• Andy Whysall

Speaking of cartoon picture quality...

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

...as I was in a post back in April about the clarity slider in Adobe Lightroom....and ref. the Vishniac photographs I mentioned in January being from the time when photography had never been so important.

I watched the Netflix movie The Photographer of Mauthausen (Mar Targarona, 2018). A Spanish film about Spanish anti-fascists (arrested by the Germans in France post-Spanish Civil War) in Mauthausen concentration camp and how during their incarceration they realised the need to exploit official photographs taken by the camp administration, recording life and much death, to provide evidence after the war. It perfectly illustrates the use of photography for recording and evidence, in the most trying of circumstances and for the most crucial of purposes. Trailer here: https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80191608

Its look puzzled me at first, with very obvious CGI. These days I find I tend to hope (probably wrongly) for the Spielberg Schindler's List or Private Ryan look in this kind of film - knowing full well that the man whose work I am really looking at is not Spielberg's, but that of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski; what a trend-setter. I felt The Photographer... looked too comic-book and it took a while to get used to. Then I found it actually came from comic book. Knowing that added to my understanding of the film.

The comic book has an increasingly important place in bringing important issues, especially the Holocaust, to a new 'audience', so as an educational tool. To this day I find that the tiny, starkly black and white drawings in Art Spiegelman's Maus, with shadows and angles like The third man, never lose their power to shock and are as moving and devastating nearly 40 years on as they were when they were fresh. For me the comic book is important in development of the image too. Look at Sin City and the best of the Batman movies to see how the look is transferrable (in the digital world).

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