Black and White
Photographed several years ago with a medium format camera and B&W film.
The Children of Quasimodo
Outtake from the underground film – “The Children of Quasimodo”.
The Eyes of a Little Girl
Shot with T-Max 400, developed and printed in my darkroom.
Day dreaming about a trip to Vegas several years ago . . . Traveling . . . Forgot I used to do that.
I had the opportunity to see Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” on the big screen in a movie theater. The movie stars William Holden, Gloria Swanson, written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman Jr. and directed by Billy Wilder. For those not familiar with him, 4 of his movies are on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest films ever made. They are “Some Like It Hot” (if you haven’t seen it, see it now), “The Apartment”, “Double Indemnity” (great movie) and “Sunset Boulevard”.
I own a copy of the movie on disc, but Turner Classic Movies, in conjunction with Fathom Events, has a Classic Film Series playing in selected theaters. “Sunset” was on the list.
Plot summary from IMDB–
“In Hollywood of the 50’s, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis is not able to sell his work to the studios, is full of debts and is thinking in returning to his hometown to work in an office. While trying to escape from his creditors, he has a flat tire and parks his car in a decadent mansion in Sunset Boulevard. He meets the owner and former silent-movie star Norma Desmond, who lives alone with her butler and driver Max Von Mayerling. Norma is demented and believes she will return to the cinema industry, and is protected and isolated from the world by Max, who was her director and husband in the past and still loves her. Norma proposes Joe to move to the mansion and help her in writing a screenplay for her comeback to the cinema, and the small-time writer becomes her lover and gigolo. When Joe falls in love for the young aspirant writer Betty Schaefer, Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”
Acting in the film as themselves, Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Ceil B. DeMille, H.B.Warner, Anna Q. Nilsson. The great director Erich Von Stroheim plays the butler and driver. Plus a young Jack Webb – “Just the facts, ma’am” – in a small supporting role.
Sunset was nominated for 11 Oscars and won 3. Info here.
Two movies on the TCM list I want to see – one in June – “The Producers”. And in August – “The Big Lewbowski”. I want to see “The Dude”!
My Son, the Film Critic
My son has decided to offer his opinion on some recent films. He requested my help when he gets an image pertaining to the film that I put his face into the frame. He uses these images as a “cover” for his YouTube videos.
Pictured above, left to right top – The Martian, Creed. Bottom – Spectre, Black Mass.
His YouTube channel is named “Green Screens“.
My Son – The Martian
I substituted my son’s face for Matt Damon’s.
For those who haven’t seen the new Matt Damon/Ridley Scott film “The Martian”,
I highly recommend it. It’s an old fashioned type of film – the rescue. Today’s
science fiction films with time travel, aliens, warp speed, killer robots can,
at times, have convoluted plots that will leave you scratching your head.
(For the record, I am a big sci-fi fan).
And this simple story comes from the director who made the first “Alien” movie
and “Blade Runner”. Both films are excellent, but “The Martian” is a back-to-basics
story of rescue against a backdrop of state-of-the-art digital graphics that
make everything look real.
Viva la Polaroid!
Long Live Polaroid!
Not actual Polaroid photos but taken standing inside a Polaroid frame and with a digital camera (I guess that contradicts the title). These are 3 separate photos taken in the Fotobar in Las Vegas that celebrates, and sells, Polaroid products. On the second floor is a museum. No charge, and worth a visit. The main floor sells products relating to Polaroid. In the corner is the large frame pictured above for personal photography. With computers at your disposal, you can upload any photo for a “Polaroid” type of print. It was great fun and highly recommended to visit.
Google “fotobar” for more info.
Black and White
Photographed several years ago with a medium format camera and B&W film.
One of my favorites.
Hollywood – Here I Come!
In an earlier life, I went to school for filmmaking. The photograph above is from a film that I made. It was a comedy and I kept it simple since it was my first 16mm film and I was new to the process. When the project was completed, it made its way to a movie theater in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I had a friend that ran the theater there and he was happy to show it. Recently he told me a story that I didn’t know –
“I never told you, but the night that we showed “The Children of Quasimodo” Filmmaker John Waters, actor Divine and Boston film critic David Brudinoy were in the audience. He returned a few nights later (we changed films every three days in the summer)to see another film with just Devine (not in drag). I asked him what he thought about your film. He said ‘It creeped me out….it was funny.’ Ha ha ha. He also said that he liked the idea that we were showing unadvertised underground films at our midnight shows as a bonus.”
Wow. The Man, They Myth, The Director saw my movie. That’s the closest I ever got to Hollywood.
Always Be Ready…
I’m reposting this photo because it is one of my favorites. It is of my daughter, taken with polaroid film attached to my 4×5 view camera. This photograph was better than the subsequent images captured with 4×5 B&W negative film. So what did this teach me? Even when you’re setting up and testing, whether it’s digital or film, be prepared that the “inspired” photograph might be one of the practice shots.
Portrait of a Young Man
In 2000, the last year of the 20th Century, I decided to take a photo a day of my son (11 years old at the time). I thought that it would be a fun project with him but there might be some difficulties. Technically this meant shooting one image per day, using one roll of film per month and hoping that I didn’t make any mistakes along the way. I also decided to shoot B&W film because I could handle the processing myself. The project started out simply – he’d stand against the same white wall everyday, with the date written on a piece of paper, and he’d make a silly face. Eventually I moved away from the wall and photographed him in different locations. As the year progressed I processed the film and put it into print file negative pages. At the end, I brought my “12 months” to a photo lab to make me 16×20 enlarged contact prints. They looked beautiful.
