Document Life

As an avid film junkie, I tend to fall in love with stories that heavily relate to my personality. Stories about people’s lives, interest me. Hence why I go crazy for documentaries.
Last night I was able to catch a high definition version of a BBC special, as a part of their Immagine series, about Vivian Maier. For the past few years, I have been waiting for John Maloof’s feature documentary about this incredible photographer (Finding Vivian Maier). My urge to see some form of motion picture about her, had been satisfied by a local Chicago TV station, special, detailing a little bit about her story, that I found at the beginning of the year. This past week,to my surprise and joy (for receiving another insightful gift, exposing more about her and her work), I caught ‘Who Took Nanny’s Pictures?‘.

I wish more people of today’s world would cherish the technology of film. Digital just can’t deliver what film can. It is such a precious material to work with. Especially black and white film’s in 120 format (the amount of detail that can possibly be captured is astonishing). I can only wish and hope that film doesn’t go further up in price, in my life time, above $12.50 a roll. A human can only make so many sacrifices and input so much dedication to survive, just before the point you advance over the edge and fall.

Documentaries are important. So are books (I’m reading quite a bit, lately). The Genius of Photography – another BBC series – is incredibly important. For myself, I found it so critical to concentrate on everything documented in each episode… Because it’s so interesting. History is interesting. One man, who I could probably listen to over and over again, on a broken record, cycled forever, appears in this series (and also in the BBC ‘Vivian Maier’ documentary). Joel Meyerowitz – one of my all time favorite and most inspirational photographers, ever. I seriously look up to Joel and his work. And he adds a brilliant commentary in this BBC series. I want to create a series of postings that details the gather-up of material comprised in each episode, sometime in the future.
I will probably write more about Joel as well, in the future; As I love him so much and truly believe his work needs to be spread and shared.

In the field of Fine Art, Simon Schama’s Power of Art (BBC) series, is the pinnacle of all series’ I have ever seen, relating to the documenting and scenario recreating of several Artist’s in history, on screen. You get goosebumps going along each journey Simon takes you on, giving commentary on artists life’s, such as Rembrandt and Rothko.
There are even more british-based documentary series’ on Art that should be sought out for. Antiques Roadshow’s Philip Mould and Fiona Bruce have worked together on a couple of greatly noteworthy pieces – DaVinci: The Lost Treasure and BBC’s Fake or Fortune?

There are so many “photography” related documentaries out there – so many of which I have seen. I can’t possibly share all of them, but I hope I have mentioned some, to you all here in this posting.

Maybe I can share some more – A special from PBS’ American Masters series, about one of my favourite’s, Alfred Stieglitz (detailed a little bit here in ‘Spirit of Wild Places‘ posting), titled “The Eloquent Eye“. Definitely a must watch, not only for aspiring photographers, but artists alike.

Alfred Stieglitz collection, 1933.

In the fashion of documentary – documentary photographer Paul Strand has a documentary about his life, here (Under The Darkcloth). Many great ‘lesser-known’ documentaries can be found on YouTube if you search hard enough. The effort is worth it.

Top top things off, Annie Leibovitz’s “Life Through A Lens“, will leave you inspired and and full of insightful information about a dedicated photographers journey along life.


Coming soon, a posting about one of my hero’s right from the very dawn of my own personal memories – Stanley Arthur Jefferson. It’s just something I feel like I need to do, in respect to a man who has given the world so much. It is almost something in the line of Dick Van Dyke’s ‘Salute to Stan Laurel‘ – a respectful gesture and acknowledgement for my love of an idol.

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