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Articles tagged with: Henwar Rodakiewicz

Ned Scott, unlikely candidate, becomes Hollywood photographer

on Saturday, 29 October 2011. Posted in News

Ned Scott was an unlikely candidate to join the ranks of still photographers in the mid 1930's. Practitioners of that unique art form achieved their positions after careful training in respected and well recognized national schools. Ned Scott never had such training. After becoming a member of the Camera Club of New York, a loosely organized non profit group of photographic enthusiasts, in 1930, Ned Scott befriended fellow members Paul Strand and Henwar Rodakiewicz and fell under the influence of Alfred Stieglitz. They stimulated him to travel to Ranchos Iglesia de Taos in New Mexico to create a photographic study of that iconic structure which he did in 1931. He also involved himself in commercial work in and around New York City. During the early years of the '30's, the Camera Club members critiqued his prints, offered suggestions, and honed his talent. It was with these connections that Scott began his first movie assignment, the Mexican funded but American produced and directed protest film “Redes” in 1934. His stills were so well received that once that production ended, he decided to tote his cameras to Hollywood to become a still photographer. He must have appeared a strange candidate to the established photographer ranks with his excellent recommendations but no formal training. Those wielding the large format cameras on Hollywood stages in the mid 1930's likely had little idea of Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz or remote churches in New Mexico. Theirs was a cloistered world. However, it was with Henwar's wide connections among film directors and producers that Scott got his first film job, “Spring Night” with Tania Tuttle in 1935. It wasn't long before he was asked to photograph “The Good Earth” in 1936, but at the last minute he was sidelined due to the fact that he had no union affiliation. Scott corrected that oversight, and more and more film assignments arrived, and Scott's reputation as a freelance stillman continued to strengthen. Only five years after beginning his career as a still photographer, Scott achieved the acclaim of his peers for a character portrait for the film “The Long Voyage Home” in 1940. And so the Camera Club member whose associates included some of the finest fine art photographers of the day stepped successfully and honorably into the world of Hollywood film production, straddling both worlds and finding satisfying achievement in each. Despite this early ringing success, Ned Scott felt something of the outsider among the ranks, a feeling which became magnified when he moved from Santa Monica Canyon to La Canada in 1940 due to health concerns of his wife, Gwladys.

Peter Stackpole photo of Ned Scott

Peter Stackpole photo of Ned Scott taken in 1940 Santa Monica

R.M. Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz: photographs found

on Thursday, 05 January 2012. Posted in News

The Rudolph M. Schindler house for Henwar Rodakeiwicz was designed and built in 1937. This house was located on Alto Cedro Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Schindler was known for his innovative use of space, light and form. Henwar likely chose him to design his house because Henwar, being first and foremost a photographer like Ned Scott, Paul Strand and Edward Weston, appreciated the expansive use of light combined with clarity of form. These were essences inherent in Schindler designs.

Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz

The sweeping, vaulted exterior glass panel was cutting edge for its day, and Schindler placed the house on the lot so that this exterior elevation faced the northeast to catch the early morning light. The stoic imprint of this panel with its attending lintels and offsets reflected Henwar's sense of purity, simplicity and order.

Northeast elevation Schindler house

The encompassing impact of the design, together with its setting, goes right to the heart of Henwar's creative spirit. A clue to this fact may be found in an April 1939 letter from Henwar to Ned Scott: Henwar distilled a definition of photography by saying "There is a language without words and so beautifully clear". This same definition can be applied to the design of his Schindler house. It speaks its own language just as a good photograph does.

Schindler house curve study

Living within the house was most likely more process than just mere experience. Interior spaces were suffused with outside scenery and natural forms, and new patterns were constantly forming and reforming within. As Henwar said in the same letter to Ned Scott, "It's funny, isn't it. The way some people work. With me it's 'eye' and direct to heart. With others it's ear to brain." So perception was not worth anything unless heart ruled at the core of everything. For Henwar, this is what Schindler's design captured.

Schindler house for Henwar Rodakiewicz

1932 New York Camera Club letter discusses Ned Scott's photographic art

on Sunday, 13 January 2013. Posted in News

The essence of Ned Scott's photographic art was discussed early in his career by New York Camera Club member Henwar Rodakiewicz in a letter he wrote to Ned Scott from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts after a Camera Club meeting in November, 1932. It was important to Henwar that Ned Scott's images were fresh, honest and straightforward. Looking at them gave Henwar a feeling and courage and well being. But beyond freshness and honesty--true attributes which he admired--conciseness was the most important thing about Ned's prints. That conciseness goes to the heart of what is good in photographic art: an unswerving and relentless thing which strikes deep within and "pierces the shrouds of confusion" and that that thing is said "in one steady flow". In a letter to Ned Scott written from Santa Fe in February, Paul Strand stated that clarity and singleness of purpose were essences of a good photograph, and he called Ned Scott "The most promising young photographer I know". Paul Strand was a Camera Club member in those days, and in 1933, he wrote to Ned Scott from Mexico discussing technical aspects of the Graflex 5 x 7 camera.

ranchos church taos

Ranchos Iglesia de Taos, 1931, photo by Ned Scott. It was prints like these which were discussed at New York Camera Club meetings in the early 1930's.