Still Images Can Tell Stories

Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436
edited July 2018 in Carrara Discussion

"Every Picture Tells A Story, Don't It"  sang Rod Stewart (geezer reference).  I really enjoy still images that convey a story, and this is one of my favorties:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighting_Temeraire

"The composition of this painting is unusual in that the most significant object, the old warship, is positioned well to the left of the painting, where it rises in stately splendour and almost ghostlike colours against a triangle of blue sky and rising mist that throws it into relief."

I think this carries over into videos, an example being John Ford's "The Searchers" with John Wayne.  "In the last shot of 'The Searchers,' the camera, from deep inside the cozy recesses of a frontier homestead, peers out though an open doorway into the bright sunshine. The contrast between the dim interior and the daylight outside creates a second frame within the wide expanse of the screen. Inside that smaller space, the desert glare highlights the shape and darkens the features of the man who lingers just beyond the threshold.  ... our last glimpse of (the hero) emphasizes his solitude, his separateness, his alienation — from his friends and family, and also from us."  (NYTimes)  

http://screenprism.com/assets/img/article/_1080x400/Searchers_Ethan_Edwards.png

Post edited by Steve K on

Comments

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 11,945

    I agree wholeheartedly. 

     

    Here is a different category but the same sentiment applied.  Data visualization.  One of my favorite stats things is Tufte's depiction of Napoleon's march to and from Moscow.  I can't link to it because it is for commercial sale, but if you seach for   Tufte data visualization Napoleon    you will find it easily.  Clearly conveys so much information in a single frame, it is amazing.

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    Yes, I've seen that map and agree it's very impressive.  "The Minard Map - 'The best statistical graphic ever drawn'  "  (BigThink.com)  Apparently Hitler never saw it, or he might have reconsidered invading Russia.  In the winter.  As a second front.  (It did not end well.)
    A related example to me is the London Tube Map, now widely recognized and copied, but it was not always so.  "In the early 1930's, Britain's Underground was in a bit of a mess. The managing director remembered a suggestion from a 29-year-old engineering draftsman. He had produced an underground diagram which might just solve the technical complexity of the system and even better, please the British public that suddenly could figure out where they wanted to go and how they might get there. Here is the story of how its railways got their act together, believe it or not, based on straight lines."  ("Mr. Beck's Underground Map: A History", Amazon.com)  You  might think it was easy to lay it out, but Mr. Beck spent many hours trying various representations for complex interchanges.  Many years ago, my wife & I spent a vacation in London, and without the Tube Map, we would probably still be there, searching for our hotel.  We had the A to Z London Street Atlas, which might as well have been a Pollock painting.  "Unlike streets in the US, London's roads do not follow a logical numbering system (or even a logical system, for that matter!), so navigating you and your family around the maze of dead-ends and one-way streets can be a nightmare!"  (Amazon)

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,470
    Steve K said:

    "Every Picture Tells A Story, Don't It"  sang Rod Stewart (geezer reference).  I really enjoy still images that convey a story, and this is one of my favorties:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighting_Temeraire

    "The composition of this painting is unusual in that the most significant object, the old warship, is positioned well to the left of the painting, where it rises in stately splendour and almost ghostlike colours against a triangle of blue sky and rising mist that throws it into relief."

    I think this carries over into videos, an example being John Ford's "The Searchers" with John Wayne.  "In the last shot of 'The Searchers,' the camera, from deep inside the cozy recesses of a frontier homestead, peers out though an open doorway into the bright sunshine. The contrast between the dim interior and the daylight outside creates a second frame within the wide expanse of the screen. Inside that smaller space, the desert glare highlights the shape and darkens the features of the man who lingers just beyond the threshold.  ... our last glimpse of (the hero) emphasizes his solitude, his separateness, his alienation — from his friends and family, and also from us."  (NYTimes)  

    http://screenprism.com/assets/img/article/_1080x400/Searchers_Ethan_Edwards.png

    the title tells a story too - the essence of illustration is for the image to illuminate the narrative - not that you'd call Turner an 'illustrator' :)

     

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436
    head wax said:
    Steve K said:

    the title tells a story too - the essence of illustration is for the image to illuminate the narrative - not that you'd call Turner an 'illustrator' :)

    Yes, the title is very much a part of the painting.  I think it mostly moves the British folks who consider Trafalgar a high point in their history.  But as a big fan of Nelson and his navy, I find it pretty moving also.  

