Edward Hopper and the Movies

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Hopper’s The Balcony

Edward Hopper loved the movies and he reflected that love in many of his works. When Hopper was not in the mood to paint, he would frequently binge on going to the movies where he would sometimes find inspiration. However, unlike most people, for Hopper, movie going was not a communal experience. Instead, as his work bares out, he found isolation and solitude in theaters like he did in his most famous cinema theater painting, New York Movie (permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art), which shows an usherette standing alone under a light in a side hall just off the main auditorium.

hopper_1939_new_york_movieHopper’s New York Movie

Phillip French writes in his article, From Nighthawks to the Shadows of Film Noir how Hopper influenced film and the other way around. French writes how, “German expressionism impinged on Hopper early on, during his sojourn in Paris. His 1921 etching Night Shadows looks like a storyboard sketch for a high-angle shot in a Fritz Lang movie.” I myself see Lang’s silent classic, M.

2221_hopper-night-shadowsHopper’s expressionistic like Night Shadows

Many of Hopper’s works are voyeuristic; private moments in people’s lives (A Woman in the Sun, New York Interior, Office in a Small City).  Hopper’s influence on Alfred Hitchcock can be seen in Rear Widow (1953) where James Stewart’s photographer, stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg, sits by his bay window looking out the courtyard watching all the lonely people going about their lives in their apartments. You can see Hopper’s influence again during the opening credits of Psycho (1960) as Hitchcock’s camera moves from a wide view of the city and slowly zooms in on one  window where we discover Janet Leigh and John Gavin in an afternoon tryst.

hopper-night-windows-october-art-room Hopper’s Night Windows

rear-window-_-miss-torsoHitchcock’s Rear Window

In his most famous work, Nighthawks, Hopper was inspired after reading Ernest Hemingway’s short story, The Killers (1946), where two hitman comes to a small town diner looking to kill Burt Lancaster’s The Swede, a down and out boxer. When Universal Pictures and director Robert Siodmak turned the Hemingway story into a film, Siodmak certainly kept Hopper’s diner image in mind. Another sign of Hopper’s influence is seen in Force of Evil (1948). Screenwriter/director Abraham Polonsky, while on location in New York for his first film, took his cinematographer, George Barnes, to an exhibition of Hopper paintings and told him, that’s the way he wants the film to look.

nighthawksHopper’s Nighthawks

killers                                                       Robert Siodmak’s The Killers

Nighthawks would continue to influence filmmakers and other artists for years to come.  Director Herbert Ross used it as inspiration in his 1983 musical, Pennies from Heaven as did Todd Hayes in Far from Heaven (2002). Tom Waits third album, and his first live album, Nighthawks at the Diner, with a cover design by Cal Schenkel, was influenced by Hopper.  In 1984, artist Gottfried Helnwein did a pop version of Nighthawks called Boulevard of Broken Dreams replacing the everyday patrons in Hopper’s painting with pop icons James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart. The guy behind the counter is Elvis. Later Green Day used Helnwein’s title and created one of their best known songs.

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Edward Hopper was not a sociable man. He seems to have had little interest in communicating with or meeting people. Much of his art can be seen as the work of a man who lives within himself.

 

 

 

 

Our Photography is on Display at FMOPA

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I am excited to announce that both Dorothy and I have two photographs each as part of the Benefits Exhibit at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa. The exhibit and sale starts today at 4PM and runs through January 20th. This exhibit gives local artists the opportunity to display their work in a museum setting.

If you are in the area, I hope you will stop by and take a look.

 

 

Columns as Art

These columns stand in front of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native America Art in Santa Fe. The artist, Yatika Starr Fields, is of Cherokee/Creek/Osage heritage. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is the son of two artistic parents, Tom and Anita Fields. Fields work has been shown across the U.S. and internationally.

columns-museum-of-comtemporay-native-arts_dsc6606_cw-6603The color, the lines and pattern are what struck me and made me want to photograph it, hopefully adding a bit of my own vision to it in the way it was photographed.

