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Monday, 9 September 2013

Hitler, Colour and Pop

Summer's almost gone so welcome back to the blog.

One thing from the summer I didn't really understand were the mass of objections to these Colorized photographs that appeared sometime in August. I kind of liked them in a cheap and tacky sort of way, especially the one by Bob Willoughby which seemed much less cheap and nasty than the online black and white version that you can see below. 

The argument is that you are messing with original artist's intent and removing the technological context, and I can see that, but still - in an online environment, it's an interesting (sacriligious of course) visual experiment. And by putting it online in the first place, you are also messing etc etc.

The same kind of experiment was done very well in Hitler's Rise: The Colour Films, a two part series showing Hitler's rise through colorized film. It brought things closer and made them much more contemporary, which is quite an unusual thing in a world that is adept at distancing things and making them seem more distant.

My favourite part was revisiting these pictures by Heinrich Hoffman of Hitler rehearsing his hate moves in 1927, a precursor to Hitler's histrionic speeches.. 

And these in turn led me back to these old pictures from The Father of Pop Dance by Tiane Doan na Champassak.

What does it all mean? I haven't a clue.


Deborah Parkin Photography said...

I didn't manage to watch all of this last night (although I intend to) & as someone who works with black & white & as someone who studied holocaust/war I suppose you would expect me to not like it - for it to feel unauthentic & yet I didn't feel that at all. In fact, like you, I felt it felt a little bit more real - I noticed this by my reaction to the picture of the the Russian pogroms - & of the Jewish man being tormented. I have seen the latter in black & white but in my head it was assigned to the past - as if we would not behave that way now & (no idea why I would believe that) - this made me realise how little things have changed. I can't comment about the 'outrage' that has been going on in the summer about colourisation because I am afraid I didn't know anything about it.

colin pantall said...

Thanks Deborah - and lovely to meet you the other day in London.

I expected to be outraged but as with you it made it more contemporary - the SA bullying people and the Russian Jews getting harassed felt much closer than it does when you see it in black and white.