fb icon

Articles tagged with: Ned Scott

Character portrait from "Long Voyage Home" movie exhibited by Academy 1940

on Friday, 07 October 2011. Posted in News

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Ned Scott's character photography in a 1940 exhibit curated and mounted in their building in Hollywood, California. The exhibit was called "Stars in Camera Art". I only discovered this mounted 11 x 14 Academy print very recently, and it was offered for sale. I knew that my father worked director John Ford's film "The Long Voyage Home", the origin of this print, but I never knew that one of his character photographs from the film would become the subject of such high level acclaim by the film industry. This item was never discussed around the house when I was growing up, and it should have been. What I learned as a young boy, long after my father left the business, was that his work was outstanding but it yielded little personal reward. No breaks came his way. This fine display print, kept so well over 71 years, shatters that myth. Proof now exists that he had the respect of his peers early in his career. It's about time.

The subject matter of this display photograph is "Cocky", the sometimes irascible but always lovable mess steward aboard the merchant vessel SS Glencairn. Actor Barry Fitzgerald played the part. Ned Scott captured these qualities perfectly in his portrait study of Fitzgerald's character. Ned Scott's dramatic flair lent gravity and purpose to the character portrayal. Lighting was soft and frontal with little background except a dark slate which sets off the white jacketed uniform of the mess steward. The black tie which Cocky is adjusting in a cranky gesture harmonizes with the black background of the photograph, linking the forms together in a eye-pleasing whole. The overall effect of the actor's gestures and facial expression is emphasized by the interaction of white forms and black forms manipulated by Ned Scott. One tends to remember this photograph long after viewing it.

Newly discovered movie Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios in 1948

on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Posted in News

My research has uncovered a photograph which Ned Scott created for the 1948 movie "The Return of October". No prior evidence existed that Ned Scott worked this film. The movie stars Glenn Ford and Terry Moore, Albert Sharpe and James Gleason. It was directed by Joseph H. Lewis and produced by Rudy Mate for Columbia Studios. Ned Scott participated in five Glenn Ford films for Columbia Studios. He had just finished the film "Gilda" with Ford and Rita Hayworth before taking on this assignment. This film is a comedy which plods along in a predictable manner of the genre and time. At least one reviewer found it to be quaint and fun. The location shots took place at Santa Anita Race Track and residential environs, thus lending a certain authenticity to the production and grounding for the characters. My father never spoke of his times at Santa Anita, perhaps because he was not taken with the aura of gambling and the spectacle of the race track. It would be typical of him.

newly discovered 1947 movie Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios

on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Posted in News

My research has just revealed a 1947 movie that Ned Scott photographed for Columbia Studios called "The Guilt of Janet Ames". The movie stars Rosalind Russell, Melvyn Douglas, Sid Caesar and Nina Foch. The film is directed by Henry Levin for Columbia. The general theme of this drama is that one cannot escape the vicissitudes of life despite all the good intentions and grand efforts of psychoanalysts and good friends. Life is just one step ahead at every turn. The psychological downside holds dangers such as long standing resentment which can alter one's perception of reality, especially one's own. My father saved one 11 x 14 oversize print from this film in his own collection--a portrait of Russell. My sister has the print in her collection. Up to this point in my research, no clue as to the origin of the print existed. Now I can marry the print with its film origin, a satisfying moment for me as researcher.

Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas

Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas in "The Guilt of Janet Ames" by Ned Scott

Character actor Charlie Arnt teams up with Ned Scott to produce portfolio 1936

on Monday, 07 November 2011. Posted in News

Character actor Charlie Arnt and Ned Scott developed a portfolio of character roles in 1936. The chief objective of this effort was the promotion of Charlie Arnt as a specialty actor. It turned out that Ned Scott used it for his own promotional purposes as well. The characters which Arnt portrayed reflected the cultural and political atmosphere of the time. Bums, tramps and hobos are depicted as well as drunks, yokels, country boys, and beach bums. A Nazi appears along with a despotic plantation overseer. Since trains were the preferred mode of getting around the country in the mid 1930's, the nervous train station clerk and station master show up. A cowboy and a country vet appear. In the varied world of criminal activity of the day, gangsters of several types fill the frame wielding knives or nearly being knifed at the behest of the crime boss. There's an insomniac and a hen-pecked husband. There's even a French military general whose fate is sealed by the firing squad. A smooth talking hustler and a carnival barker have their day. The profligate womanizer. And the magician. And the bartender, both legit and speakeasy types.

