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Nostalgia Films: A New Breed of Film

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Amidst a raging torrent of smarmy self-aware postmodern / post-postmodern film, a new sub-genre has been emerging in recent years: that of the “nostalgia” film. I posit that “nostalgia film” is a distinct sub-genre and can be separated from both postmodern / post-postmodern film and reboot / franchise film.

Photography: 13 Days of Unusual Shots With Vintage Glass

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As part of a project to force myself to expand my artistic horizons (as well as my technical competence) in the field of photography, I’m forcing myself to try to use one of my vintage manual lenses – without the aid of focus assist or peaking of any sort – to take pictures which are out of my standard comfort zone*, and to get at least one “keeper” shot to exhibit for each day, starting on the Fourth of July. I am updating this post with both copies of the photos, as well as meta-data and links to the originals on Flickr.

* “Out of my standard comfort zone” is a subjective measurement. Hopefully these captures won’t be subjects or framings which I’ve heavily relied upon in the past, but as everything is derivative in _some_ sense, I guarantee nothing.

Exploiting Flaws in Vintage Glass

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Modern lenses (glass) have been manufactured in an increasingly flawless way, attempting to achieve optical perfection. I’d like to delve into the potential of using older “vintage” glass specifically to exploit the inherent imperfections present in those lenses.

Downton Abbey: Camera Stabilization as a Storytelling Tool

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The acclaimed BBC/PBS Masterpiece Theater series Downton Abbey has been lauded for its period-accurate settings and for a heretofore unseen look at the non-affluent parts of historical life around the English aristocracy. I’d like to look at Downton Abbey’s use of camera stabilization as an effective storytelling tool.

Opensource Contact Sheets for Photographers

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One of the disadvantages to being a pretty active photographer is trying to handle archiving old shoots and being able to quickly locate a certain shot amongst thousands of directories of RAW stills, which may not be present on your local media. Enter the humble contact sheet.

Why "Gotham" Succeeds Where Other Prequels Fail

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I have been known to outwardly hate prequel films. This is, in no small part, due to them tending to be terrible. It should come as little shock that I was extremely reticent about watching Gotham, DC’s attempt at a prequel story for the Batman franchise. As I have defended in past, the Batman origin story is the greatest origin story in film, and attempting to undertake it in a way which would not result in extreme disappointment for aficionados of the canon seemed dodgy, at best.

I was very, very wrong – and I’d like to examine why.

Layers of Canon and the Batman

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One of the concepts which has been intriguing me over the last few weeks has been the concept of multiple layers of canon existing over many works in an overarching canon.

The Batman mythos comprises more than 70 years of collective canon built on a foundation of comics, films, television series, and other works of fiction; as it spans multiple mediums and auteurs, it seems an ideal system to examine for the phenomenon of nested canon.

The Usual Suspects: Mirroring the Outer Story

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One of my favorite thematic plot devices in the medium of film has been “inner story mirrors outer story” (especially across epistemic layers). Bryan Singer’s 1995 neo-noir classic The Usual Suspects is told through a series of flashbacks – and manages to use this thematic device to great advantage.

WARNING: There be spoilers here. If you’re one of the small group of people who haven’t actually watched The Usual Suspects yet, go watch it, then read on. Seriously. Don’t spoil this for yourself.