Strand - Under the Dark Cloth
Strand - Under the Dark Cloth
IDFA 1990

Strand - Under the Dark Cloth

John Walker
81 min
Festival history
"I never look for the things that I photograph. They find me. If I see something, then it is because it is outside of me and not inside me, it stops me in my tracks and quietly but insistently says: "Look at me, look at this over there"".
Paul Strand (1890-1976) is one of the most important photographers of this century. He was an artist who early in his career broke off with the romantic tradition. This dominant movement in photography utilized picturesque arrangements, semi-artistic effects, and nostalgic atmospheric images. The style that Paul Strand used in 1915 was sober, he used an objective aestheticism that directly addressed the public. His photographs illustrated his view of the present.
The revolutionary innovations in painting by Picasso and Braque did not go by unnoticed by Strand. He did not restrict himself to portraits but also concentrated on abstract images of merely photogenic forms. He made shots of nature using an extreme close-up lens, and photo-studies of machines and other mechanical constructions. Another aspect of his talent was perfected in photographs showing the merciless sides of city life. At the same time, Strand applied his visual talent in the short film manahatta, the first American avant-garde documentary.
The film strand - under the dark cloth is a technically perfect portrait of an intriguing and influential artist. Director John Walker has seized the opportunity to place Strand' work in history and to give him the chance a revenge the fact that he was often underestimated.
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