Saturday, November 30, 2013

Daguerreotypes from the Family Collection

These Portrait Daguerreotypes (and a single Tintype Photograph, stuck in the cover of one of the oval Portraits,) of some of our Rendell, Wells, and Clark Ancestors, date from the mid-Nineteenth Century.  Among those here depicted are Abraham Rendell, Edward Selkirk Wells, Mary Anne Rendell, and Moses Clark.  They were identified by Notes written in pencil by my Great Grandmother, Carrie Clark Wells, eighty years ago or so.  Some were left unnamed, but they still manage to exert a feeling of Kinship.  Some were produced in New York City and some were made on the Isle of Guernsey.  I’ve been photographing and scanning them for a Book that I’m in the process of writing and compiling, a kind of Family History in the form of a Mémoire, with which my Mother (whom I’m visiting in Florida) has been kind enough to lend some Assistance by way of remembering, relating, and retelling.  The so-called Polaroid Photographs produced by the original Land Cameras seem to be the true Descendants of the Daguerreotypes, in that they are likewise produced without Negatives, constitute singular Originals, and are consequently more haunting in evoking the Presence of the Sitter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Portrait Photographs from The Old Curiosity Shop

These portraits are all cropped frames taken from the outtakes shot for The Old Curiosity Shop video that I’m still in the process of shooting and editing.  I’ve been asking various friends and family members to perform scenes from the novel or simply recite some lines here and there, which I’m slowly weaving together to form a story that sticks pretty closely to Dickens’s very long tale.  (Unlike the several other adaptations of this great book, with which I'm familiar, in this work I make use only of dialogue and narration that Dickens actually wrote for this story.  There is no paraphrasing, interpolating, simplification or modernization in the present case.  I may even employ some of the material he wrote for it that was discarded before publication.)   In the process of going over the many sections already filmed, I have been selecting still images that reflect the characters of the individuals playing the parts as much as the roles portrayed.  If one knows the book that forms the basis for this project, it's still likely that one would not immediately recognize the likenesses of Master Humphrey, Daniel Quilp, Richard Swiveller, Sally Brass, Mrs Jiniwin, Christopher Nubbles, Thomas Codlin, Mrs Jarley, or Mr Short as they are presented here, but those are precisely the fictional characters, amid all the clutter and debris, that are roughly represented in this bunch of pictures (except for the Daffodils, who are wholly themselves.)