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Matinee: 'Photograph' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

4 March 2017

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 177th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Photograph.

In a little over four minutes, we come to know a family through its photographs that begin in the black-and-white era and end in the color era of the jumbo print.

We can't pretend we know who these people are or even that we can recognize them all as they go through their lives.

But it appears they are the Chobanian family. And their story begins in the black-and-white age with a hand-tinted wedding photo and prints of an Air Force family growing up in the 1950s.

But the generation that tells this story is the next one. The grandchildren who happen to attend Franklin High School in Wisconsin (as near as we can tell) where they are members of Saber Roar Productions.

The title of the video is taken from the song that serves as the sound track. Photograph by Ed Sheeran.

There's a "pre-chorus" that goes:

We keep this love in a photograph.
We made these memories for ourselves.
Where our eyes are never closing,
Our hearts were never broken,
And time's forever frozen, still.

At first we found the music a little jarring, a little too contemporary, more from the high schooler's world than the people in the photographs. Broken hearts are a right of passage, after all.

But there is that final passage that breaks hearts too and the lyrics support that perspective just as well. It's a lovely song and it comes through poignantly at the end with "Wait for me to come home."

What's particularly special about this video, described only as "a tribute to a grandfather's and grandmother's love," is the ingenious staging of the old photos in contemporary settings.

Snapshots from a long-ago outing at the beach, for example, are propped up among the rocks along the shoreline. Photos from a family barbecue are photographed laid out on a blackened grill. A print of a child climbing up a staircase on all fours falls away to reveal a stairlift on that very same staircase.

This placing of old photos in contemporary environments hits you like Masaccio's Io fui già quel che voi siete e quel ch'io sono voi anco sarete ("I once was what now you are and what I am, you shall yet be).

You feel the inevitable passage of time. The inevitable passing of each of us.

By the end you realize you don't really have to know these people to love them. They are your own story, too, after all. The story all of us, if we are lucky, can tell. And perhaps even hope to be told about us.

If we are lucky enough to be loved by someone who remains after us.

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