Amateur Movie Making

Amateur Movie Making : Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film, 1915-1960

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A compelling regional and historical study that transforms our understanding of film history, Amateur Movie Making demonstrates how amateur films and home movies stand as testaments to the creative lives of ordinary people, enriching our experience of art and the everyday. Here we encounter the lyrical and visually expressive qualities of films produced in New England between 1915 and 1960 and held in the collections of Northeast Historic Film, a moving image repository and study center that was established to collect, preserve, and interpret the audiovisual record of northern New England. Contributors from diverse backgrounds examine the visual aesthetics of these films while placing them in their social, political, and historical contexts. Each discussion is enhanced by technical notes and the analyses are also juxtaposed with personal reflections by artists who have close connections to particular amateur filmmakers. These reflections reanimate the original private contexts of the home movies before they were recast as objects of study and artifacts of public more

Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19.05mm | 576.06g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 64 b&w illus.
  • 0253025621
  • 9780253025623

Review quote

"There is an old idea that amateur art is the purest, because it is made without consideration of money or fame. Here is the proof-vivid slices of real life as rich and rewarding as any gallery of Old Masters, rescued from obscurity through the extraordinary efforts of Northeast Historic Film. The essays in this volume, written in plain language, provide fresh insight into this still underappreciated art form. Like great paintings, the films themselves are impossible to forget" -Phillip Prodger, Head of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London "This book is important because it is interdisciplinary on every level, it focuses on the materiality of the films, it pays attention to how the films are constructed and what they mean, and it grounds itself in regional space as a zone of overlapping discourses." -Patricia R. Zimmermann, author of Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film "This remarkable collection of essays both documents and brings to life the contributions of amateur filmmakers in the Northeast region of the United States...As a group these practitioners, and the record of their work treated here, have helped to define aesthetic choices and expectations that have so thoroughly permeated the twentieth century and present era as to be sometimes invisible. This important study, itself reflecting a broad range of voices, performs the important work of bringing them back into view." -Anne Goodyear, Co-Director, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine "As the academic study of amateur and home movies enters into a more mature phase, it has become ever more apparent that such films can only be understood by understanding the various contexts of their production-who shot the films when, where, and why?-and their reception in the family or larger groups. Martha J. McNamara and Karan Sheldon'sAmateur Movie Making: The Aesthetics of the Everyday in New England Film, 1915-1960,is the first volume to provide analyses of a group of amateur films which are available for study, making the volume an excellent reader for courses on amateur film." -Jan-Christopher Horak, Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive, Professor, Critical & Media Studies, Los Angelesshow more

About Professor Martha J McNamara

Martha J. McNamara is Director of the New England Arts and Architecture Program in the Department of Art at Wellesley College. She is author of From Tavern to Courthouse: Architecture and Ritual in American Law, 1658-1860 and editor (with Georgia Barnhill) of New Views of New England: Studies in Material and Visual Culture, 1680-1830. Karan Sheldon is cofounder of northern New England's moving image archive, Northeast Historic Film. She has curated screenings including You Work, We'll Watch and Exceptional Amateur Films and given annual lectures in Regional and Nontraditional Moving Image Archiving for the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, Rochester, more

Table of contents

Accessing Moving Images Foreword / Alice T. FriedmanAcknowledgmentsIntroduction / Martha McNamara and Karan Sheldon Part 1: Locating Contexts: Archive, Material, History, Place 1. A Place for Moving Images: Thirty Years of Northeast Historic Film / Karan Sheldon2. The Technologies of Home Movies and Amateur Film / Dino Everett 3. A Region Apart: Representations of Maine and Northern New England in Personal Film, 1920-1940 / Libby Bischof4. A Strange Familiarity: Alexander Forbes and the Aesthetics of Amateur Film / Justin WolffPart 2: Creative Choices: Recovering Value in Amateur Film Reflection 1. The Task at Hand: The Films of Ernest Stillman / Whit Stillman5. Midway Between Secular and Sacred: Consecrating the Home Movie as a Cultural Heritage Object / Karen Gracy6. "All the Wonderful Possibilities of Motion Pictures": Hiram Percy Maxim and the Aesthetics of Amateur Filmmaking / Charles Tepperman 7. Comedic Counterpoise: Landscape and Laughs in the Films of Sidney N. Shurcliff / Martha J. McNamara Part 3: Everyday Lives: Home and Work in Amateur FilmReflection 2. Perspectives on the Home Movies of Charles Norman Shay, Penobscot Elder / Jennifer Neptune8. Not-at-Home Movies / Christopher Castiglia and Christopher Reed 9. The Boss's Film: Expert Amateurs and Industrial Culture / Brian JacobsonPart 4: Families: Private and PublicReflection 3. "The Ring of Time" in the E. B. White Home Movies / Martha White10. Opening the Can: Home Movies In the Public Sphere / Melissa Dollman 11. Layers of Vision in Amateur Film / Mark Neumann and Janna Jones Selected BibliographyIndexshow more