Look Homeward, Angel: Park Pretty

Look Homeward, Angel: Park Pretty

Many years ago, during my time as a child and through young adulthood, I was immersed in the (sometimes solitary) lavish joys of nature in rural South Carolina. The memories of the steaming, dusty red clay roads and the smells of downstate piney-woods are now fading away, replaced by years of gritty urban life in Chicago’s inner-city. However, that doesn’t mean that now I’ve become completely blind to the beauty of rural landscapes. I just have to enjoy it from the comfort of a chair, in more climate-controlled conditions. So this video is pretty perfect for me.

Yosemite HD is an amazing four-minute time-lapse short art film, a collaboration between Sheldon Neill and Colin Delehanty. They made numerous trips to Yosemite National Park, where they captured the beautiful landscape it offers for visitors every year. Set to Outro, from M83’s lovely and stratospheric Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, this might be the best music video you could ask for. So stop whatever you’re doing right now, put this video in full-screen mode and breath very deeply during the film’s duration!

Look Homeward, Angel: Park Pretty (Yosemite HD)

(Best Watched in Full-Screen HD-Mode)

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Getting Very High in Venice Beach, LA

Getting Very High in Venice Beach, LA

Getting High in Venice Beach, LA is a very trippy short film by The Cool Hunter, which invites you to experience a state of floating ecstasy without even needing to leave your chair or coconut tree, and whenever the desire strikes you.

In the 1950s and 60s, Venice Beach became a center for the Beat Generation, with a mind-altering explosion of young counterculture artists, poets and writers. Even today, Venice Beach is a summertime hotbed of activity, which includes the beach, the promenade or boardwalk running parallel to the beach, the fabulously hot Muscle Beach, the handball courts, the paddle tennis courts, Skate Dancing plaza, the numerous beach volleyball courts and the renowned Venice basketball courts that are known all across the country for their high level of streetball. And Getting High in Venice Beach, LA takes you on a dizzily buoyant trip through all of Venice Beach, accompanied by Brian Eno’s dreamy soundtrack, Deep Blue Day.

Getting Very High in Venice Beach, LA

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24 Hours of Neon: Color and Insanity

24 Hours of Neon: Color and Insanity

24 Hours of Neon is an HDR (high dynamic range) tone mapped, time lapse four-minute short film by English filmmaker Philip Bloom. The film creates a sense of the color and insanity that Las Vegas gives you, all from one view point: Bloom’s balcony in his room at the MGM Signature hotel. Music is by the awesome Clint Mansell, from the stunning movie Moon.

24 Hours of Neon: Color and Insanity

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Take a Super-Short International Holiday: San Francisco to Paris in Two Minutes!

Take a Super-Short International Holiday: San Francisco to Paris in Two Minutes!

SF to Paris in Two Minutes is a two-minute time lapse short film by Nate Bolt at Beep Show. Bolt took a photograph roughly every two miles between take-off in San Francisco and landing in Paris CDG to make this airplane time lapse.

The photos during take-off and landing are all computer models and totally rendered, since you can’t  use electronic devices during times that the FAA prohibits them. Bolt got lucky and had a whole row to himself to set up the tripod and gear. Otherwise, just imagine how annoying it would have been to sit next to a guy taking a photograph out of the plane’s window every 2-to-30 seconds during an 11-hour flight!

Watch more of these wacky time lapse short films at Beep Show.

Take a Super-Short International Holiday: San Francisco to Paris in Two Minutes!

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America by Car: Landscapes Framed by Rental Cars

Montana, 2008

Las Vegas, 2007

Las Vegas, 2007

New York City, 2002

Pennsylvania, 2002

America by Car: Landscapes Framed by Rental Cars

Photography by:  Lee Friedlander

America by Car is an acclaimed series of photographs by the master photographer Lee Friedlander.  Driving through most of the country’s fifty states in ordinary rental cars, he took his black-and-white, square-format photographs entirely from the interior of the rental cars.  Friedlander employed the brilliantly simple idea of using the sideview mirror, rearview mirror, the windshield, and the side windows as picture frames within which to record reflections of this country’s eccentricities and obsessions at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Friedlander’s collection of photographs isn’t arranged in a manner that provides an On the Road style of narrative.  Instead, he groups images by subject, not geography: monuments, churches, houses, factories, ice cream shops, plastic Santas, roadside memorials.  Every snapshot includes and employs the vehicle’s interior and exterior elements as a means of fracturing and multiplying the image, providing a submersive sensory experience, like the one in which a driver might engage when glancing out at or studying something other than the road.

But as you look more closely at the photographs, the jarring and often deflecting nature of the images’ framings begins to fade, and you start to recognize the seemingly intentional groupings of subjects, pushed together as if to emphasize their similarity, but with clear divisions (the varied locations, for one; the physical and visual frames, for another.)  Then you also can recognize the keen sense of humor at play in many of the juxtapositions: a chain-link palm tree standing in the desert, a photo of a sign offering a photo-op in a quarter mile.  Finally, there’s the massive glory of disorder, a kind of celebration of roadside nonsense.

You can read more about Lee Friedlander’s America by Car in The New York Times here.

On the Road with Lee Friedlander

Lee Friedlander: America by Car

Slide Show: Lee Friedlander/America by Car

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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Eyjafjallajökull: The Volcanic Eruption on Iceland

Eyjafjallajökull: The Volcanic Eruption on Iceland

Eyjafjallajökull is one of the smaller glaciers of Iceland, which covers a volcano that has erupted relatively frequently.  It has erupted twice in 2010, on March 20th and April 14th.  The March event forced a brief evacuation of around 500 people, but the April eruption was ten to twenty times more powerful and caused substantial disruption to air traffic all across Northern Europe.

Eyjafjallajökull is an incredible three-minute documentary short film by Marc Szeglat, with some of  the most amazing shots of volcanic activity ever seen.

Eyjafjallajökull: The Volcanic Eruption on Iceland

(Best Viewed in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Kisses from Paris: Two Young Lovers Kiss Their Way Around Paris

Kisses from Paris: Two Young Lovers Kiss Their Way Around Paris

Kisses from Paris is a dreamily sexy three-minute short film by the French filmmaker Yvan Attal, a tribute to Paris, its young lovers and its street life.  The film’s a journey off the beaten track, taking in sights tourists tend to miss: there’s a rock concert in the Château de Vincennes, as well as footage shot around the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Palais du Tokyo and the flea market at Saint Ouen.

It shows the multi-cultural side of Paris, its art and music scenes, and the actors are young, beautiful and appealingly scruffy.  They meet, fall for each other, and spend the day wandering around with their hormones raging, while Rufus Wainwright sings a melancholy tune in the background.  “I don’t want to leave Paris,” moans the young woman in between passionate kisses.

Kisses from Paris: Two Young Lovers Kiss Their Way Around Paris

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