This short film is my George Mason University Masters Project. It is a poetic documentary in the photo roman form focusing on the genre of street photography.
A kind of filmic scroll painting, the video lasts approximately 10 minutes and is made up of 18 still photos and one motion clip, all of which I shot during the summer and fall of 2012 in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland areas. The shots, a tiny fraction of the total number, were taken during daytime hours and at night in public places with a remarkably high-resolution Nikon D800 camera that provided innovative capabilities for using long pans and zooms to impart dramatic movement to the still image.
Street photographer extraordinaire Henri Cartier-Bresson was a major influence in this film, most notably his ideas about the “decisive moment,” that vanishing instant when, as I have come to understand it, composition and expression come together in a compelling way to communicate visual meaning.
While working on this project, I found myself, like Cartier-Bresson, prowling the streets "determined to 'trap' life — to preserve life in the act of living.”
The controlling idea of the film comes from writer, filmmaker and critic Susan Sontag’s book On Photography, in which she declares that photography—and necessarily by extension, film— freezes (or to use film theorist Andre Bazin’s term, “embalms”) time: "In the real world, something is happening and no one knows what is going to happen. In the image-world, it has happened, and it will forever happen that way."
My aim in producing this film is to document some existential truth in the varied scenes of everyday life that I encountered in my camera-centric stalkings—in the words of Cartier-Bresson, to capture “the whole essence of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.”
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