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    Speaking of maps, a while back I found a great online resource, the "David Rumsey Map Collection". 

     
    "The David Rumsey Map Collection Database has many viewers and the Blog has numerous categories. The physical map collection is housed in the David Rumsey Map Center at the Stanford University Library.  The historical map collection has over 86,000 maps and related images online. The collection includes rare 16th through 21st century maps of America, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific, Arctic, Antarctic, and the World.  Popular collection categories are data visualization, celestial, antique atlas, globe, school geography, maritime chart, state atlas, county atlas, city atlas, pocket, wall & case, children's, and manuscript maps. Search examples: Pictorial maps, United States maps, Geology maps, California maps, Afghanistan maps, America maps, New York City maps, Chicago maps, and U.S. Civil War maps. Browse  map categories: What, Where, Who, When."


    Most of the maps are available for download in a number of resolutions up to very large, and as I read it, okay for non-commercial reuse under a Creative Commons license (but check for yourself what the website says).  I particularly like some of the "pictorial maps", such as a City Atlas of San Francisco circa 1895.  Sort of like Google Earth's Street View, but using drawings.  "Extremely rare, unusual directory made up of drawn illustrations of the building street fronts and business establishments of every building on the blocks of the downtown area of San Francisco. Almost all of these buildings were destroyed by the fire of 1906. Published in 11 parts in 1894 and 1895, this copy is complete."

  • FlashGarciaFlashGarcia Posts: 467
    edited July 2018

    Steve K

    That City Atlas of San Francisco circa 1895 sounds interesting. I lived in San Francisco for about a year, in the early 1970s, during my "pinko" Trotskyite/Gramscian radical days. I went crazy traveling on the Bart Rapid Transit system which at that time was relatively new, The Bart subway system was like something out of a Science Fiction film at that time, super fantastic. Nothing like that in LA (Blade Runner) which is a nightmare city of horrible rapid transit and way too many cars. LA can now substitute for the capital of Hell, a dystopia beyond belief.

    I have been a conservative for a long time now, so those youthful "pinko" days are just an eye roller and a laugh.

    I like paintings and CG renders that tell a story too, or hint at some unraveling of a mystery or maybe even the impossibilty of that unraveling. Many old Surrealist images are filled with "meaning/reality puzzles" and can be looked at again, and again, and remain fresh and interesting. I get bored with still life artwork of landscapes and architecture.

    My older CG renders usually had some hint of a story behind them, but they look clunky today and I am embarrased to post them.

     

    Post edited by FlashGarcia on
  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    FlashGarcia -

    San Francisco is one of the few cities I enjoy visiting, since most other cities are indistinguishable due to rampant generica.  I'm especially interested in the "Barbary Coast" days (~1849 to ~1910), which at times were pretty lawless.  I found a USGS DEM map of San Francisco Bay and converted it to a Carrara landscape.  You can see both a little of the Street Atlas drawings (several stitched together) and a little of the landscape in the first twelve seconds or so of this trailer for "The Barbary Coast":

    I did submit a short video to the 48HFP contest, but it wasn't very good (two days!), so the project is on the long term back burner for now.

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    The 2014 movie "Mr. Turner" is a pretty good biopic of the famous British painter.  Hardly a puff piece, it shows a man with a load of talent, and a load of problems.  Nominated for four Oscars, the one for Cinematography (Dick Pope) stands out.  As you might guess, some of the scenes look ... Turneresque ... and spectacular.  Watch the trailer here:

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2473794/

    And BTW, the "Fighting Temeraire" makes an appearance.  The ship and the painting.

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    "Online Rumsey Maps Reach 100,000. Part One - 2016 Additions
    Since the last Recent Additions blog five years ago, more than 41,000 new maps and images have been added online, bringing the total online collection to over 100,000. Because of the large number of maps in this Recent Addition, we are splitting the 41,000 updates into four blog posts of about 10,000 maps each, divided roughly into the years following the last post - 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. This post covers highlights of 10,000 additions made in 2016."

    https://davidrumsey.us10.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2e70a76c6b637ad6b5bf925da&id=e9e481663a&e=7658611cb0

  • ed3Ded3D Posts: 1,133
    edited July 2020

    _ and agree _(mostly) partly, kind of _

    Post edited by ed3D on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 17,128
    Steve K said:

    "Every Picture Tells A Story, Don't It"  sang Rod Stewart (geezer reference).  I really enjoy still images that convey a story, and this is one of my favorties:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fighting_Temeraire

    "The composition of this painting is unusual in that the most significant object, the old warship, is positioned well to the left of the painting, where it rises in stately splendour and almost ghostlike colours against a triangle of blue sky and rising mist that throws it into relief."

