Episode 109 - TURNING THE TABLES - 1917 (3 replies and 4 comments)
Team Deakins gets the tables turned on us led by esteemed still photographers, Alex Webb (Episode 30) and Rebecca Norris Webb. They ask us questions about the film 1917. We talk about the one-shot concept and how we worked to not make it a gimmick. We examine the choice of camera and lens and we compare this choice in still work and motion picture. We talk about collaboration, the last shot of 1917 and the trees that book ends the movie. We also speak of the impossibility to explain the power of a photo. We even got into a little discussion of the lighting of the film Chinatown! It’s a fun episode you won’t want to miss!
Please post further discussion and comments below.
Hello Team Deakins,
Episode 109 was so informative to listen to. I was very curious when you mentioned the photographer Frank Hurley and how his work gave you an idea of what WWI was like. Did you somehow come across this image when researching? When I saw it I couldn't help but think about the dogfight/ crash scene.
This image also reminded me of when Blake and Schofield were going through No-man's-land, particularly the haze in the background.
Any comments are greatly appreciated!
The lower shot is a very well known image, in the UK if nowhere else. I wouldn't say Hurley's photographs gave me an idea of what WW1 was like. Firstly, that implies a photograph alone could give one an understanding of a war. And secondly, that I had no previous knowledge of the war, which is certainly not the case. Could a photograph or photographs give more of a sense of the war than the poetry of Wilfred Owen, Sassoon and Rupert Brooke; the autobiographic novel 'Good-bye to All That' by Robert Graves or the more recent works of fiction by Pat Barker? I doubt it. But we certainly used Hurley's images as well as those of many others as visual references.
I guess when I said "gave you an idea" I meant it as being a visual reference to when you were working on the film. As you kind of say, getting an understanding of war from an image would be difficult. I had never heard of Frank Hurley, and to hear you mention his story was quite fascinating, and then to see his stunning images was valuable for me. When you say 'we' to referencing Hurley's images, is that only you and Sam? I know you mentioned on the podcast that other people working on the film did research. How do those members relate to you as a DP?
Frank Hurley is one of my favourite photographers, I have a whole collection of his photos. The top photo is a ‘fake’, it was cleverly put together to show how it could have looked. The aircraft, flak, bomb bursts were added to a training film of troops climbing out of the trenches.
Capturing war action images with a 5x4 plate camera Is near impossible, hence the attemp to ‘fake’ it. Leica 35mm roll film changed all that in WW2.
I see... I guess now that you mention that I do seem to notice its fake look.
Hurley most famous for his plates from the Shackleton expedition but I find it so interesting that he went from four years in the Antarctic to Ypres (he resigned his post as he was told not to produce composite shots) and later ended up filming in the Middle East during WW11. A life lived to the full.
I thought the exact same thing as you were describing it on the podcast. Such an interesting change of scenery that happened so fast.
Thank you for the responses!