“Robby Müller – Master of Light”: exhibition at Museum für Film und Fernsehen, Berlin


Yesterday I visited Robby Müller’s exhibition and decide to take all the time I needed to savour it. As the exhibition is about cinematography, the movies were aired in short excerpts, and this helped me ask: “How did Müller convey the impression of a small room? Which angles did he choose? How did he work with light?” instead of the usual “What is happening in this scene? What’s the story?”. I loved the uncommon focus on what is usually considered backstage work, whose goal is to support the narrative. It made me feel at ease, and made me appreciate those film excerpts enormously. It felt like being more than a spectator, there was a connection with the cinematographer and the director rather than with the film characters. This is the role I feel closer to myself: the informed spectator. I don’t see myself as participating in the action, nor as the naive receiver of cinema tricks and devices. I am audience, who aims to feel close to who realised the film.

One film I want to watch in its entirety is Paris, Texas, with its silences, filled up with the landscapes and the human society that lives and walks around the protagonist like a storm of busy insects. Colors and lights are incredibly dense, like in an oil painting.

Image from film-grab.com

The exhibition also included a small selection of Polaroid photos taken by Müller on his travels. They were stunning. No surprise – but it urged me to learn more about picture composition and lights, because they are more important than the technology of your camera. I am struggling with photography books, which go either too little or too much in detail, and with my inability to see my mistakes in the pictures I take. Luckily I can ask advice to a few friends who are both great photographers and good teachers!

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Multilingual birthday!

Today is my birthday! I wish to share three funny birthday songs I am fond of, one in Italian, one in French and one in Berlinese. First, Elio’s “Al mercato di Bonn”, about the unlikely discovery of “Happy Birthday”‘s verses, written no less than by Beethoven:

The second is “l’Anniversaire”, from a group of musicians from Toulouse, the Fabulous Trobadors:

and last, “Jeburtstach”, in Berlin dialect, from Rotz’n’roll Radio:

Happy birthday to me! 😀

Landscape and color pencils

landscapes with color pencils
Landscapes with color pencils

Yesterday we went to a large natural area near Berlin, Grünewald. I brought paper and pencils and made a few experiments with color pencils. The first subject I drew is the shrub in the middle, and I realised I didn’t observe it quite well before starting, so most proportions are wrong. Moreover I didn’t decide how much detail to draw, and the colors are not so right, but yes, it was my starting point 🙂

Then I tried to draw the whole landscape. There was a line of needle trees in the background, then broadleaf trees of various species (therefore shapes and colors) and a dry grassland, up to where I was sitting. I think that the third drawing, the one on the left, gives an impression of distance. I suppose that the colors are too bright (the needle trees were much darker but not black) and that the texture is uncertain, but I will keep experimenting 🙂

I hope I have given inspiration to start (again) with color pencils, and am open to suggestions to good books and links about coloring techniques!

More exercises

In past few days I drew a bit, using pencils, pens and markers. I am quite unexperienced with tools other than the classic graphite pencil, so the results are not exactly art 🙂 Have fun!

The lion head is drawn with a small graphite pencil (a bit too small to be held in my hand), and I lost patience quickly, so I just drafted shapes and shadows. I should have taken more time to examine the lion before drawing.

The second drawing is a copy of the photography of Fan Ho, a famous Chinese photograph. “Sun Rays, 1959” impressed me for the balance of shades and lines, and the three people who blend perfectly with the abstract composition made by the staircase. (I didn’t finish my drawing, but I plan to.)

The third drawing contains dinosaurs reading very small books. The idea came to me from the many labels “Keine Werbung” (no advertisement, in German) that I see on postboxes. Adding one letter it becomes “Kleine Werbung”, small advertisement. A T-Rex is the right recipient of small ads, that fit its small arms perfectly 🙂