The Cabezon Dinosaurs are another weird tourist attraction I never took the time to appreciate when I lived in LA. Perhaps because it's more of a trap—a truck stop off the interstate jammed into a fast food junction—than an actual attraction. But it is very American. One of our great monuments built into a commercial experience and made holy by Hollywood. Plus I even managed to get some old-fashioned light-leak happening there, no iPhone app required.
I wanted to experiment with some high speed black and white film, so I got my hands on a roll of Ilford Delta 3200. Unfortunately the highest ISO my Mamia registers is 1600. So I set it at that and exposed down a full stop, then had the developers push process it. That's all kind of technical and boring.
The more interesting stuff is being able to shoot in really low lighting conditions. I mostly shot landscapes in the early evening around Wellington. The results are pretty contrasty. I don't mind the look, it's great for making everything gritty and noirish, but my portraits turned out a bit soft and blurry, so I probably should have used a tripod. It seems a single small light source is not quite enough light. But low ambient levels work well enough. I have one more roll, I'll need to think on a better strategy.
i recently read "the shadow of the wind" which is a beautiful novel originally written in spanish and takes place in 1950's barcelona. the story is set against the backdrop of fading youth in franco's spain. it is about falling in and out of both books and love, and the strange relationship between the two.
shortly after reading "the shadow of the wind" i came across a movie called "the spirit of the beehive," which similarly happens to be set in the period following the spanish civil war but ten years earlier, in 1940. the film revolves around the coming of age of young ana who becomes enamored with the figure of frankenstein after the film travels to her small town. the film is a very sweet, melancholy look at the way in which a young girl tries to understand the world around her. it is also beautifully realized and has a sort of dreamy, moody quality.
what i particularly enjoyed about both "the shadow of the wind" and "the spirit of the beehive" is that they are small intimate portraits of children struggling to make sense of growing up. and they are set in a period where a large epic struggle happens to be playing out in the background. while the war does not necessarily affect their everyday lives, it casts a long shadow that nonetheless shapes them in ways they do not quite understand. both stories come across as incredibly sensitive and capture the simultaneous feelings of love and loss.
photos by me, film stills from the spirit of the beehive rent it here in nz
this beautiful animation by andersen m studio really captures the feeling of climbing into a good book and getting lost. and along with maurice gee's prose, its mysterious moody quality reflects to me, the many landscapes of new zealand. i have not read "going west" by maurice gee, but it is definitely on my toread list now.
photos by me, video commissions by nz book council