Thursday, April 8, 2010

Up Close and Personal

There's plenty of footage which reveals the social history of the Victorian and Edwardian Eras. Enough in fact to drown in.

This tiny film fragment seems to get up close and personal in a way most do not. As you watch, you have the strongest palpable sense of the personalities of those in the group portrait being taken.

There is to be the genial but nevertheless firm and authoritative family patriarch, 'the general' (suitably in the centre). His appropriately more spontaneous and genial wife (bottom left). The dashing and somewhat rakish son (back right) who seems he'd be up for it at a moment's notice. And his unsuspecting wife (top right). A stolid jovial aunt (second top left) and her more nervous but empathetic sister. And finally the grand daughter who finds it all a bit of a lark - and who tries to communicate this to another patrician figure, perhaps her great uncle (to her left).

A breeze momentarily flutters the women's clothing to life. And we are in the moment.

What I particularly like is that this record sits nicely half way between photograph and film, and between the formal and casual ...

... and that everyone seems to be having great fun participating in the new medium.

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