I made my first Covid image on March 14, 2020. It’s a photo of the beloved Avalon Theatre in Washington, DC. The Avalon, which opened in 1923, is the oldest operating movie house in the area. It remains closed but is offering movies for streaming during the pandemic.
A year later, I made this image on Capitol Hill. It shows the United States Capitol fenced off to protect our government from violent people while we all continue to wear masks to protect us from a deadly virus.
Peter Turnley is a great photographer. I admire his work. I have one his prints hanging in my home.
When I think of photographs of people, I think of posed versus unposed photographs. I prefer unposed photographs. Having said that, either posed or unposed photographs have the potential to reveal something precious and lasting about humanity.
Turnley accomplishes this way more than most photographers, whether or not his subject poses for the camera. That’s what makes his work special.
Anna, a young woman training to be a nun in 1960s Poland is on the verge of taking her vows when she meets her only living relative for the first time and learns that she is Jewish and that her real name is Ida Lebenstein. Together they discover what happened to Anna/Ida’s family.
This jewel is only 82 minutes long and every moment makes good use of the viewer’s time. The story is one example of the decimation of Poland’s Jews during World War II. But in the end, this is not a film about Poland or the Holocaust – but about life.
The film, which came out in 2013, is in black and white. The places photographed are ordinary yet the cinematography is stunning. Each scene looks like a black and white photograph made by a Magnum photographer using a Leica camera. Łukasz Żal is a superb, young cinemaphotographer born in Koszalin, Poland.
Pawel Pawlikowski directed the film. He was born in Warsaw in 1957. At the age of 14, Pawlikowski left Poland to live in Germany and Italy, before settling in Britain. In 2004, he directed My Summer of Love with Emily Blunt and Natalie Press.
This film touched me deeply and left me thinking for a long time about what’s important and what’s not. It is among the best films I have seen.