The following year – 2001 – was the start of the 21st Century and this time I photographed my daughter. The process and final product was the same but I shot color film instead. Then in 2005 I returned to the project shooting both my son and daughter together. This time I shot digital, which made it easier. The only difficult part was making sure that I didn’t forget to take a photo, but my kids would always remind me, “Dad, you didn’t take the photo of the day yet!” Digital also made it easier because I could shoot several images and pick the best one. The final product was different though, it was a book instead of a contact print.
Click on the photo (you’ll have to do it twice) to enlarge it for a more detailed view of the days.
Planet of the Apes
For me seeing the new apes movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was not a choice but an obligation. When the original Planet of the Apes film with Charlton Heston premiered in 1968 I was around 14 years old. I sat in the Plaza Theater in Paterson, NJ and was transported to a world that held me by my heart and soul. I had chills when the character “Taylor” played by Mr. Heston uttered the words, “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape.” And those chills were intensified with the ending of the movie – seeing the remains of the Statue of Liberty on the sandy beach. It’s an iconic moment in American film history. I walked out of the theater in a daze. To this day, I do not remember if I saw the film with anyone else. That movie cemented a relationship with the soon-to-be-made franchise. I bought a hardcover of the original novel written by French author Pierre Boulle, also author of The Bridge over the River Kwai. For a 14 year old to purchase a hardcover of a book displays the respect I had for the material. The novel was different than the movie, but it was just as perfect.
After the original film premiered I was first on line for everything that followed – Beneath the Planet…., Escape from the Planet…., Conquest of the Planet…., and finally Battle for the Planet….. Nothing equaled the original, but the movies were entertaining. Sometime in the 1970s a close friend and myself sat through a marathon of the 5 films at the Plaza theater. A bland TV followed in 1974, comic books (not interested) and the Tim Burton remake in 2001. I’d lump Burton’s remake with the sequels, entertaining but nothing special.
I don’t remember the year, but sometime between 2000 and 2009 the original Planet of the Apes film was playing at the Lafayette theater in Suffern, NY. The theater had a sci-fi movie weekend with the Heston movie being one of the films shown. Also present at the showing was Linda Harrison, aka “Nova”. It was a fan’s dream to see and hear Ms. Harrison reminisce about the making of the movie.
Back to the new film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It was entertaining, more so than some of the other sequels. There were plenty of references to the original – some subtle, some not. I don’t remember the reason given in Conquest of the Planet for the rise of the apes intelligence, been a long time since I’ve seen it, but the logic in the new movie was very good, in my opinion. My only real qualm was the ending of the movie. It contradicts the original story, how the apes became the dominant species, and I didn’t see any real reason to change it.
Regarding the photo above – that’s my wife and I. It has nothing to do with the apes movies. I also love comedy and the Three Stooges, and as any student of film comedy will say, gorilla costumes are part of that history. I thought that it was time me for to be a stooge.
Okay, here are my Top 8 television shows of all time (it’s not that I can’t have a top 10, I just have 2 empty spaces waiting to be filled):
1- Farscape – those who share my love for this series understand my addiction to it.
2- Star Trek (original series) – I watched every sequel – TV or movie, liked some, hated some, but I still love Kirk the most.
3- Seinfeld – I highly recommend the Kramer Reality Tour in New York City. Google it for info.
4- Andy Griffith Show w/Don Knotts – an American comedy that rises above everything else.
5- The X Files – The first 7 seasons. Always knew that there were aliens but loved the ambiguity.
6- 24 – I want to be Jack Bauer
7- Eureka – Can’t explain it, but I love this series.
8- Dexter – I knew about Dexter, and was familiar with Michael Hall from “6 Feet Under” but didn’t think that I would like a show about a serial killer. All I can say, this show catapulted to the top almost immediately. I am on the edge of my seat watching it.
Now I have plenty of second tier shows that I love – Battlestar (Ron Moore edition), Green Acres (it’s hilarious), The Invaders – if I started a list of top ten show openings, this one would be at the top of the list.
So, this is my list. What’s yours?
Where is Everybody?!
Are you a lifeguard when there is no one to guard?
Film is Fading Fast
An article in the British Journal of Photography discusses the “end of transparency” – e.g. end of slide film. I appreciate and understand the value of digital cameras and what they do, but I never expected to read about film fading in my lifetime. Polaroid is dead – not the company but the instant film. (Some remaining product can still be found and purchased. Fuji does still make an instant film but I haven’t used it.) Kodak doesn’t produce B&W photo paper anymore. How much longer befor any of the other film products fade away?
Going down to the corner store for a quickie (not pro) print is almost dead. A Costco near my house still develops and prints color film. I pulled out some 35mm B&W negatives recently, and in order to share them with friends, I had to scan them. In the past, I would have gotten some prints made and passed them out. These images weren’t of some important, fine art assignment. They were photos from my teenage years with friends. I have more that I want to show so I have a lot more scanning to do. My comments aren’t meant to bash digital. I had expected both formats to exist side-by-side for years. I want to return out west (if you’ve read any of my previous entries, you know how much I love it there) with my 4×5 view camera. Will I even be able to?
The above image was shot with 35mm Ektachrome. (These comments are a continuation of what I wrote on Feb 15.)