Sunday, November 09, 2008

frankenpuppets

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Amanda surprised me with a night out watching Frankenstein. The Trouble Puppet theatre make puppets from found objects, trash, anything they can get their hands on. The puppets are expressive, beautiful and dramatic, particularly given their origin. As a date I thought this was a particularly inspired idea - all day I thought we were going to the Dame Edna Experience but Amanda kept it secret. Overall I was happy to see the puppets! A small production in a strip mall in East Austin but such a magical evening. Haven't seen a puppet show for a long time - and those were always Punch and Judy seaside affairs. Things have moved on quite a bit since those days it seems, even though there was a traditional sock puppet up first to tell us to shut up and switch off our cell phones. A nice touch.

At first I was perhaps more interested in the mechanicals of how the puppets are animated. The puppeteers were on stage, dressed head to toe in black. There were a couple of people per puppet and it was usually obvious who was doing the voice acting too. Then, ever so subtly but very quickly, the puppeteers faded into the background and the puppets came to life. Just the same when I watch a great foreign language movie and realise that I'm not even noticing the sub-titles anymore, I was transported into the world of Frankenstein and the French revolution (they took some liberties with the original text)

So this is a photography blog and why am I twittering on about an albeit great date with my wife? The thing that struck me thinking back on this was I was initially caught up in the technical aspects of how the show was presented to me. But the strength of the story and imagery quickly distracted me from those technical issues. I didn't care that I could see that the sets were cardboard or not - I could easily enjoy what I was seeing without being worried about how it was presented. Great photography works the same way for me. I only care about the technical issues of sharpness, or lens resolution or tilted horizons and all those things people obsess about, when there's nothing interesting in the actual images. Technicals only really, really, critically matter when there isn't anything interesting in the image - at least for how I look at photographs. A little bit of blur, a little bit of softness - who cares; if the imagery is compelling.

3 comments:

Larry D Hayden said...

Really thoughtful observation on getting caught up in the technical stuff and why it usually becomes the topic. Food for thought. Thanks.

Anita Jesse said...

Whoopee! The old-fashioned, original formula, full-strength Gordon is back. Happy days are here again.

Mark said...

First, congrats on what sounded like a lovely evening with your wife. Surprises like that are always welcome, aren't they?

Second, I wound up involved in a rather lengthy discussion about the penchant so many photographers have for discussing the technical issues in photography (hardware & software in particular) and my conclusion was that it is simply easier for us to do so.

It is so much simpler to compare and contrast feature sets between cameras or software. Or to discuss technical issues regarding any photograph.

But it is always so much more difficult to discuss the less subjective measurements of photography and maybe that is why we gravitate to the objective ones.