Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiction, Non?

One of the problems that has plagued photography since the 1980s has been the idea that celebrity photographs need to be publicist-approved.

It's made a lot of the practice of photographing famous people a joke. Or, perhaps, made it a process of "getting away with" making something that's actually better than a publicist could envision. It's turned a lot of great photographers out of the field, and led others to make making weaker work.

Can the same hold true in documentary production?

A few months ago, I watched Shine a Light -- Martin Scorsese's "documentary" on the Rolling Stones -- and was left with two reasons why I'd rather call it a "concert film" than a doc:

1. The interview material was completely safe, and completely in the well-polished control of the Stones.

2. The concert was changed by the filmmaking process -- which to me is the opposite of a "documentary" process.

I'm more excited to see what Scorcese will do with the added freedom he'll clearly have on his next -- non-documentary -- picture. I don't think there'll be any need to please the subject or a publicist or any limits put on access....

Martin Scorsese Set to Direct Frank Sinatra Biopic

No comments: