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Tuesday, 20 July 2010


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I hope you have a good break, Mike. I'm looking forward to the novel because I like your writing. I read TOP cover-to-cover (or whatever is the on-line equivalent) whatever the topic. (TOPic?) It's refreshing to read intelligent and elegant prose.

-- David

The thing about the Grand Canyon is that even when you see it, you won't believe your eyes; so why bother? It just looks unrealistic. The only way to convince yourself that it's real is to walk down to the bottom. Fine. Except, who wants to climb back up?

Enjoy fishing! (And thanks for the movie recommendations.)

Enjoy your time off! And thanks.

Bon Voyage, happy fishin'...whatever! Have a nice break, and don't work too hard on that thriller...really, take a real break :-)

"The great American Novel" is ridiculously cliche, but you would be surprised how many of us try to do it. I am 7 years and 1000+ pages into mine, and I know that because of limited time, I may finish mine around 10 years from now... (10 years since 2003 also, ugh). Thriller or biography, keep plugging away Mike. There isn't enough out there to spend money on.

Great set of posts. I happened to watch Everlasting Moments last week, after scouring Netflix Watch Instantly for anything photographic. Quite enjoyable, and made me wish I had a few glass plates drying in the window. I also caught "The Modernism of Julius Shulman," and then via the mailbox, "William Eggleston in the Real World," not great but interesting.

Good Luck, and fair sailing, may you be awash in a sea of good pages!

In answer to your question about how many submarines in Idaho, the answer is: It's classified. See: http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=3191

Rod G.

Paper Moon also impressed me when I saw it a long time ago and although I've forgotten the details of the story, I clearly remember its characters and atmosphere. Also UK readers may like to know that "Everlasting Moments" is available for rental at www.easycinema.com, with whom I have no connection other than as a satisfied customer.

Have a thoroughly wonderful break and can I suggest that, if you haven't already done so, you check out Shooting The Past.

Ahhh!!! What am I going to do in the mornings for the next week?

When you want to take the plunge and visit the Canyon, I'd love to drag you around the place. I promise I won't make you go to the bottom.

Vanessa Winship, Paper Moon, Everlasting Moments. Thanks for leaving me with some assignments, teach.

I met Vanessa Winship last year after reading about her here and seeing her site (the one that was briefly toppled by TOP readers) and found her charming and humble. Eugene Richards was about to deliver a talk and slideshow; I was in a VIP seat because I'd put an advert into a magazine and she was in the VIP seat to me because she's a terrific photographer but from her modest attitude and general niceness, you'd almost have thought it was the other way around.

Have a great holiday!


Movies about photography and photographers. I used three in the course I taught here in Madison on "the impact of photography" last semester. I had six lined up but you can only show so many movies and still be taken seriously as a college teacher. I'll list my movies at the end of this, but what I want right now is the help of TOP finding a copy of "A Marriage: Georgie O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz" broadcast on PBS in 1991. Everyone I know who saw it raves about it, but I didn't see it and I can't find a copy ANYWHERE. I've written to PBS, posted a plea on IMDB, etc. Surely someone out there in TOP land has a copy???

The three movies I showed were "Proof" (the Australian film), "Camera Buff" by Kieslowski and "Medium Cool" (1968) by Haskell Wexler. I thought of showing "Blow Up" and "One-Hour Photo" and a few others, but . . these three were the best.

James Rhem

A few years ago at the Vancouver International Film Festival I came across a nice Japanese film called "Sway" which is a kind of psychological mystery. It's about a successful Japanese fashion photographer who comes back to his small village for a family funeral and immediately becomes involved with the one girl his homely elder brother has a crush on. Then in a fateful outing, he sees his older brother push the girl off a rope bridge to her death. The rest of the movie becomes a sort of "Rashomon" where the photographer is struggling to reconcile his vision and memory of the fateful event with the emotional history he shares with his brother and family. Powerful film. There isn't a lot of photography in it but what I recall was that the actor obviously was either a photographer or had been trained well. Some nice camera porn in it.

MacArthur would look oh-so-cool if it wasn't for the ludicrous pipe. It's just so wrong on many levels.

Anyway, Grand Canyon: I went to see it after seeing some of the other marvels of the Colorado Plateau - Bryce, Zion, Coyote Buttes, Monument Valley - and after those it just looked like a vast hole in the ground. Rather like an open-cast mine but with loads of tourists* everywhere. I'm afraid I was somewhat underwhelmed. On reflection, perhaps the North Rim would have been more spectacular and perhaps Thanksgiving Day was the wrong time for a visit, too....

*Yes I know. I'm not a tourist, dammit, I'm a photographer ;^)

Whaddaya mean, yer having a week off? What, a whole week?

(Says he who is half way through a five week holiday in Australia)

Mike, I hope you have a good time and I will look forward to your reappearance with your batteries fully charged and gently bubbling. I'm at 13.2 volts and holding at the moment.

Who do you think you are? John Sanford? The audacity!

Have fun on your break!

Have a great week off. And I echo (and perhaps exceed) your praise of Everlasting Moments. I found it immensely satisfying and deserving of at least a Best Foreign Film nomination. Probably the best film about photography I've ever seen.

I'm reminded of a Swedish movie I once attempted to see. It was like the winner of a contest to out-Bergman Bergman. Typical scene: A man sitting on a bed, a pregnant woman leaning on a window sill. Both in tattered clothes. Everything is poor and dingy and dark. The minutes pass, and the, very slowly, the man turns his head slightly and says: "it's going to be a bad winter".
You get it.

How fitting the Devil Ship sail is in the park in Arco, ID... a lot of nuclear reactor training for Naval personnel has been conducted in the middle of that desert since the late 50's. The first city powered by atomic energy, Arco is a tiny town with a big historic moniker. Additionally other functioning subs are at Lake Pend O'Rielle in northern ID, where Farragut (Bayview) training facility was operating in WWII... and technically ID has a port - Lewiston, inspite of being landlocked.

Thanks for calling "Everlasting Moments" to our attention. My wife (nonphotographer) and I (photographer) watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. That movie, along with "Seraphine" - about a French charwoman/painter (also true), prove to me that cinematography can be a fine art medium. Both movies are beautifully shot and a joy to watch. What a sad commentary on our culture that "beauty" takes a back seat to "bang" and the story line is secondary.

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