Monday, September 27, 2010

John Walker

John Walker directed Strand: Under the Dark Cloth (1990) as a tribute and guide to the career of photographer Paul Strand. The footage includes Strand himself (top still) and friends such as Georgia O'Keefe (second still). The film makes the case that Strand's early work -- sharp edged and unsentimental -- was consistently a modernist challenge to the romanticized photography of the day, exemplified by the work of Alfred Stieglitz (who was married to O'Keefe). Above, three examples: a 1915 photograph of Wall Street, a fence (1916), and a blind woman in New York (1916). The film doesn't hide the fact that Strand used a sneaky right-angle lens; his street-photography subjects did not know he was taking a picture.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.