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Articles tagged with: Paul Strand

A new book from Aperture Foundation publishes 22 Ned Scott images from Redes Film

on Wednesday, 02 June 2010. Posted in News

A new book from Aperture Foundation was published last Fall. The subject is Paul Strand's work in Mexico during the years 1932-34. James Krippner, a history professor at Haverford College in Pennsylvania is the author. Professor Krippner and I have been corresponding over a period of time concerning the making the Redes/The Wave in 1934. Since Ned Scott did the honors as still photographer for that production, Professor Krippner contacted me for research and photographic consult. The Aperture Foundation has devoted a full chapter of their new four chapter book to this film project, the first one Paul Strand was to attempt in his career. The book features 22 reprinted images from the Ned Scott's Redes film still files. The Ned Scott Archive supplied all the captions for the images. Fred Zinnemann called these images "classics" in his 1992 autobiography "Fred Zinnemann: An Autobiography: A Life in the Movies". Original Strand and Scott prints from the book were exhibited in New York as the book was released. A traveling exhibit will visit several cities around the globe in the coming months. Each volume contains a restored version of the film in DVD format.

This book is a prodigious, scholarly treatise of the subject matter. The printing is superb.

Three angry fishermen from Redes Film by Ned Scott

Three Angry Fishermen by Ned Scott

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

Martin Scorsese's WCF links to Ned Scott archive for film project

on Saturday, 25 February 2012. Posted in News

Martin Scorsese, through the World Cinema Foundation, has restored the 35mm film REDES which has been a cult favorite in art houses over the intervening 76 years since its release in 1936 in Mexico. This cultural protest film, one of the first of its kind in Mexico, features several firsts beyond the simple genre statement. It was the first major score for the Mexican composer Silvestre, it was the first Fred Zinnemann directed film, and it was the first Paul Strand produced film. The World Cinema Foundation, or WCF, patiently and quite expensively restored the film with its original English subtitles. Their painstaking work is superb, capturing the the distinct mood and feel of the original.

The WCF operations director, Mr. Doug Liable, had an interest in incorporating a number of Ned Scott's stills from the film to be placed as supporting material for a DVD extra which will be tied to the restored DVD. The Ned Scott Archive was happy to oblige. On this DVD extra, Professor James Krippner is interviewed about his new book "Paul Strand in Mexico", Aperture Foundation, 2010. One of the four chapters of this book deals with the production of "Redes", and he details the cultural aspects and production highlights of this film during the interview. While he is speaking, the Ned Scott stills from the movie will be presented in the background in a similar fashion to the process of a Ken Burns feature documentary.

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

Photo courtesy of World Cinema Foundation , Brigitte Lacombe, photographer

REDES film photo depicts religious art

on Sunday, 25 March 2012. Posted in News

Ned Scott was busy with his 5 x 7 Graflex while on assignment in Alvarado, Mexico for producer Paul Strand during filming of REDES/The WAVE in 1934. While not participating in film production, Ned Scott was free to roam the streets and shorelines of Alvarado with his camera. Among the many features he studied with his camera was the church in the center of town. What caught his eye were the religious icons placed prominently in the nave right next to the pulpit. Eight negatives survive of these religious figurines. The camera angles capture a sensitive and sympathetic aspect of each. What is not revealed in these images is Ned Scott's loathing of all organized religion, especially Catholicism. This deep seated hatred issues form his childhood when he was placed into British boarding schools during the First World War. He spoke only French, and being thrust into an Anglican or Catholic boys' school was a bitter experience indeed. He carried this throughout his life. And in 1931, when photographing Ranchos Iglesia in Taos, New Mexico, Ned Scott aligned a grave yard cross superimposed over the crosses of the church pediments--a clear statement of his sentiments toward religion as it relates to human life. But in Alvarado three years later, he had suspended these strong feelings long enough to perform a remarkably delicate and subtle treatment of the Christ and Mary figurines. Paul Strand had perhaps influenced him in the handling of the subject matter since he had created studies of such figures in other churches while there in Mexico in 1933. But there is no record of that possible connection.

madonna in Alvarado Church

Figurine in Alvarado church 1934 by Ned Scott

Redes film photo shows 1934 Alvarado architecture details

on Thursday, 07 June 2012. Posted in News

While stationed in Alvarado, Mexico in 1934 to shoot the Mexican film "REDES" in 1934, Ned Scott used his 5 x 7 Graflex camera to photograph architectural details of the town during his off-duty hours. James Krippner, a professor of history, wrote a book which discussed Paul Strand's work in Mexico from 1932-34 titled Paul Strand in Mexico, 1932-34. His research entailed a visit to Alvarado in early 2010. He communicated to me after the visit that Alvarado had changed completely from those heady and rich days of 1934. The town had lost its rural, semi-isolated flavor, and the structures had been updated. Ned Scott's images of the 1934 architectural details of the town reflect just what the life was like for its citizens, especially the fishermen.

It's a relaxed but highly textured matrix of buildings, residences, narrow dirt roads all surrounding the ubiquitous domed church, set on the estuary of the Papaloapan River. Hints of Greek and Roman classical styles are juxtaposed with wooden plank structures with rolled tin roofs or clay tile. The larger buildings are all government buildings, and the more well-to-do private residences front clay streets. Life was simple, and the economy of the town revolved around fishing for haddock.

dramed door

Framed doorway, Alvarado, Mexico, 1934 by Ned Scott

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