Thursday, August 20, 2009

Theme Thursday - Shadow

When I first heard Joni Mitchell sing Shadows and Light some thirty years ago I had an instant series of images in my mind as I listened to the compulsive chant-like lyrics. The images were made up of the photographs of Bill Brandt - in my mind the finest British photographer of the twentieth century. I realise that the song isn't about photography nor is it about the the themes that were such a central feature of Brandt's work, but that connection between the song and that set of images stuck. Since then every time I have heard it my mind has been full of images of back streets, bravely smiling schoolchildren, extraordinarily sculptured figures and the soot-covered faces of coalminers.
Until now this has been a personal connection : a connection that instantly jumped out at me when I first saw the subject of this week's Theme Thursday. As I searched the Internet for a way of illustrating it I realised that I could illustrate the song or the photographs but not both. So that is why this week I preview my first ever YouTube video. It's a first attempt and therefore can be improved but hopefully what it will do is to illustrate that magical confluence between music and images that has been haunting my mind for thirty years.
To see how other people have approached the theme this week follow these links.

25 comments:

  1. Perfect example of how music can become inexplicably intertwined with images to which there is no obvious connection. Lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alan, simply amazing mixing you've done with this. Bravo man! The opening shot, especially :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. great blend of the images and the music...amazing what you can find these days on th internet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jellyfish, Subby, Brian : Thanks, Glad you liked it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Alan, you mention two of my favs... I think of Bill Brandt's work as being high contrast, with all of the connotations attached. And, the way Joni uses her voice. Remarkable! Thanks for this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Alan, your blog is pure class. Every time. And now I feel suitably haunted too...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great post, Alan. Speaking of shadows and coal miners, I watched "How Green was My Valley" with Walter Pidgeon and Maureen O'Hara last night. A Poignant and powerful plight of the miners in Wales. John Ford really did know how to make a film.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's amazing how music can remain with us for such a long time. Some pieces just get under your skin and stick, don't they?
    You have articulated it well and sharing this YouTube clip has made it accessible to us. I can understand why it has stayed with you for 30 years.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great montage. Works very well with the song. Love Joni! Excellent work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. bravo!!

    I have long admired the photographic work and style of brandt (and those like him such as robert frank, dorothea lange, margaret bourke-white, walker evans, to name but a few)

    there is such power and poetry in how brandt captured the slices of the life around him - he enriches our understanding of social history.

    your youtube debut is awesome!! thank you for bringing together two masters of shadow and light in such a creative way!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Funny, I knew she was a prolific song writer but I only seemed to know her big popular stuff and a few songs she wrote but didn't sing. I hadn't heard this before. I like your tie to the two mediums though...

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's great to discover so many other Bill Brandt fans (and Joni fans as well). Thank you all for visiting.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I hadn't heard this before, Alan. Liked it, and I liked your write-up as well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, this was nice! A perfect pairing of images and music!

    ReplyDelete
  15. She has such a pretty voice...

    ReplyDelete
  16. A great mix for sure, but I seem to think that song is kinda very... sad. I dunno.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Excellent composition, Alan. And Brandt is one of my role models as a photographer.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Whoops - can't watch it from work. I'll be baaaaack...

    ReplyDelete
  19. That is a great song! I love the video! I am not scary! LOL! That was my first jaunt into horror! :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. My father grew up in a similar place in Lancashire, Great Harwood but it's now part of Greater Manchester. Black and white photography is so dramatic and such a lovely way to depict shadow and light. I love the little man on the moors with his bicycle.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I always find it amazing (and odd) how certain songs attribute themselves to certain things in an individual's life (I'm actually blogging about that in the near future).

    Example: For some reason, I connect The Verve to the comic book, Justice League America.

    Yes, I'm a lunatic.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rescue Me = woodwork, if we're talking songs and images.

    ReplyDelete
  23. i love the pictures in that video. i'll bet it was better with the song playing in the background... have i mentioned i need a new laptop? this one likes to pretend that it doesn't have the ability to play any sound.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very nicely done! I enjoy putting those type of slideshows together, & you have a real knack for it!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Haven't heard that song in ages, now I have to find it! Love Joni Mitchell, but don't think I've any of her albums on the MP3 player :-(

    ReplyDelete