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Matinee: 'People & Memories' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

27 October 2018

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 173rd in our series of Saturday matinees today: People & Memories by Kare Griffiths.

Each week, we consider several hundred videos before selecting one. Of those, half must be wedding videos. And we're sometimes tempted to present one for how well it portrayed the event and the couple at the center of it.

But that's a slippery slope, we always remind ourselves. You start doing wedding videos, where will you stop?

This week was a little different around here, though.

Our usual practice (which we always look forward to) of shutting down the bunker at 2 p.m. on Friday and leaning back on the office chair to watch videos about photography and photographers was interrupted.

We found ourselves at the funeral of a friend and neighbor who had died suddenly only a few days ago. And, at 2 p.m., instead of watching videos we were at the Makaria, the Greek Orthodox funeral luncheon, seated with half a dozen neighbors, all marveling at how old we had become.

It is one intimate portrait after another in the available light of someone's back yard one afternoon.

"But at least we are growing old together," said one of them.

This, for some reason, was a comforting thought. And it inspired us to throw caution to the wind and present Kare Griffith's black-and-white slide show.

It wasn't immediately apparent to us that her video was of a wedding. Its title is the very broad People & Memories. No pair of names. No destination wedding. No professional's logo.

And the first image appearing with that title is just some guy in a T-shirt, shot in portrait mode, presumably by a smartphone. In fact, the whole slide show is either portrait mode or square format monochromes.

With a well-meshed soundtrack, too, we don't mind saying.

In short, it was technically nicely conceived and well done.

But it's quite unconventional (we can tell you after watching thousands of wedding videos over the five years we've been indulging in our Friday afternoon routine).

Most of those wedding videos focus on the glamour of the event. You can imagine some assistant checking off the shot list: the rings, the bride's sandals, the dress hanging translucently by a window, the groom tying his tie, the groomsmen goofing off, the teary-eyed mother of the bride, the flower girl a little too slow going down the aisle, the little ring bearer looking around, the father of the bride walking her down the aisle, the minister intoning the gravity of the event, the explosion of relief after, the wild party following, etc.

And why not? It's as glamorous as one (or should we say two) may ever get.

But Griffith's wedding video starting with a T-shirt is not about glamour.

It's about the people. It is mostly one intimate portrait after another in the available light of someone's back yard one afternoon. Each person there.

That was her shot list: each person, their face, look into their eyes, capture their soul.

And hope they have the consolation of growing old together.

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