Capturing Life Behind the Lens

91 views 8:05 am 0 Comments October 14, 2023

Photography Documentaries

Authentic and captivating photography can be extremely powerful, particularly when it is documenting a specific issue or culture. This short film explores the world of paparazzo Ron Galella, who became renowned for his photographic exploits.

Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of the most recognizable names in landscape photography. This documentary showcases his work and discusses his philosophies on the art form.

The Eye of the Needle

A classic espionage thriller with some nice twists. This adaptation of a Ken Follett novel stars Donald Sutherland as the German spy Faber (his code name was Needle). He discovers the Allies’ plan to land troops on the coast of France during World War II and broadcasts this secret to his superiors. He is then shipwrecked on Storm Island where he meets a woman named Lucy, played by Kate Nelligan.

The movie does an excellent job of portraying the ruthless and cold-blooded character of Faber. It also has a heart-racing ending and some fine acting. It is a must see for any thriller lover.

In the Shadow of the Moon

With just ten men having ever set foot on the moon, this is an informative documentary that recounts NASA’s crewed missions, with particular emphasis on Apollo 11. The film includes interviews with all but one of the astronauts, as well as archival footage and news reports from the time.

Philadelphia doesn’t seem like a natural place for a detective story, so it’s interesting that Netflix decided to base their genre-mashing In the Shadow of the Moon there. The movie stars Boyd Holbrook as a determined Philadelphia cop obsessed with a serial killer who resurfaces every nine years. Director Jim Mickle (Cold in July, Hap and Leonard) gives the story an interesting look with its crisp aesthetics and well-choreographed action sequences. But the film becomes more earnest than it needs to be as its denouement approaches, with clumsy social and political commentary forced into the narrative.

The Cult of the Photographer

The cult of the photographer has been a fascinating subculture for decades. It’s not surprising since photography can be both an art form and a powerful tool for documenting culture, landscape and human emotion.

Photographers like Vivian Maier have a unique perspective on the world around them. This documentary reveals the life and work of this mysterious photographer who never shared her photographs while she was alive.

Avedon was a master of fashion and celebrity portraits who used photography to capture movement as it happened. This film explores his iconic images and the evolution of his style. His portraits are both beautiful and evocative, and he often compared the process to dancing. His minimalist images capture beauty and sorrow with equal intensity. The Leica camera he used looks as old as the photos themselves, but his modern point of view gives this art form new life.

The Night of Arthur Fellig

Usher Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), better known by his pen name Weegee, emigrated to the United States from Zoczow, now Zolochiv in Ukraine, in 1909. The family eventually settled in New York City’s Lower East Side.

Weegee built his reputation capturing nighttime mayhem like murder, fires and car accidents. But he also showed the more tender side of life, whether lovers embracing in a dark theater or children dancing in a fire hydrant’s spray.

Weegee was a freelance press photographer, racing to crime scenes before the police arrived. He had a sixth sense for what was happening—he said he tuned his radio to the police frequency and listened for sirens. He was never wrong. He captured society as it really was, without filters.

The Life of Annie Leibovitz

Whether it’s her famous portrait of Demi Moore pregnant or the transgender transition of Caitlyn Jenner, Leibovitz has had a remarkable impact on how we view our world. This documentary (directed by her sister) chronicles the arc of her career and how her photos have literally made history.

At age 23, Leibovitz landed her first big break when she approached founding editor Jann Wenner of rock music magazine Rolling Stone with a portfolio. Impressed with her, Wenner hired her as the publication’s chief photographer and she spent a decade photographing musical and counter-culture icons such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

After leaving Rolling Stone, Leibovitz found great success with Vanity Fair and Vogue. She continued to produce transformative images throughout her life, even putting on a show of her work at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

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