Week 02
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, August Sander, Chris Boland

One of my aim for 2020 is to be more conscious of the time I spend reading/listening/watching new (to me) creative projects. I want to actively make time for other people’s work and creativity in my life.

One way of achieving this has been to be more focused with my time but as the year gets busier, I am going to to lose that focus. To combat this, I am going to publicly share a list of works I’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis.

Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire

It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I am a big fan of Céline Sciamma’s work. So it was evident I would see her latest film at the earliest opportunity.

While a departure from her previous films, this story retains the qualities that made me fall in love with her work. It’s subtle, minimalist, and quiet. Layers of meaning are woven through the fabric of the story enabling the viewers to decide what they are watching.

For instance, someone might have come for the love story. On one level Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that. But it’s also a powerful affirmation of the existence of women. Céline Sciamma reclaims history and writes women in history.

There are more than those two strands in the film. The visuals and the sounds are a story of their own. Always used carefully, Céline Sciamma paints her story and understand sounds. Blink during the trailer and you’ll miss one of my favourite scene of the film, a nod to multiple paintings in one scene.

I could go on, but this is not a space for a long winded review. There are plenty out there more eloquently written than this.

Rather than reading them, why don’t you go and see the film. There is bound to be something in it for you.

ARTIST ROOMS: August Sander

Since getting back into photography, I have discovered the works of many new to me photographers. One of them is August Sander. So when I learned some of his work was exhibited at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, I made sure to visit before the exhibition closed.

August Sander spent a lot of his life capturing portraits of individuals and groups of people according to their profession and social class. He presented the work under the title People of the Twentieth Century.

Beginning this project in Germany before the first world war and continuing until his death after the second world war, his photographs are an important historical document of what life was like at the time. But his portraits transcend historical documentations.

As I was walking through the room, going from photograph to photograph, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the faces in his photographs. It is evident in most of them that August Sander had a respect for his subject no matter their profession or social class. He didn’t judge people based on who they were. He captured a part of them, one that could go beyond them. By transforming them into archetype of work and class, by treating everyone with the same respect, he laid bare the similarities between us.

The exhibition is sadly closed now, but you can find a lot of August Sander’s work online.

Chris Boland – From A Balcony in Spain

Ever since I discovered Chris Boland YouTube channel I’ve been hooked.  A mixture of photos and videos, his videos are always beautiful and soothing. He doesn’t edit at a fast pace but lets the world go by.

In this particular video, he watches a street from a balcony in Spain. Life unfolds as you watch the video, slowly, gently. People go by their everyday business, there is no grandeur. Instead there is beauty in the details and an appreciation for shadows and light.

If you’ve never watched Chris Boland videos (whether about a collection of photos or videos), I recommend you check it out.

What have you been enjoying this week?