Friday, 26 March 2010

Photography in motion

The use of multimedia to present still photography was discussed in the last course committee for the Masters in Photojournalism. Ever since then I seem to have been coming across examples...

First, there was the not very inspiring ‘New Review’s Month in Photography’ from the an overview of recent photographic exhibitions and books to the sound of Bach. The has a page dedicated to ‘audio slideshows’ as it calls them, but the ones I took a look at didn’t catch my imagination.

Then, when I was looking for books on the University of Chicago Press website, I came across a slideshow derived from a book of photographs on the ‘great American plains.’ The use of Dvorak’s 'New World Symphony' is probably entirely appropriate, but to someone who grew up hearing it used on the Hovis advert, it seems incongruous…

Taking a tip from a student, I took a look at the Magnum in Motion website, where there are many fine examples. I enjoyed Mark Power’s ‘The Shipping Forecast,’ although it made the project seem more kitsch than the book (available in the library).

I also found a section on multimedia in the most recent edition (the sixth) of Kenneth Kobre’s book Photojournalism: the professionals approach, which has been recently added to the library collection. I followed up some references in that and found Ken Kobre’s blog and Ken Kobre’s guide [to video journalism on the web]. Lots and lots to explore there.

He recommends Mindy McAdam’s book Flash Journalism: how to create multimedia news packages (which also has a website with examples) and I have bought an e-copy of Flash journalism for the library collection. There are plenty of other books on Flash etc on Safari Tech Books online (available through InfoLinX).

I didn’t find much looking for articles in journals on the subject, but I did find a useful essay in an old edition of the British Journal of Photography (only available in print I am afraid):

Smyth, D. (2008). Threat Or Opportunity? British Journal of Photography, 155(7671), 18-20.

If anyone knows of any other interesting commentaries on this developing media, please leave a comment…

Going back a bit, it is interesting to see what film directors have done with still images. Poliakoff very effectively used stills in 'Shooting the past' (1999): there is a clip of 'Shooting the past' on Screen Online (Select ‘The Collection’) and going back further and into the realms of obscurity, see a clip of the Lindsay Anderson directed Alan Bennett play, ‘The Old Crowd’ (Select ‘The Slideshow’).

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Screen online - video clips and full length films

I'm reading Alan Bennett currently for a book group and found clips from many of his TV plays on Screen Online, produced by the British Film Institute.  There are a huge number of other clips from other British films and television productions on there too - for example 'Great Expectations' (1946), 'Trainspotting' (1996) and 'The Office' (2001-2003).

There are also some full-length films such as Karel Reisz's 'We Are the Lambeth Boys' (1959) and Shane Meadows' short film 'Where's the money Ronnie!' (1996).

You can search Screen Online for your favourite British director, actor or film etc or browse for films grouped by genre, theme, place or decade.  There are also 'tours' of themes such as 'Cinematography,' 'Britishness,' 'the British sense of humour' and 'writing short films.'

It is a wonderful resource for film students or for anyone interested in film!

Much of the text on Screen Online is available to anyone on the Internet, but you have to be within a school, university or public library to view the clips.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

John Smith - filmmaker

Students on the Curating Contemporary Art MA programme at the Royal College of Art are putting on an exhibition of the artist and filmmaker John Smith, which opens tomorrow.

His 1996 short film ‘Blight’ is available to watch within the university as part of the ‘Arts on Film Archive.’  

There are also examples of his work available at the following websites:

And we have examples of his work on the following DVDs/Videos in the library:

DVD: Cinema 16: British short films (Girl Chewing Gum)

DVD: Shoot shoot shoot: British avant-garde film of the 1960s and 1970s (Leading Light)

VHS: John Smith: anthology (Blight; Home Suite)

VHS: VIDEOTAPE 4352 (Slow Glass)

Friday, 5 March 2010

Journal in focus – History of Photography

Published by Routledge four times a year, History of Photography is an academic peer reviewed journal with an international remit. It is available in printed form in the library, or electronically via ‘Informaworld’ (where you can set up an alert for new issues).

The current issue (February 2010) includes articles on ‘Atget, Benjamin and Surrealism,’ ‘The urban photography of Man Ray,’ ‘Weegee’s Jewishness,’ and ‘Cindy Sherman’s untitled film stills.’

This issue also has a review of selected books on surrealism and a review of two books looking at the relationship between cinema and photography, one of which is David Campany’s book Photography and Cinema (available in the library of course).

You can search across issues on Infomaworld, but History of Photography is also indexed on several key indexes, including Art Bibliographies Modern; British Humanities Index; and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.