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Photography, Cinema, Memory: The Crystal Image of Time

Damian Sutton
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Photography, Cinema, Memory
    Book Description:

    Damian Sutton explores time in both cinema and photography to present a radical new understanding of the photographic image as always coming into being. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the crystal image to move beyond the tropes of immobility, stasis, and death, Sutton’s analysis reveals the open-endedness of time expressed in the photograph.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6782-6
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. 1-32)

    Vidocqwas not released in the United States, United Kingdom, or Australia. Amid speculation surrounding the development of digital technology in the production of mainstream cinema, the first film to be made entirely on high-definition digital video (using a Sony/Panavision CineAlta, serial number 000001) slipped by virtually unannounced.¹Vidocq(France, dir. Pitof, RF2K / Studio Canal / TF1, 2001) had a mixed critical reception in cinemas and on home video that suggested something else was amiss. Audiences found it difficult to relate to the juxtaposition of the grand vistas of Paris with the extreme close-ups that video allows and that...

    (pp. 33-64)

    In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1946 film,A Matter of Life and Death(UK, dir. Michael Powell, Rank/Archers, 1946; released in the USA asStairway to Heaven), pilot Peter Carter (David Niven) suffers brain damage after bailing out of his stricken plane over the North Sea. During his recovery, his position on Earth becomes hotly contested between the doctor trying to cure him (Roger Livesey) and the fantastical bureaucrats of the next world, whose oversight it was that caused him to survive the plane crash in the first place. As this battle of wits ensues, Carter is given over...

    (pp. 65-98)

    In a short film from 1901—the type commonly known as an actuality— a crowd of workers and their families are seen exiting a factory. They amble by, clearly amused, and choke the camera’s fixed gaze. A man struggles into the crowd and, obviously noticing the bottleneck out of shot, urges the crowd on past the camera.

    This is unlike many of the factory gate films that occupy a pivotal place in film history and its philosophy. The most famous,La sortie des usines Lumière,a film by the Lumière brothers in August 1894 of workers leaving their factory in...

    (pp. 99-134)

    In a New York street photograph from 1940, a group of children are gathered by the curbside. Two boys pick up the pieces of a broken dressing mirror that is held upright on the sidewalk, one of them bending with his back to the road in which he stands. Looking down at him is a small boy on a tricycle, who appears for a moment to be the larger boy’s reflection until the secret of the mirror is revealed—the glass has shattered completely, and the boy on the tricycle is peering from behind the frame. The camera is looking...

    (pp. 135-168)

    The interpretation of photographs comes easy to us. They are, after all, images of the real world that, at first glance, require little or no extraneous information. Ordinarily we expect only the most limited context for an image, and then only occasionally would we expect that context to be other images. Instead, we’re familiar with captions, image credits, lists of illustrations. We’re familiar with turning the pages of magazines, of family albums, of newspapers. In these situations, the act of looking at photographs is perfunctory. We have no time, no need, to examine the ways in which we interpret photographs...

    (pp. 169-200)

    My Hustler(USA, dir. Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol Films, 1965), starring Paul America, Genevieve Charbon, Ed Hood, and Joseph Campbell, was filmed in 1965 and shown intermittently until it had a general release in 1971.¹ It remains one of artist Andy Warhol’s most successful films, perhaps far more than much of his experimental work, and yet it is often overshadowed by his later Andy Warhol Productions films that he produced with Paul Morrissey. Its sparse, two-reel structure develops the aesthetic of both his “fixation films” and the more complex narrative and split-screen films he made with the model Edie Sedgwick....

    (pp. 201-236)

    The twenty-four-hour gesture behind Andy Warhol’sEmpirelurks beneath the history of the film as a work of art. The comprehensive nature of the attempt seems to match its elusiveness; it was a project doomed from the start, and yet this adds to its mystique. To engage in such a project now would be absurdly simple, as Wolfgang Staehle’s 2001 installationEmpire 24/7clearly suggests. Staehle’s installation involved a live image of the building streamed over an Internet connection via a webcam, a practice that became common as the Internet expanded in the late 1990s and the popular desire for...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 237-260)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 261-270)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 271-271)