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Photography in Film and Video
Stephen Gordon
Photography in Film and Video
"...the frame is not simply a return to the photo: if it belongs to the cinema, this is because it is the genetic element of the image, or the differential element of the movement. It does not 'terminate' the movement without also being the principle of its acceleration, its deceleration and its variation. It is the vibration, the elementary solicitation of which movement is made up at each instant." (Deleuze, Cinema 1, p. 83)

Is there something special about the use of still photographic images in film? Do still images in film enable another kind of aesthetic compared to moving images? Or do they make a point about the aesthetic of movement itself? What are the reasons why the still image has survived the massive diffusion of new technological possibilities available in moving image production? Why do filmmakers, video artists and cine-photographers continue to use stills in their moving image work? These are some of the questions that I have been thinking through in my work as a photographer and video maker.

My interest in the use of photographs in film and video has particularly developed around the notion of movement. It is commonly assumed that movement added to the still image is what defines a moving image. Yet if we take a closer look at the composition of moving images we soon realize that movement in film is not just about departing from point a in order to arrive at point b. Movement is not determinate by the distance between points. Movement can be understood more precisely in terms of the relation between points a and b. This relation defines movement as prior to the points a and b. These points are a result of movement and not the other way around. In other words, these points only exist because of the movement that links them. But what is movement? Variations in speed: a kinetic relation between motion and rest, acceleration and deceleration is what defines movement.

A still from Coded Skin by Stephen Gordon
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