After 1940, Ned Scott and Charlie Arnt were neighbors, living on the same road in La Canada, California only three doors away from each other. Charlie's son Derek and I were friends before the the family moved away to Orcas Island, Washington in the early 1950's. I remember Charlie as being a very warm and funny guy who never failed to be the crowd pleaser wherever he went. I remember Charlie had a basset hound who was fond of howling at the full moon. It drove my father crazy!

Charlie Arnt as the vagabond

Charactor actor Charlie Arnt as the vagabond 1936 by Ned Scott

Self Portrait of Ned Scott as a young man

on Sunday, 13 November 2011. Posted in News

It is highly likely that Ned Scott created this self portrait during the year 1931, right after joining the Camera Club of New York. I do not yet know just how or under what circumstances my father joined that august group of photographers in 1930, but I do know that he used his Graflex 5 x 7 to shutter this image of himself. It was the same camera he used to shoot his 1931 photographic study of famed New Mexico church Ranchos Iglesia de Taos, a task which fell to many of the members of the Club. As a matter of fact, Paul Strand made his own study in the same year, one of several he was to do in the 1930's. I look at this self portrait of my father these many years later, and he appears a stranger to me. When I was growing up as a young boy, I saw a very different man. What I remember most about him was a consuming warmth which radiated from him in a quiet and firm way. There was not a trace of the stern aloofness masking a touch of anger, or perhaps hauteur which is on view in this portrait. I never knew this man. Life changed him in a better way and he became more open to life, excited about the world around him, and eager to express himself creatively. Letters he was to write in 1935, just four years later, confirm that this change was firmly underway. And so by the beginning of his years in Hollywood as a still photographer, this new man's photographic eye cast a more accepting, encompassing and respectful gaze on his subjects. At the time Ned Scott snapped this photo of himself, he was seven years from creating the most iconic of John Wayne photos ( movie Stagecoach) and fifteen years from making the most famous of the photos of Rita Hayworth (Down to Earth). The man in this photgraph would never have had the subtlety to bring out the nuances of a refined Hollywood character actor or the graceful essence of a natural beauty.

Ned Scott self portrait

A self portrait of Ned Scott as a young man of 25

Adele Jergens photo from "Blondie's Anniversay" recovered

on Tuesday, 29 November 2011. Posted in News

It has just come to light that Ned Scott photographed "Blondie's Anniversary" for Columbia Pictres in 1947. The film starred Penny Singleton, Arthur Lake and Larry Simms. The film was directed by Abby Berlin. This film is a series film based on Chic Young's comic book characters from his strip "Blondie" which began newspaper syndication in 1938. There were many preceding films in this series before this one in 1947. It's a comedy as one would expect, and it utilizes many unintended miscues which so often characterize the life of Blondie. These miscues lead to several hilarious turns of events which eventually culminate in happy resolution for the characters. But for Ned Scott, the role played by Adele Jergens (Gloria Stafford, a bank president's secretary) offered excellent photographic opportunities. Judging by the number and high quality of the prints Ned Scott saved of Adele Jergens in his own personal collection, I can conclude that he enjoyed working with the actress whenever he had the chance. I know he found her easy to work with because she photographed so well in many different roles. Her chief asset was her long blond and wavy hair, and this feature is highlighted in many of the prints he saved. Sitting in his collection is a 16 x 20 print from this movie, and before I found this print below on Ebay auction, I did not have any idea as to the source movie for the large print. Notice the earrings, they were the decisive clue, along with the dress. The large collection print and the Ebay auction print display the same setting and garb, clinching the fact that they were both from the same photo session for Ned Scott.

Adele Jergens in "Blondie's Anniversary"

Adele Jergens photo from "Blondie's Anniversary" by Ned Scott

Janis Carter photo illustrates quality of Ned Scott's personal prints

on Saturday, 14 January 2012. Posted in News

A recently acquired photo of Janis Carter by Ned Scott dramatically illustrates the vast difference between Ned Scott's own personal prints and the prints created by the photographic labs at Columbia Studios. These lab-made prints were often made at night from negatives created the day before, and they served a number of important and specific purposes for the Hollywood film making industry. Ned Scott detailed this topic in an article he wrote for publication in the Complete Photographer in 1943. The chief point to make, however, is that while these were crucial to the success of a film, they were poorly made prints. Professionals often referred to them with some contempt as "glossies" because they were printed on cheaper resin coated paper. Contrast and tonal quality were mediocre, or flat. When Ned Scott decided to print from one of his negatives for his own collection, these factors came into play in a big way. Ned Scott used four labs around the city of Los Angeles to create large display prints for him. If he could not be on hand to make them himself, he gave the technicians specific instructions for printing. The results were spectacular. These two images of Janis Carter, taken at Ned Scott's own residence in La Canada, California, embody this quality of his prints. The blacks of the prints are rich, deep and resonant.

