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Photography in Film and Video
Stephen Gordon
Photography in Film and Video
Despite the debates about the role of still images in moving image, there have been a vast number of films that use the still image as a form or subject matter.

These are often documentary, autobiography; ethnographic or avant-garde films employing commentary, voiceover or soundtrack. For example, Agnes Varda's Salut les Cubains! (1962) blends documentary photographs and voiceover with the dynamic rhythmic patterns of the Cuban sound. By contrast, Hollis Frampton's fractured visual 'autobiography', Nostalgia (1971) is unique in that the twelve black and white stills presented act as both the form and subject of the film. Similarly, Chris Marker's classic sci-fi/ time-travel short La Jetée (1962), possibly the best-known example of the cine-photo film, links form and subject through the use of image as traces of memory.

By contrast, in the documentary Shadows of Light (1983) by Stephen Dwoskin photographs are used as physical objects that make up what may have been the original scenes of the objects. Photos are posed on walls, furniture and floors. Through camera movement these photographs-objects take on a new form as if in continuous metamorphosis.

Film and videos that feature stills as the predominant visual narrative tool are acutely aware of the role that time and space play in the composition. Michael Snow's film, One Second in Montreal (1969) offers a subtle reading of time, space and movement through a collection of bleak snow covered scenes stripped of spatial interest. In Nona Hatoum's So Much I Have to Say (1983) variations in temporal flow are created through repetition of sound and image.

Still from Shadows from Light by Stephen Dwoskin, 1983
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