reality and fantasy through the mode of photography. Capturing a murder on camera, Hemmings becomes the only witness to this crime. The photographic evidence allows the event to be real, but its 3rd person narrative disallows any sympathy or guilt to accompany the crime. In a way, it never happened. We lose sight of what was real.
Antonioni uses the camera as a storyteller. Like memories, photographs allow information to be expressed from person to person. It allows for meaning to be constructed from the event yet creates a disassociated essence at the same time.
In the movie “One Hour Photo” we see a similar theme expressed. The main character Sy Parrish (Robin Williams) works at a photo department and becomes infatuated with the lives of a family he observes through photographs. He begins to fantasize and believe he is a part of this family, constantly viewing their daily lives through photographs he associates and records their memories as if they were his own. His inability to decipher reality from fantasy coincides with that of Antonioni’s film. Both characters are witness to events in photographs, but the photographs themselves disallow any sense of reality to anchor.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by aimeejenkins » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:47 pm

Aimee Jenkins Essay #2
Art 130

Images have the capacity to create, interfere, and trouble the memories we hold as individual humans. Photographs, specifically, serve as recollections retained in our minds that affect us in numerous ways. Such photographs play a significant role in Ridley Scott’s science fiction film, "Blade Runner.” This director utilizes the camera as a technology of memory, a mechanism through which one can construct the past and situate that pas in modern times.

In 1982, Ridley Scott filmed the sci-fi thriller “Blade Runner.” Harrison Ford starred as Rick Deckard, an investigator sent on a quest to track unmerciful “replicants,” the manufactured products of Dr. Eldon Tyrell. In attempt to take over the world, Tyrell genetically engineers these advanced sub humans. However, to their disadvantage Tyrell maintains complete control over their lives and only grants them a maximum life span of four years. In the film, photographs serve as the source of Tyrell’s power. The "Dr. Tyrell" shows each one of the replicants images, evidence to their pre-supposed histories. These photos, he claims, provide the links to their non-existent pre-programmed pasts. They supply the replicants with material evidence to statements Tyrell claims true.

For instance, Rachael, one out of the four replicants, believed Tyrell was her uncle, simply because he showed her photographs that validated her existence. The photographs served as imprints of the replicant's memory and defined each of their identities. Toward the climax, the replicant’s begin to develop their own personal consciousnesses in which their memories, emotions, and desires create awareness. Deckard, in attempt to save humanity, uses Tyrell’s tools against him. With Deckard, they realize their memories are only a product of material photographs. He leads Tyrell's own creation to understand their true origins and ultimate destinies. Survival, identity, and growth become significant to individuals as they begin to uncover the hidden secrets of their pasts.

Photographs can be both manufactured memories and expressions of our desires to remember the past. As objects, photographs literally give us something to hold on to. They show us what we remember, often meaning something we want to remember, something we don’t want to forget. However, movies such as “The Hangover” filmed in 2009 emphasize what the main protagonists have already forgot in a drunken stupor. Only a few days before the grand wedding, four young men go to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend’s bachelor party. Unfortunately, for the groomsmen, the mischievous brother-in-law spikes each of their drinks with “Rufilin (a.k.a. the date rape drug)"during the first night of the trip. They forget everything that night and wake up missing the best man. Toward the end of the film they find a camera, revealing before their eyes are the photos taken throughout the night they had no recollection of taking. Like “Blade Runner,” these pictures reveal information about each character's significant past. Whether one lets that information dictate their life in the future beats me. I look at it like this; we can either accept the past and progress, or deny the past and never learn. It's up to us to believe in what we see or don't see.


Sources: http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/
Last edited by aimeejenkins on Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by aleung » Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:05 am

Blow-Up is about a highly sought-after studio fashion photographer, Thomas, who seems to feel that his life is empty and superficial. He has many models fawning over him but he shows no interest. He will soon be releasing a book of photographs, all of which are uninspired photos of the poor, sick, and dying. One day he takes a stroll in the park and takes a series of shots he hopes will be a nice epilogue to his collection, but the pictures are not what they seem. What were supposed to be pictures of a happy couple were instead pictures of a murder. This movie shows that there is always more to a photograph than it seems. A picture speaks a thousand words. A photograph can capture what the eye missed or does not see. Thomas doesn't see the dead body in the photograph until he zooms in. This movie also shows that photography can be superficial as models only want their picture taken and would do anything for it.

In the movie Up, Mr. Fredrickson who was once a lively happy boy has become a grumpy old man after the passing of his wife Ellie. Him and Ellie have dreamed about visiting Paradise Falls but were never able to save up enough money for it. Finally, he arranges for the trip but Ellie suddenly becomes ill and dies. What he has left of her is her adventure book filled with photographs. This book is what keeps Mr. Fredrickson going. He comes across the photo of Paradise Falls and is determined to travel there as he promised Ellie he would take her there. This movie shows that photographs can bring back a lot of memories and evoke many different emotions. Photographs can be very powerful and have sentimental value.

Photography has different meanings for different groups of people. For models it would just be job-related, for elderly people it would be for memories, for younger people it would be for fun and to live and enjoy life, for artists it would be for art. Photography is subjective; there can be many different views for one photograph.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by maerine » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:05 pm

Photography plays a key role in the visual data that individuals build their ideas around. In both Ridley Scott's “Blade Runner” (1982) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's “Amélie” (2001) collections of photographs play a large role in connecting the characters to the world of people around them. While characters in both movies are presented with photos in such a way that they have come to conclusions that have strayed from the truth, the mood that the character have after looking at the actual facts are very different.


