13 Ways of Looking at a Photograph

1.   Aide-memoire
Visual record for a potential memory. The photograph functions simply as a way of recalling, a way of summoning up the past.
2.   Reportage
The photograph serves as a testimony. The photographer chooses to go where most of us dare not.
3.   Work of art
The photograph presents itself as a quasi-painting, a pseudo canvas.
4.   Topography
Photograph tries to reproduce the effect of a painted landscape, etc.
5.   Erotica and pornography
Perhaps a field of photography can claim as its own. The gamut is extensive, the nuances of the erotic are manifold.
6.   Advertisement
These are photographs that are meant to function wholly as a form of allurement.
7.   Abstract image
The photograph functions simply and purely, being judges, like an abstract painting in terms of form, pattern, texture, and composition.
8.   Literature
To ‘read’ a photograph as if it were part of a narrative or a short story.
9.   Text
Photography of writing or printed signs. Something about words seems to provoke the desire to photograph them.
10. Autobiography
Every photograph, if we know enough about the circumstances of its taking, will contain some biographical information about the photographer. Will all the photographs a person takes in his/her life be as much a record of that individual as anything written down?
11. Composition
Could be argues as a sub-class of ‘work of art’ but the tradition fine art concepts and composition apply to photography.
12. Means to end/tool
The pragmatic advantage of photography. What was the photo’s initial purpose? Once the pragmatic task of the photograph has been satisfied it may transmorgify into something else.
13. Snapshot
Ties in all of the above. What distinguishes photography from all the other visual arts is its particularly intense relation to time.

-William Boyd-
Anonymous: Enigmatic Images from Unknown Photographers

 

The Relevance of The Lost Weekend

When does a lost evening give way to a lost weekend? When do lost weekends give way to a lost life? Dorothy Parker’s “You Were Perfectly Fine” addresses some dangers of an evening of drinking to excess. The Lost Weekend, directed by Billy Wilder, addresses the dangers and consequences of years of drinking to excess. There are many movies that address alcoholism that are more recent than The Lost Weekend, but this movie was groundbreaking for its portrayal of alcoholism.  Wilder’s movie is worth a view for both its originality and its lasting message.

Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend, based on Charles Jackson’s novel, was ahead of its time and earned the 1945 Best Picture Oscar (along with three other Oscars). Movies prior to The Lost Weekend avoided direct discussions concerning alcoholism or often used alcoholism for comic relief. Ray Milland’s portrayal of an alcoholic’s struggle over the course of a weekend was something new to the screen, and under Wilder’s direction, provided a realistic view of alcoholism. This realistic portrayal of the impact of alcoholism on the alcoholic and those close to him is as relevant now as it was when it premiered.

The movie has held up well over the past seventy years. The opening scene establishes the central characters and provides a realistic view of an alcoholic. Milland’s portrayal of a man who is struggling with alcoholism is realistic and allows the viewer to empathize with him. This realism was original for the time and still holds true. A viewer today can feel the same anguish as the viewer of 1945 when Milland says, “I’m not a drinker. I’m a drunk.” There are some contemporary critics who argue the end of the movie is not in keeping with the story and it has become dated. Although the ending of the movie does differ from the novel this can be attributed to Wilder’s need to get approval from the Hays Office censors. But the ending of the movie may not be as upbeat as many critics argue. Milland’s character may want to change, but wanting to change is just one step in a long and difficult process. This interpretation shows the movie’s message concerning the struggle of the alcoholic is as relevant now as it was in 1945.

Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend was one of the first honest and realistic portrayals of alcoholism on film. Ray Milland’s performance as an individual struggling with alcoholism rings as true today as it did in 1945. The Lost Weekend is worth viewing for both its historical significance and its message.

-K-

The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. Directed by Billy Wilder.

Drinking: The Mix Tape

A Side

1. “Hey Bartender” — The Blues Brothers
2. “Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers” — ZZ Top
3. “Whiskey In My Whiskey” — The Felice Brothers
4. “High Shelf Booze” — Eilen Jewell
5. “Whiskey In the Jar” — Fat Man Squeeze
6. “Drink House” — Scrapomatic
7. “This Drinkin’ Will Kill Me” — Dwight Yoakam
8. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” — John Lee Hooker
9. “Another Round” — Steve Martin & Edie Brickell

B Side

1. “Bad Bad Whiskey” — Buddy Guy & Junior Wells
2. “What Good Can Drinkin’ Do” — Janis Joplin
3. “Stop Drinking” –Van Morrison
4. “Cigarettes, Whiskey, & Wild Wild Women” — Jim Croce
5. “Goodbye Booze” — Old Crow Medicine Show
6. “Pointless Drinking” — Amy La Vere
7. “Between the Bars” — Madeleine Peyroux
8. “Sunday Morning Coming Down” — Johnny Cash

-K-