    I think this carries over into videos, an example being John Ford's "The Searchers" with John Wayne.  "In the last shot of 'The Searchers,' the camera, from deep inside the cozy recesses of a frontier homestead, peers out though an open doorway into the bright sunshine. The contrast between the dim interior and the daylight outside creates a second frame within the wide expanse of the screen. Inside that smaller space, the desert glare highlights the shape and darkens the features of the man who lingers just beyond the threshold.  ... our last glimpse of (the hero) emphasizes his solitude, his separateness, his alienation — from his friends and family, and also from us."  (NYTimes)  

    http://screenprism.com/assets/img/article/_1080x400/Searchers_Ethan_Edwards.png

    Absolutely. That's frame composition - something that I have always been very much ignorant of until I started studying filmmaking, which always refers to good photography when they talk about framing the shot. The rule of thirds - that warship playes perfectly into the rule of thirds. For one, the hull is one third from the bottom and one third from the left. But then the artist further accentuates the rule by filling that left third with the much less opaque figure of the mast and rigging. Very nice (perfect) composition.

    Also with the rule of thirds, we'd like to keep one of the opposing thirds relatively blank. While the sky is incredibly interesting, it's playing perfectly into that blank upper right third in contrast to the lower left third. Further, the clouds, waterline, water ripples and smoke all point our eyes toward the ship. Perfect.

    Another thing I've just picked up on from learning about concept art, is that hero characters need to have a unique, individual sillhouette. Filmmakers then use this sillhouette to add or relieve drama. The stark contrast in the Searchers frame you've posted is a beautiful example of sillhouette combined with rim, key and fill lighting - and in the rule of thirds he's the centerpiece with full right and left thirds being left blank - also perfect. Of course nowadays the post workers would give this more light spill and blow out the desert to further indentify how bright it is out there as opposed to the dark interior - but then they'd also likely bring up a bit of gamma on this interior. With the light spill, the interior can be a bit more visible yet still get that contrasty effect.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 17,128

    Rule of Thirds

    Rules of Thirds vs Golden Rule

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 17,128

    For this one I've failed the rule of thirds, even though I was going for rule of thirds

    I did get the main character's chest and head into the central right third but I should have selected his head (or chest) and rotated the camera enough to get the droid and the guy going down the stairs into the left third. They're just not close enough to that third to be considered good composition - so I've failed. But that's what I'm all about right now - learning what I should and shouldn't do, but not being afraid to make these mistakes as I go. I keep trying.

  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    I've been reading Mark Twain's "Life On the Mississippi" (1893) in an edition from Seawolf Press that includes the original illustrations.  These really add a lot to the great writing, which includes Twain's recollections of his early days learning to be a steamboat (paddlewheeler) pilot on the river.  

    Life On the Mississippi.jpg
    600 x 419 - 106K
    Mark Twain Steamboat.jpg
    563 x 368 - 48K
    Two steamboats.jpg
    519 x 355 - 54K
    Learning the river.jpg
    539 x 563 - 87K
  • Steve KSteve K Posts: 2,436

    "Online Rumsey Maps Reach 105,000. Part Two - 2017 Additions
    This is Part Two of the blog post documenting the 46,000 new maps and images that have been added online since 2015. The total online collection is now over 105,000.  This post covers 50 highlights of additions made in 2017. Later posts will cover the additions made in 2018, 2019, and 2020.  All titles may be found by clicking on the View links or images below. "

    https://www.davidrumsey.com/blog/2021/2/27/online-rumsey-maps-reach-105-000-part-two-2017-additions

    Again, as I read it, okay for non-commercial reuse under a Creative Commons license (but check for yourself what the website says). 

  • PGrePGre Posts: 84

    The rule of thirds was meant to be broken. Ironically, into nine parts.

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