In “Blade Runner”, Rachel, a bioengineered human with memory implants, is given photographs of another woman's life. When confronted with the idea that she is not an actual human, she presents a photo of herself with her mother. When the photos prove to be a copy of someone else's, she throws them on the floor and leaves them behind. While the photos originally served as documentation of her life, they now serve as a reminder of the person that she was based off of. While the photos upset Rachel and now seem useless to her because they are not her own, her rejection of them provides a way for her to come into being her own person. The fact that she was given copies solidifies her identity as a replicant human and provides a tool for her to figure out her role in the world of the movie.


Nico in “Amélie” pursues the truth with a more positive attitude. He collects photographs that people have discarded around the photo booths and has collected several photographs of the same man at different booths. The repetition of these photos being taken bogle Nico and Amélie who has looked through Nico's collection. The photos strike up the imaginations in both of them giving the photos life and purpose as a sort of “family album” that adds to Nico's personality and gives Amélie the idea to communicate through photographs to help get his attention. She comes across the man that Nico has multiple photos of and arranges for him to meet him at a photo booth. The man turns out to be a technician who fixes the photo booths and discards the test photos around the booths when he is done. Nico looks elated to finally meet the man in his photo album and to understand why he has so many photos of the man in his album. The mystery man, however, looks a little disturbed by the reaction that Nico has. The different reactions by the two men show how much the photographs have added to Nico's perception of a technician to a great mystery figure.
While Nico's reaction is more positive than Rachel's when he finally comes to an understanding of what his photos actually are, both realizations show how photographs can be a tool in one's perception, role in their culture, and emotions.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by jaehakshin » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:52 pm

"Blow Up"
Thomas (David_Hemmings) is a nihilistic, wealthy fashion photographer in mod "Swinging London." Filled with ennui, bored with his "fab" but oddly-lifeless existence of casual sex and drug use, Thomas comes alive when he wanders through a park, stops to take pictures of a couple embracing, and upon developing the images, believes that he has photographed a murder. Pursued by Jane (Vanessa_Redgrave), the woman who is in the photos, Thomas pretends to give her the pictures, but in reality, he passes off a different roll of film to her. Thomas returns to the park and discovers that there is, indeed, a dead body lying in the shrubbery: the gray-haired man who was embracing Jane.

"Blade Runner"
The film Blade Runner takes place in the year 2019 in Los Angeles. Specialized robots are developed to act as slaves on an off world colony. These robots are called Replicants. This is because they are similar to human being yet created without emotions. After six Replicants escape to earth, it is the job of a Blade Runner, Harrison Ford, to find and shoot them on sight.

There are two levels of human beings in the film. The upper level is the affluent and healthy. They are the ones who are given the opportunity to “begin again in a golden world of opportunity and adventure.” The second level of human beings is the destitute or unhealthy ones who are unable to go off to another planet. They are trapped on a version of earth that is dark, grimy and depressing.

Even below this level are the replicants who are treated as slaves on an off world colony and used for hazardous exploration and colonization of other planets. After a group of six fled from their colony to earth, replicants were declared illegal and Blade runners were order to shoot them on sight. There was fear that they would begin to feel emotions, so to prevent this, each replicant was given a four year life span.

The separation of class begins to close in the final minutes of the movie. Harrison Ford is hanging off the roof and as he falls, the replicant catches him. This shows great compassion, and easily displays to the audience the human like emotions that they possess. As Harrison Ford lays on the roof in fear, the replicant, who is more physically powerful, is given another option to share his compassion with the audience. He can either leave the roof and run or kill Harrison Ford, a blade runner who killed his fellow replicants. Instead, he accepts his fate, and ends his four year lifespan on that roof.

"Born into Brothels"
A tribute to the resiliency of childhood and the restorative power of art, "Born into Brothels" is a portrait of several unforgettable children who live in the red light district of Calcutta where their mothers are prostitutes. Zana Briski, a New York-based photojournalist who travelled to India to document the lives of women in the brothels, gives these youngsters cameras and teaches them how to take pictures, leading them to look at their world with new eyes. Together with co-director Ross Kauffman, Briski captures the magical way in which beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places and how a promising future becomes a possibility for children who previously had no future at all. Touching and heartfelt, yet devoid of sentimentality, "Born into Brothels" defies the tear-stained tourist snapshot of the global underbelly. Zana Briski spent years with these children and became a part of their lives. Their photographs are prisms into their souls, rather than anthropological curiosities, and a true testimony to the power of the indelible creative spirit.

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Re: Wk02 - Photography in Cinema

Post by kendall_stewart » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:17 am

Kendall Stewart

Photography in Cinema

Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” is a look to the future from the 1980s. Harrison Ford’s character is a Blade Runner whose job it is to “retire” all the “replicants,” or kill all the machines. These replicants are virtually indistinguishable from humans, and have even been implanted with fictional memories. The way photography has a role in this film is that photographs are what are used to give the machines these memories. When asked about their past, the machines present whoever’s questioning them with “concrete evidence” that the actually were children once. This is an interesting look the now almost present future, showing that in the 1980s, people were aware that photography would still play an important role in our society.

(still from "Blade Runner")

Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” is a well-known film about a nerdy boy who becomes a superhero when he’s bitten by a radioactive spider. This film involves photography in many ways. When Tobey Macguire’s character is bitten originally, he is taking photos in a science lab. And when Peter Parker hears that New York City considers Spider-Man a menace, he sets up cameras all over the city to capture his secret identity saving people and doing good deeds. He brings these exceptional photos to the newspaper editor’s office and is immediately hired as a freelance photographer. This was an interesting way to blend Peter Parker’s two identities, and also shows the media’s need for photographs to make any news story believable.

(newspaper from "Spider-Man")

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