Socorro, New Mexico in Black and White

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   Black and white photography has remained a passion with me over the years, though it has taken a backseat to my color work. When I first began to take photography seriously, more years ago than I care to remember, I shot mainly in black and white.  Since the age of digital, I have shot in color and only on occasion after taking a photograph and looking at it in Lightroom thought, wow, this would make for a good black and white shot. What I have not done in many years is go out specify with the intent to look for and photograph in black and white. That was about to change…

   On our recent trip to New Mexico we, my wife and I, drove down to Socorro, after spending a day and a half in Santa Fe (more about that in a future post).  Socorro is a small historical town about a good one hour drive south of Albuquerque straight down Interstate 25. The attraction was to go to the nearby Bosque Del Apache WLR which is a few miles outside of Socorro. We left Santa Fe on Wednesday morning.  Every year at this time, Bosque del Apache hosts their annual Festival of the Cranes which celebrates the fall migration of thousands of Sandhill Cranes back to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter. The festival is a week-long feast for nature photographers and birders of all levels. It filled with classes and guided tours led by knowledgeable instructors from all over the country.

   New Mexico, over the past dozen years or so, has been one of our favorite places to go at this time of year. Generally, we made our way to Bosque del Apache the week before the festival, avoiding the crowds, but still finding thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese as well as other birds and species at the refuge. A few year years ago we decided for the first time to go during the festival and signed up for a few classes. This year, after looking at the selection of classes, and finding three that we were excited about, we decided to  do it again. The first class was on Wednesday afternoon and would not take place at the refuge but in Socorro.  Led by Boston based photographer, Don Toothaker, it was called Socorro in Black and White (bet you were wondering when I was going to get back and make the connection to my opening paragraph, huh?).

  That afternoon, we spent walking around Socorro’s town square/plaza and its neighboring area looking for perspectives that lend itself to striking monochromatic images. One of the benefits of going with Don was he was able to gain access to photograph inside some of the various local buildings such as the historical Garcia Opera House, the 400 year old San Miguel Mission and a few other places that we would have not had access to otherwise. For me it was a chance to go back to my photographic roots (not to sound too dramatic) searching for images that lend itself to the art of black and white photography. Below are a few samplings.

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Photographer Jerry Uelsmann at FMOPA

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I became an admirer of Jerry Uelsmann’s work sometime in the 1970’s. I am  vague on how he first came to my attention. Like many photographers I discovered back then, It was either through an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York or an Aperture monograph of his work that I discovered in the Museum’s bookshop. Either way, I became an admirer of the artist’s work and have been ever since.  Uelsmann is a master of surrealistic images created in the darkroom. Using multiple negative images, many photographed specifically to be used as just one element of the final print,  he experiments, studying the possibilities until he arrive at the moment his imagination has been searching for.

Today with digital photography, photoshop and lightroom many photographers can create similar images in much less time rarely, if ever, as good. Despite the digital revolution, Uelsmann, now in his 80’s, continues to use the darkroom as his paintbrush.

I bring all this up because, currently on view at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in Tampa, Florida, an exhibit called Jerry Uelsmann: Undiscovered Self is on view. My wife and I went to see it yesterday afternoon and it reminded of how much and why I admire Uelsmann’s original and interpretive work.

The exhibit runs through December.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smoky Mountains in Tennessee

A recent trip to the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee yielded my latest  group of photographs, some of which I have posted below. The fall colors unfortunately were not at their peak, still it was a successful three days with nature and photography.

I am still working on my post processing, however, these photos and a few others are currently available for purchase on my website. Prints, T-shirts (All sizes and colors for men, women, kids and toddlers) Greeting Cards, Tote Bags, Portable Battery Charger, Phone Cases and more. Check it out at the link below.

http://1-john-greco.pixels.com/index.html

Tranquility”tranquility-6182-cw-6182

“Smoky Mountain Sunrise No. 2”smoky-mt-sunrise-dsc0405-_cw-6266

 “Autumn Reflection”fall-reflection_dsc6289-cw-6301