Thursday, September 20, 2012

Power of Image

Director Ron Fricke’s latest movie masterpiece is Samsara, an around the world visual feast with zero words. He spent 5 years filming in 25 countries. Samsara in Sanskrit means “continuous flow” of the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. I felt a rush of emotions as I left the theatre, with words like “stunning, mesmerizing, startling, and hypnotic, all cascading in a visual torrent! Fast cut stills and incredible time-lapse imagery takes us on a journey from Ethiopia to East LA, and from Bali to Buddhist temples.

Monks create a sand mandala showing a wheel of life and realms of Samsara. After completion it is destroyed symbolizing the Buddhist doctrine of the transitory nature of life. The monastery is in the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, a disputed area in the northern most tip of India.

One of the most amazing shots in the film was of a woman from the Mursi tribe from the Omo Valley in Southern Ethiopia!

The film made me think of the “Family of Man” book on the 1955 classic photography exhibit curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art. The black & white images are as amazing now as they were then!

A favorite is the 1936 Dorothea Lange photograph, “Migrant Mother.” The powerful image captured a mother’s sense of desperation.

W. Eugene Smith’s 1946 photograph, “A Walk to Paradise Garden”, symbolizes walking from darkness into light.

Perception of imagery is both magical and mysterious. Why do we interpret images differently? None of us sees the world as it REALLY is. The difference may be due to our on-board processors (our brains), our emotional state, and our past experiences.

***Samsara movie trailer link:

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