vendredi 1 janvier 2010

...in the street, un film très rare co-signé helen levitt et james agee, merveille d'anonymat new yorkais


in the street (helen levitt, james agee, janice loeb, 1948)... la grande photographe helen levitt a longtemps été l'élève de walker evans...... c'est avec evans que james agee a composé louons maintenant les grands hommes, sublime partition images/mots, d'un lyrisme inouï ...

9 commentaires:

CroCnique a dit…

Superbe film qui est un peu une version animée du A Way of Seeing d'Helen Levitt !

skorecki a dit…

merci beaucoup de votre réponse, je suis nul en photographie ... mais j'adore agee et walker evans ... j'ai trouvé cette superbe préface à son livre, celui dont vous parlez (a way of seing, quel superbe titre) ... les photos sont restées sur google, on peut les consulter facilement, elles sont très belles, très étranges, surtout celles qui sont en couleurs ..


HELEN LEVITT
(August 31, 1913 - March 29, 2009)

James Agee's Forward to "A Way of Seeing"

Helen Levitt was born and educated in New York City. She made these photographs in New York in the 1940's. None of the photographs is intended as a social or psychological document. Several are records of street and sidewalk drawings; most of the others can best be described as lyrical photographs. In this book they are arranged, numbered but without captions, in an order suggested by the essay.

The mind and the spirit are constantly formed by, and as constantly form, the senses; and misuse or neglect the senses only at grave peril to every possibility of wisdom and well-being. The busiest and most abundant of the senses is that of sight. The sense of sight has been served and illuminated by the visual arts for as long, almost, as we have been human. For a little over a hundred years, it has also been served by the camera. Well used, the camera is unique in its power to develop and to delight our ability to see. Ill or indifferently used, it is unique in its power to defile and to destroy that ability. It is clear enough by now to most people, that "the camera never lies" is a foolish saying. Yet it is doubtful whether most people realize how extraordinarily slippery a liar the camera is. The camera Is just a machine, which records with impressive and as a rule very cruel faithfulness, precisely what is in the eye, mind, spirit, and skill of its operator to make it record. Since relatively few of its operators are notably well endowed in any of these respects, save perhaps in technical skill, the results are, generally, disheartening. It is probably well on the conservative side to estimate that during the past ten to fifteen years the camera has destroyed a thousand pairs of eyes, corrupted ten thousand, and seriously deceived a hundred thousand, for every one pair that it has opened, and taught.
(à suivre)

skorecki a dit…

it is in fact hard to get the camera to tell the truth; yet it can be made to, in many ways and on many levels. Some of the best photographs we are ever likely to see are innocent domestic snapshots, city postcards, and news and scientific photographs. If we know how, moreover, we can enjoy and learn a great deal from essentially untrue photographs, such as studio portraits, movie romances, or the national and class types apotheosized in ads for life insurance and feminine hygiene. It is a good deal harder to tell the truth, in this medium, as in all others, at the level of perception and discipline on which an artist works, and the attempt to be "artistic" or, just as bad, to combine "artistry" with something that pays better, has harmed countless photographs for every one it has helped, and is harming more all the time. During the century that the camera has been available, relatively few people have tried to use it at all consistently as an artist might, and of these very few indeed could by any stretch of courtesy be called good artists. Among these few, Helen Levitt is one of a handful who have to be described as good artists, not loosely, or arrogantly, or promotively, but simply because no other description will do.
In every other art which draws directly on the actual world, the actual is transformed by the artist's creative intelligence, into a new and different kind of reality: aesthetic reality. In the kind of photography we are talking about here, the actual is not at all transformed; it is reflected and recorded, within the limits of the camera, with all possible accuracy. The artist's task is not to alter the world as the eye sees it into a world of aesthetic reality, but to perceive the aesthetic reality within the actual world, and to make an undisturbed and faithful record of the instant in which this movement of creativeness achieves its most expressive crystallization. Through his eye and through his instrument the artist has, thus, a leverage upon the materials of existence which is unique, opening to him a universe which has never before been so directly or so purely available to artists, and requiring of his creative intelligence and of his skill, perceptions and disciplines no less deep than those required in any other act of aesthetic creation, though very differently deprived, and enriched.
The kind of beauty he records may be so monumentally static, as it is in much of the work of Mathew Brady, Eugene Atget, and Walker Evans, that the undeveloped eye is too casual and wandering to recognize it. Or it may be so filled with movement, so fluid and so transient, as it is in much of the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and of Miss Levitt, that the undeveloped eye is too slow and too generalized to foresee and to isolate the most illuminating moment. It would be mistaken to suppose that any of the best photography is come at by intellection; it is, like all art, essentially the result of an intuitive process, drawing on all that the artist is rather than on anything he thinks, far less theorizes about. But it seems quite natural, though none of the artists can have made any choice in the matter, that the static work is generally the richest in meditativeness, in mentality, in attentiveness to the wonder of materials and of objects, and in complex multiplicity of attitudes of perception, whereas the volatile work is richest in emotion; and that, though both kinds, at their best, are poetic in a very high degree, the static work has a kind of Homeric or Tolstoyan nobility, as in Brady's photographs, or a kind of Joycean denseness, insight and complexity resolved in its bitter purity, as in the work of Evans; whereas the best of the volatile work is nearly always lyrical.
It is remarkable, I think, that so little of this lyrical work has been done; it is perhaps no less remarkable that, like nearly all good photographic art, the little that has been done has been so narrowly distributed ...
(à suivre sur google)

skorecki a dit…

pour la suite de la préface de james agee sur a way of seing:
http://www.americansuburbx.com/2009/03/theory-helen-levitt-way-of-seeing.html

peter a dit…

There is a sort of Joycean "tous les matins du monde" quality to the film.

Bill Brandt was another great photographer.

skorecki a dit…

bb, yes ... and robert frank, raymond dytivon, brassaï , man ray, lewis caroll, bonnard,august sander .... ... ....
(there's a beautiful film about bill brandt, directed by the great steve dwoskin)

skorecki a dit…

.. je suggère de couper le son

peter a dit…

Let's not forget Vertov's Man With a Movie Camera.

françoise a dit…

Je suis une fan d'Helen Levitt, et je ne savais pas où trouver ce film!
Merci, merci!


" invraisemblable ou pas, crois-moi, c'est la vérité -et il n'y en a pas deux ..."