Art Meditations :: The Great War

For those living in the US, the Great War is something that we generally skim over in history class- we generally focus on WWII.  For those living in Western Europe, it’s a very different story.  You study WWI for years at a time, at least you do in England, and if you’ve studied it in the last 15 years, you’ve probably gone on field trips to the battlefields.  You’ve stood in the trenches, in crater holes blasted out by bombs and seen the remnant shells stacked up along farmers’ fields- those shells that were never cleared away after the end of the war.  At least that’s my experience of studying the war.  You almost fell guilty for not doing your part even though it happened decades before you were born.

There are reminders of the sacrifices made during that time all over Europe, intertwined with the memories of WWII.  It’s a part of the land and something that you can’t ignore.  There really isn’t anything to compare it with in the US – even Civil War battle grounds aren’t the same.

I found this video a few months ago and in the end, bought the book for my dad as a Father’s Day gift:

ww Norton


Most of my studies have come from books, some from old newsreels etc. but this book gives the Battle of the Somme a whole new light.  It makes it into something visual and puts across the magnitude much better than any other source that I’ve seen.  It actually gives the numbers a human element and not just statistics on the page.  This beautiful book is art and fact all combined into one and I love it for that.

I don’t see this book as being about tragedy, although it does encompass that.  I see it as a chance to truly understand something that is beyond our reality and to take in something that is one of the largest world conflicts in history.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words.

Feet Up! :: Dorian Gray

Part of “putting my feet up” this summer is trying to read a bit more and spend less time in front of my computer.  I sometimes feel like my computer has become an extension of me and would very much like to rectify that and go back to old fashioned entertainment such as reading.  I have a huge list of books that I would like to read and why not knock off a few of those during the long warm days of summer?

So far, I’ve managed to read the following:

And I’m hoping to tackle a few more by the end of the summer.  These long afternoons in the sun are the perfect time to catch up on my reading list while working on my tan.

Of course, I can’t stray too far from the visuals of video and film.  After all, that’s what I do for a living isn’t it?  I found this little beauty a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but share it with you:

Gergely Wootsch


It’s been years since I read this book but I remember it fondly mostly because before I read it, I thought I was going to hate it.  I’m not a big fan of this era of literature but was on vacation, had read everything else that I had brought with me and someone happened to have this lying around.  So I read it and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it and was equally astonished at the themes that it addresses considering the date at which it was written.

I love this little animation because for once the story hasn’t been turned into a corny horror film and actually looks at the social and political stances at the time that the book was written.  It condenses it all into just a few minutes concisely and most importantly, it leaves me wanting more- always a good thing in a book review.

Against the Grain :: Seven Days in 1968


I’m just going to dive right into the artistic aspects of this video.  I love it!  There aren’t many times when you find yourself entertained by old black and white stills- usually they seem flat and boring.  Not in this film!  The 3-dimentional effects and the layover of other images, such as the timeline, really make a difference.  The graphics really help too and are another aspect that I really like.

It’s a bit longer than most videos that I post but I don’t feel like its any longer than most.  It’s not an easy topic to address, especially when some could argue that we haven’t come all that far since 1968, but it was done beautifully.

Winter Olympics 2014 :: The Ice Rink

When I was little I dreamed of being a figure skater- in fact it was the only event that I liked to watch at the winter Olympics.  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that my best friend skated and dreamed of going to the Olympics and I liked the sparkly costumes.  My friend  changed her life goals and didn’t go the professional athlete route but she is very talented none-the-less.

This video takes me back to watching my friend compete in competitions and how I always marveled at how effortlessly she seemed to move on the ice.  I was lucky if I could make it around the rink once without falling over.  I have only improved slightly to the point that I can actually skate forwards at a decent speed without hesitation.  But that’s about it.  Not only does this video display the grace and stamina that it takes to be a Olympic caliber skater, but I love the editing.  It makes me feel as if I’m on the ice with her.

This wasn’t the end of my ice sport ambition- at some point I got over the sparkly costumes and wanted to play hockey:

Akseli Tuomivaara

My grandfather was an avid hockey fan and I guess it rubbed off.  Hockey was another sport that I never took up and I’m guessing both of my parents were very grateful for that.  It was the fact that I was going to have to take two years of skating lessons before I could even touch a stick and I was already 14 so that kind of killed that idea – probably for the best as I was able to take up rowing instead.  In the end it was a more logical sport for me.

Having given up on the idea of playing hockey, this video makes me very excited for the hockey games this Olympics.  The movement and on ice experience takes the audience with the team as they fly up the ice and puts you in the action.  Almost as good as playing yourself- you just don’t have to worry about losing your front teeth.

So what are you favorite ice sports?  Anyone going out to learn how to skate after watching these games?

Ohana :: Growing Up

Mark Nickelsburg

Once again, here is another film that is not quite a documentary… in fact it isn’t a documentary in any way.  BUT I think it has a very good message- maybe we should listen to toddlers more.  Plus, this makes me laugh.  Perhaps they know more about life than those of us who’ve been around the block a few times…

Classroom :: History of Film

I took a brief film class in high school and we spent a lot of time watching Alfred Hitchcock movies.  I say brief because it ended early due to our teacher getting ill.  That aside, I still remember watching Vertigo in class.

[vimeo w=640&h=350]

Jean-Babtiste Lefournier

Hitchcock has been one of my favorite directors for years- long before I ever took a film class and as the nerd that I am, I couldn’t help but post this video.

How many of these movies have you seen?

Classroom Memories

Only a year ago I was turning in my final project for Grad school.  Now I’m still working on getting a full time job and working on several smaller projects to keep the creative juices flowing.  No one said it was going to be easy and it has been far from that since leaving the safety of school.

As an ode to that place that I have spent the majority of my life, I’m going


for this month’s blog theme.

One of the things that I love about documentary is the sharing of information while creating an art form . So this month we’re heading back to the memories of crowded hallways, passing periods and class timetables.  Happy November!


Landscape :: Silver Cloud

Frans De Backer

One of the things that I love about underwater landscapes is that creatures can live in any space- on the ocean floor, in the ‘air’, on the rocks, at the water’s surface… there is no limit to where they can appear.  We can’t do that on land.  We are restricted to the surface and only so many feet above the ground.  When underwater, there are no limits.

Landscape :: Ansel Adams-esque

Glen Ryan

I’ve always been a big fan of Ansel Adams- he’s probably one of the reasons that I really like black and white photography.  This video reminded me of some of his work, especially the light play between the clouds, sky and landscape.  Perhaps I wouldn’t feel quite this way if it were in color but I even so, I enjoyed it.

As far as the eye can see…

I’m kind of on a travel roll right now- I mean come on, it’s summer!  This is the time when a lot of us take off and enjoy the warmer weather etc. etc.  so I’m wrapping up the summer with…


I don’t think you actually have to go too far from home to admire landscapes, but they are something that I definitely notice when I’m the road.  Landscapes say so much about the place and the culture and therefore are difficult to ignore.  Not to mention they are pretty darn gorgeous a lot of the time.  So before we get back to seriousness of life and the weather starts to cool off, here is one more month of “exploring”.