Bruce Conner and the Art of Juxtaposition

conner-imagef-00003Dennis Hopper called Bruce Conner “the most important artist of the 20th century”.  He frequently recycled stock footage, found objects, photographs, clippings, whatever, into “assemblages” filled with irony, humor & pathos.  I first encountered Conner via “A MOVIE” in High School nearly 50 years ago, and either consciously or sub-consciously, he has been a huge influence on my film work.  Bruce Conner:  It’s All True is a career spanning retrospective which will be at SFMOMA (San Francisco) from late October to January 2017.

“Mongoloid” is a Music Video Conner did for Devo.

The Labyrinth at Land’s End

Sounds kind of sexy, no ?  I was looking at a photo essay in the San Francisco Chronicle, something like “…the most photographed sites in San Francisco…”, and the Labyrinth (at Eagle Point, Land’s End, next to Mile Rock Beach) was the only place I had not been.  Worthwhile.DB-LabyrinthA trap for malevolent spirits?  A symbol of the hard path to God?  A metaphor for life’s journey?  A pantheistic meditation on nature? A frivolous diversion?  Worthwhile.

R.I.P. Kodachrome (1935-2009)

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Kodachrome was introduced 80 years ago by Eastman Kodak, first as a 16mm movie film, and later in still formats, notably 35mm slide film (anyone remember family slide shows?).  Prized by photographers for its color rendition and rich, deep blacks. Photographer Steve McCurry sums it up:  “If you have good light and you’re at a fairly high shutter speed, it’s going to be a brilliant color photograph. It had a great color palette.  It wasn’t too garish. Some films are like you’re on a drug or something. Kodachrome had more poetry in it, a softness, an elegance.  With digital photography, you gain many benefits in post production (but) with Kodachrome, you take it out of the box and the pictures are already brilliant.”

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Kodachrome is also known for its archival stability, outlasting other types of color film, which, while easier to process, will noticeably fade over time.  My Uncle was an amateur photographer, he shot a lot of Kodachrome beginning in the 1940s, and into the 1980s.  A couple of years ago, my Aunt entrusted me with my Uncle’s slide collection to have it digitized.  For over 30 years, the carousels containing the slides had resided in a garage in the California desert, surviving 120 degree heat during the summers.  In all, over 9,000 slides were scanned, with stunning results, images that look as vibrant today as when they were shot, some over 65 hers ago.  Click here for a sample from my Uncle’s collection.

Teremtés by Márta Sebestyén

Some years ago, I stumbled upon an audio CD:  The Best of Márta Sebestyén, a Hungarian singer.  Her soothing vocals and folk instrumentations are a thing of beauty.  Of course, not speaking Hungarian, I had no idea what the lyrics or titles meant, that is, until now!  Here is the translation for the song Teremtés, which was written by Sebestyén:

Creation (Teremtés)

Let’s the man knead God from clay,

Who will create world for him,

Where the man could fold paperboat for himself

and can get away with it the Flood.

Always look for new shores

to become dry.

Always look for new shores,

Until the last tide will wash him away.

Always look for new shores

to become dry.

Always look for new shores,

Until the last tide will wash him away.


Here’s a cool thing:  Google the word Teremtés, and click on “Images”.