Janice Carter with coral fan

This image was posed with a black coral fan which for may years took the place of honor in display above Ned Scott's fireplace mantel between two Tridacna (giant clam) shells given to him by Vallejo Gantner. The photo of Janice Carter with the glass-topped table emphasizes the point of black resonancy even more.

Janice Carter with glass table

The quality of these two prints quickly becomes evident when compared to a similar image from another negative Ned Scott created during the same photo shoot. This print was created by the studio lab at Columbia without consideration for tonal range and contrast.

Leopold Stokowski letter located

on Thursday, 22 March 2012. Posted in News

Loepold Stokowski sent this letter to Ned Scott on September 10, 1934 while Scott was still in Alvarado filming REDES. Though there is no record what image Ned Scott sent to Stokowski which called forth the comment about Vera Cruz, one can surmise that Scott snapped a photo there before his final leg of his journey to Alvarado, 50 miles to the south. Peggy Bok, former wife of Curtis Bok, was the mutual friend who introduced Scott to Stokowski, no doubt earlier in 1934 while Scott was still in New York city. Ned Scott was a keen aficionado of fine classical music, as was Henwar Rodakiewicz. Meeting and becoming friends with renowned conductor Leopold Stokowski surely must have been a very large thrill for Ned Scott.

Later on in 1940 when Ned Scott built his new house in La Canada, California, he incorporated a high energy sound system into his living room area. The living room measured 36 x 21 feet, and the height was a full 13 feet. One could say that that room was built for music. Ned Scott had a close friend from the Hollywood studios whose specialty was "sound technician". He and his friend would spend many afternoons tweaking the system for maximum performance. This was high tech for the time. The sound equipment was built from scratch, incorporating a short wave radio, a main amplifier and two pre-amps, two 12 inch woofers and one 8 horned tweeter. It was fabulous.

l. stokowski

Ned Scott platinum printing photo discovered

on Thursday, 03 May 2012. Posted in News

Ned Scott's favorite method of printing his negatives was to use platinum paper from the Platinotype Company in London. He felt that platinum paper was the truest representation of his negatives, and this was especially evident in the black tones in the images. Obtaining this paper was difficult as well as expensive. There was no representative or photo supply company in Los Angeles which carried the paper in stock. It was necessary to buy straight from the factory in London. It was the mid-thirties, and purchasing such a specialty item from London took time to organize. Purchase orders had to be executed in writing, and posting these in letter form was slow even with newly established overseas air mail routes. Paying customs fees or "duty" was 30% of the purchase price, and Ned Scott sought to avoid that whenever he could. Obstacles abounded for avid users of platinum paper, a factor which we cannot appreciate today. But Ned Scott persisted in his relentless quest for this excellent paper, and he purchased as much as he could prior to the closing of the Platinotype Company in June of 1937.

Connie McCabe, Head of Photograph Conservation at the National Museum of Art in Washington, D.C., has recently shared many of the particulars of platinum paper, particularly the warm japine black form. The Archive has supplied her with correspondence and documents from Ned Scott's platinotype file. She will be giving a talk on this subject at the May 11 meeting of the American Institute of Conservation in Albuquerque.

Printing platinum paper always involved the use of sunlight as the light source. These prints were not made in a darkroom.

Ned Scott platinum printing

Ned Scott laying out his Platinum Print holders for developing in the sun, 1940-41

Redes film letter by Gunther von Fritsch discovered

on Wednesday, 01 August 2012. Posted in News

Life Magazine published a pictorial essay on REDES film on May 10, 1937. The film had just been released in the United States, some two years after its Mexican release. Both Gunther von Fritsch and Ned Scott reacted to this essay in letters, making the point that little recognition was given by Strand to the REDES film collaborators. They were both seized by a righteous fury. No mention was made of Ned, Fred Zinnemann, Henwar Rodakiewicz, Gunther or any of the Mexican contributors to the film.

The Life article described the published photographs as "some of the loveliest photographs ever to come out of Mexico or motion pictures." It then went on to point out that "the photographer who produced The Wave (REDES film) is Paul Strand, one of the best U.S. cameramen alive." A casual reader will make the assumption from reading these two lines that Paul Strand created the stills which fill the pages of the article. Only by checking the credits toward the end of the magazine pages will one find that Ned Scott made these photographs. But hardly anyone is likely to do such a search, especially when the writer of the article leaves the reader with the impression that Strand was the maker of the stills.

Gunther von Fritsch letter

[12  >>