Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Manhattan in 1920 Through the Eyes of Charles Sheeler

Charles Sheeler
I was totally mesmerized by this video.  A friend sent it to me.  I had no idea when I started to watch that it was not just a video, but a wonderful time machine that could transport me back to the Manhattan of 1920 with all its vibrant optimism and self confidence.  You can virtually see industrial progress unfolding in every frame as everyday people go about their everyday, 1920 New York lives.

It's a silent film, with  rather poetic titles scattered through the footage that add to the beauty of the piece.  It is a real artistic gem-- the only film ever made by  American painter and photographer  Charles Sheeler, who is better known for his pioneering architectural photographs and  masterful precisionist paintings.  It was done in collaboration with his photographer and filmaker friend, Paul Strand, a major 20th century force in  getting photography recognized as an art form. NO wonder it is such a work of genius.


Flash said...

B&W is the perfect platform for conveying concentrated ambience and the text usage provides insight into the growth and evolution of English in 90 years.

pinkpackrat said...

great comment, Flash-- glad you like it:-)