Currently browsing the "photography" tag.

Review: The Way I See It

Lest you be reluctant to watch another ‘political documentary’ as we steam toward Election Day (I know I was), please take note: The Way I See It is not so much about politics as it is about humanity, compassion, integrity and leadership – as captured in a series of fascinating photographs featuring two iconic Presidents – Republican and Democrat. And, it is most definitely worth seeing.

Quickie Review: Instant Dreams

Did you ever have a Polaroid camera or loved that instantaneous thrill of having the image appear in your hands? The Polaroid camera was a marvel and this quirky doc clues you in to how truly amazing it was as it charts the history from its invention to its demise. It also takes three (and a half) people and explores their connections to the film: a man trying to recreate the film after Polaroid officially folded and the formula for the film went with it, a photographer still using a hoard of the out of date film, and an author who wrote a book about all about Polaroid. And while some of it is interesting, the pieces don’t really add up to a whole. And if you are at all into photography you know that there is instant film available today. It’s an art for art’s sake film in a lot of ways.

Review: Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable

Garry Winogrand was one of the masters of street photography. He spent decades roaming New York, and later Texas and California, freezing the moments that made statements about the time and place. He died in 1984, leaving behind thousands of unprocessed rolls of film and unprinted photographs. But his work starting in the 1960s had already secured his place in the photography canon, thanks in large part to MOMA curator John Szarkowski. Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is a loving portrait of the man and his art, and a visual treat for street photography aficionados.

Review: Love, Cecil

I’d known about Cecil Beaton as a photographer for decades, but had no idea the breadth of his creative talents. Love, Cecil is a beautifully crafted documentary about him that blends his own interviews with those of his many admirers and friends (and a few enemies) with readings from his many diaries by Rupert Everett, and most importantly showcases his prolific output. From photographing the Royal family for decades to art directing My Fair Lady, to changing the way fashion was portrayed in print, he seemed to never stop working. Directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland (Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict), the film wisely lets Beaton’s art take center stage and could more aptly be titled, “I love Cecil!”

The Salt of the Earth

I’ve been a fan of Sebastião Salgado’s work for decades, probably beginning with his photographs of the gold miners of Brazil’s Serra Pelada in the mid-80s. Beyond being beautiful images, they are powerful statements about humanity and as such are incredible social documentary. The Salt of the Earth looks at his entire career and the ways that his work has influenced his life, as well as its impact on international audiences who view starving refugees in Africa or Bosnians fleeing to Croatia through his lens. He is truly one of the greatest living photojournalists and this documentary directed by Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, Pina, Buena Vista Social Club) along with Juliano Ribeiro Salgado takes you on his incredible life journey. It is beautiful, adventure-filled, and both heartbreaking and uplifting.

Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People

As a photography major in college, I studied all the “famous” photographers and their “important” images. But what we did not see were photographers of color and their important images. Did they not exist or were they just not in the canon? The eye-opening documentary Through a Lens Darkly tackles that question and looks at the rich and largely ignored history of black photographers in America. It also takes on the notion of identity that we draw from photos and the distortions that African-Americans have had to endure since the beginning of photo-technology. The film is based on the book “Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present,” by Deborah Willis, which must be the most exhaustive study of black photographers, images of African-Americans, and the use of photographs as propaganda in both positive and negative ways as a vehicle for social change. Fortunately director Thomas Allen Harris doesn’t go too far into the academic arguments. He smartly begins from a personal viewpoint, using the photographic traditions of his own family as a jumping off point.