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Matinee: 'Harry Gruyaert' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

29 April 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 185th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Harry Gruyaert.

We have to confess that the sound effects sealed the deal on this matinee. When Magnum photographer Harry Gruyaert described the pleasure of taking photographs with a "Whoosh! Whoosh! .... Whoosh!" we knew exactly what he was talking about.

And so will you.

But by then we were already enamored of his images. Especially the seascapes. We're no stranger to seascapes with our picture window framing the Pacific Ocean. And we appreciate the challenge of capturing its many moods.

'There is no program.'

Some days it's foggy and you are forced to shoot a low contrast image, almost without color. Other days you will be stunned by the saturation in the sunset before it fades to a luminous purple and the inevitable darkness. In between all sorts of conditions present themselves on a large stage.

That's a challenge that can greatly expand your skills as a photographer. In Gruyaert's case, it's part of the adventure. His seascapes have been informed by his study of fine art, his work in film and television, and, he suspects, even centuries of ancestors looking out to sea.

And it has allowed him to appreciate the utterly different palettes, as he calls them, of different locals. He marveled at -- rather than resisted -- the pastels of the Soviet Union when he found himself shooting there during the fall of communism.

"There is no program," he told Jonathan Blaustein in a 2015 interview. I just physically jump into a situation and react to it, and see how things are working out."

"Whoosh!" you might say.

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