Monthly Archives: February 2014

“Oblivion”

I was excited for “Oblivion” when I first heard about it – after seeing the 1st trailer, I was cautiously enthusiastic … it looked as if too much might have been given away. Nonetheless I was at the theatre opening night (one of my 1st tweets was an iPhone shot of my ticket stub as I anxiously waited for 11:30) and when I walked out, I was pretty much delirious with the amount of “awesomeness” crammed into a single film…script, visuals, acting, score, laugh beats…and twists and turns to spare…

The pre-release of “Starwaves” by M83 definitely helped – but my favorite moment was that 3rd act whiplash reveal; what Actually Happened. After all the other ‘oh damn’ moments, there was still room enough for the story to sneak up and get you…so few films do that and even fewer pull it off without somehow feeling like a Sixth-Sense-ish entity

I felt it again when I saw a review that described “Oblivion” as the most expensive episode of The Twilight Zone ever.

If you haven’t seen it yet … WTF…?!

http://www.studiodaily.com/2013/04/cinematographer-claudio-miranda-on-oblivion-and-life-of-pi/

Upside down is better

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When I shot this (winter of 2011), I was thinking about a girl who I had begun spending more time with. Had my iPhone blasting Catherine Wheel and was thinking about what we’d do later that night — then she texted me, saying she got asked out by a guy she kinda liked. As I was hanging up, the police pulled up – I was trespassing. Everything turned out ok with the police but I’ll never forget that in the space of a few minutes, everything about that phase of my life changed….so I rotated the picture and, well, I think it looks better upside down…sometimes, shit happens…

“All is Full of Love” – Bjork (video edit)

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Everything I said in the previous two posts can be glimpsed in music video at the other end of the link below.

The absolutely hyper-insanely amazing visual execution of the idea which is the true center of continuing to exist is the beginning and the end, if that makes any sense…here’s the link:

http://vimeo.com/m/43444347

From the Outside

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Have you ever watched a dark fluid soak upward? It appears to crawl, to pour in the wrong direction. The horror of being close to someone is that its eventuality is exactly that. Doesn’t matter if it’s a secret, a facet of their personality they normally keep hidden away or someone they know who is a disaster waiting to happen or a simple bad decision.

From outside the glass outside the air bubbles, everything is More. I manipulate light with different flashlights, LED ropes and even a candle and watch the shadows and colors slide up the inside face of the air bubbles in the glass and keep remembering what happened when the dark got inside of me. I can – and usually do – chase it around but it never goes away and then I remember that I realized a long time ago that pain is pretty much elemental to moving forward as a person.

But sometimes you get far enough that anybody around is not to be trusted – and the ones you relied on haven’t betrayed you, they’ve simply become other people. And it’s time to start screwing with the light – that’s partly why I’m so obsessed with contrast in my photography. Why sunrise is bedtime and sunset is when my brain and mind sync.

I live in the dark and watch what happens out there in the light. For best results expect the worst. My 1st freshman year of high school there was a girl – long story short, I wrote something about her and for her. Every so often, in films or songs, I hear echoes of it (“there’s two tragedies in life: never getting what we want – and getting it”) and take a morbid comfort in knowing someone else has felt it and realized it / recognized it for what it is: something that you simply won’t ever have. The thing I wrote for Vicki was this:

“The things that I want and the things that I get are the only two things that never connect.”

I was right about that but I’ve been wrong about so many other things – it’s crazy how good it can be to be wrong. That’s probably why I bother acknowledging the light and what happens out there in it. And probably has some intrinsic connection to why I can’t sleep – why I don’t want to sleep. But that’s for another time.

Through the air trapped in the glass

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Life cycles and slows down and speeds up – until it doesn’t anymore. To think about dying is pretty much daydreaming. When it happens to someone close to you and their family, it hits something inside that simultaneously lets you know how far you’ve drifted from ‘reality’ and provides a path in that direction. Everything changes.

Cliches become truths. Light reveals more than it did before. The dark isn’t empty anymore, it’s teeming with truths that have been stripped and lacquered into directionless facts. There is nothing that can be said to make it any ‘better’…in fact, anything has the potential to prolong the process of processing what’s happened and what will happen next.

Fear of the dark is colder, closer and more horrifying because there IS a reason to be afraid of the dark. The most we can hope for is someone who will face it with us and be there for us whatever our reaction may be. For some, I think the darkness is a mirror, for others a window but whatever we see has already been within us for a while. Not all of us will have that someone but not all of us have this sickly awareness.

To be truly close to someone – it’s like Stannis Barratheon said: “hard truths cut both ways.” You want her to feel good not because it increases the likelihood of her reciprocating but because when she feels good, you feel good. And when she’s in pain, you are too. It seems like a rational thing, to strip life down to a series of facts but it isn’t like that, in my experience. No matter how deep you dig – or how far out you go – there is always more, just beyond reach.

“NYC Book I”

Johnlee photography © 2012 NYC, Oct 2012_0559_ver4_FULL Funny thing about a book – it isn’t done until the author SAYS ITS DONE…and back in the day, it would be an editor’s job (among other personnel, I’m sure) to tell you, “Dude, enough – it’s done” but now? Now I am free – and simultaneously imprisoned – to edit and tweak until I feel like it it Done. Here’s a shot I removed, added back, edited then put back in as a two-page spread….thoughts, anyone…?

The Sweetest Part of the Fulcrum

The Sweetest Part of the Fulcrum

I think there’s a weird element to when any given release is the best its source will ever produce. This is loosely used because a director, a rock band, an actor, etc can have hot streaks then cold streaks and come back.

ONE – sequels that were better than the first
[] “Hellraiser II” (my favorite of the series thus far)
[] “Iron Man 2” – but “Iron Man 3” was also quite awesome
[] “The Empire Strikes Back”…’nuff said
[] “Astro-Creep: 2000” White Zombie’s 2nd major release
[] “Master of Puppets” Metallica’s 3rd album
[] “Dirt” Alice in Chains’ 2nd album
[] “Paul’s Boutique” – 2nd album by the Beastie Boys
[] “House” – season two
[] “Ocean’s Thirteen”
[] “Predator 2”
[] “Bangin the Box V4” – Bad Boy Bill’s 4th studio release
[] “In Utero” – Nirvana’s 3rd album

TWO: 1st is my favorite
[] “A New Stereophonic Spectacular” by Hooverphonic
[] “Dummy” by Portishead

Then you’ve got groups like Primus who just keep rocking’ like Dokken…and actors like Gary Oldman…and directors like Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan…

There’s more but you get the idea, right?

Johnlee stock footage 01

Once I get a bank account – hopefully next week – I will also begin selling the stock footage I have been shooting and leaving to collect proverbial dust on one or more of my numerous external hard drives. Here is a sample of one of my 1st pieces – shot it on my Canon T3i with a Tamron 18-200mm Macro zoom lens (mounted on a Manfrotto tripod)…in Jenruary, I used it as a layer in a music video I edited for my reel. I used the song “Born Slippy” by Underworld…another song which I first heard in a movie and instantly fell in love with. I am no longer in love with the girl I was with when I saw Trainspotting in the theatre but I miss the feeling I used to get when we spent all that time together. Thankfully, it’s now the 15th. Anyway hope you like this preview.