“She visits among the homes of the poor.”
Cassell’s Magazine, 1879.
Ziegfeld Follies (1917)
I’ll be somewhere in France
(Source: startwithsunset, via notpulpcovers)
Practice is important because you learn to write by writing. No one ever learned to write in any other way. — English Composition and Grammar, John Warriner (via nickmiller)
Black Hours, Bruges, c. 1470
This Book of Hours, referred to as the Black Hours, is one of a small handful of manuscripts written and illuminated on vellum that is stained or painted black.
The black of its vellum—the very thing that makes the codex so striking—is also the cause of some serious flaking. The carbon used in the black renders the surface of the vellum smooth and shiny—a handsome but less than ideal supporting surface for some of the pigments.
The anonymous painter of the Black Hours is an artist whose style depended mainly upon that of Willem Vrelant, one of the dominant illuminators working in Bruges from the late 1450s until his death in 1481.
Digital Facsimile at the source link.
Recently I have begun the process of recalibrating my creative duty. I’ve spent the last year studying comedy (specifically improv) at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre and for the past year I have been in pure “absorption” mode. My role has been as a student. I’ve spent all of my time learning and slurping up every piece of wisdom and experience from anyone who would provide it. It’s a comfortable feeling because it feels like most of my time starting at NYU: focusing on hearing the expert opinions around me and learning from the current trailblazers as they try and fail to be the new experts. However, I’ve realized that I have hit the end up the pure learning phase and now I need to start my creative process again. I will still be actively learning, but now on top of learning and absorbing I need to start creating and failing on my own projects again. I need to add “make stuff” to the queue of commands in my head which currently just contains “learn stuff” and “basic human functions”.
As I consciously attempt to recalibrate my headspace I’ve been weirdly fixated on the early fathers of cinema. Particularly, the Lumière Brothers, Thomas Edison, Charles-Émile Reynaud, Eadweard Muybridge and the filmmakers they were all able to endow with their technology— the most prominent in my fixation being Georges Méliès.
Georges Méliès is the father of modern spectacle filmmaking. You probably know his work even if you didn’t know you did. You know that famous film that stands to exemplify the early days of film where the rocket gets shot into the moon and the moon has a face. That’s Méliès.
But the interesting thing about Méliès is that film was just an outlet for his creativity and ultimately it didn’t work out for him— despite the fact that he might be one of the most influential filmmakers in the (short) history of cinema.
Georges Méliès was a stage magician. Then, when he saw what the Lumière Brothers were doing he decided he needed to get in on this whole “moving picture” club and he started a small studio where he would make films. He made literally hundreds of films. Hundreds. His films were all magic tricks and new developments in cinema. Some were successes and some were failures, but at the end of the day you couldn’t get a camera out of the guy’s hands. In fact, almost every special effect you see today can be traced back to one of Méliès’ experiments. He just had these crazy ideas and he spent his life trying to execute them. If you have a minute, I suggest you comb through youtube and check out some of his work. Here, I’ll make it easy for you— just start here.
I guess that’s where I want to be right now: just executing ideas for the sake of trying them. Of course I’m not in the position Méliès was and I’m certainly not creating the foundation of cinema, but we are only one hundred and fifteen years into the creation of film. So in the grand scheme of things we are all just cave painters right now. But this is where I’m at right now as I get back into “create” mode.
Also, I don’t know what this says about where I’m at— but the epilogue to the Méliès story is pretty bleak: He eventually went bankrupt and became a toy salesman. No joke. That sounds ridiculous, right? Even more ridiculous is the fact that after retiring from filmmaking the French army came along and melted down a majority of his films so that they could make boot heels! Before his death he did receive many accolades from his country and peers for his many contributions to film— so luckily he was around long enough to be appreciated. But, yeah. Boot heels. Jesus Christ.
Stay Bright // JD
The Flying Liner illustrated by H. A. Petersen in Judge magazine (Nov 2 1912) (from http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulmalon/8749888694/)
Vlad the Impaler and the Turkish Envoys by Theodor Aman
1934 … Master of the World (by x-ray delta one)
The Master of the World (German: Der Herr der Welt) is a German science fiction movie made in 1934 (released in the US in 1935). Its themes are the replacement of human labor with robotic replacements, and the threat to humanity by robots used as war machines.
ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a gentleman with crutches, surrounded by three doting women, one with a stick another an umbrella]
via Harvard University, Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Arts