Wednesday, 27 July 2011














We shall have to adapt ourselves to the shadowy screen and to the cold machine. A new form of writing will be necessary. I have thought of that and I can feel what is coming. But I rather like it. This swift change of scene, this blending of emotion and experience ... in life, too, changes and transitions flash before our eyes, and emotions of the soul are like a hurricane. The cinema has divined the mystery of motion. And that is greatness.

-Leo Tolstoy

I don't why this quote by Leo Tolstoy came to my mind when I saw these images by the talented photographer, Sylvain-Emmanuel. Something about Tolstoy's words, expressed in a letter to a friend about the advent of cinema, seems to fit with Sylvain-Emmanuel's photography. There is a contradictory tone to these photographs. On one hand, they appear mythic and soaked within a dream-like mist of infused light. But on the other hand, they have a hard and modern edge to them, a kind of grittiness. This seems to perfectly capture the idea I have in my mind of what early cinema signifies: a dream-like wonder, but also, a completely modern form of artistry. Aren't these images just beautiful? Visit Sylvain-Emmanuel's flickr page and website to see more.

Image credit: all images copyright Sylvain-Emmanuel. Thanks for letting me feature them here.


Julie said...

beautiful images. Definitely a blending of emotion and experience.

Lyndall said...

Oh, these are such wonderful photos &hearts, I particularly love the way the photographer has captured light.

Indie.Tea said...

Beautiful. I love the un-self-conscious 'natural' quality of those shots, so uncontrived...and yet the use of light is still flawless.

Emily Vanessa said...

It's so lovely to be back here and rediscover the magical way you put words and images together so beautifully. I love these mysterious places full of shadows and light, those quiet moments.

Naomi Bulger said...

These are absolutely lovely. You are right. They somehow combine dreaminess with grit, and the effect is sublime. Thank you also for sharing the Tolstoy quote, I'd never heard it before. Eerily resonant of the changes to the medium of storytelling that technology has brought about in our own age...

cinta / sepi / sayu said...

absolutely love this post

andrea despot said...

wow! what a quote! like you said, i love the imperfect grittiness of these photographs.

Felix Curds said...

yes yes yes! these are beautiful:)

Nancy Baric *negfilm said...

thank you for tolstoy's words! and yes...there is something very cinematic about sylvain-emmanuel's work...the light, the mise-en-scène and the suggested/arrested movement...

Sasha said...

These are quite beautiful. I love the grittiness of the grain shining through (unless these are digital, but I still get a film vibe). There are such dream-like substance in these photos for sure. I think I'll check out more photography as I really like these.

Jennifer said...

These pictures are beautiful ... and arresting. There's something about them that just grabs your attention. I also think there's a cinematicness about these images, as if they were stills from a movie rather than photographs of the artist's surroundings.

Thanks for sharing!

Ella said...

beautiful photographs, the ethereal feel is just wonderful!

mary shouvlin said...

These are such lovely photographs! That one of the chandelier in the bus stands out as a favorite.

And loving that Tolstoy quote, perfectly fitting.

louise said...

Love the Tolstoy quote and those images are brilliant. I'm a sucker for nighttime photos and any photos of cats so these suit me perfectly. xolj

hila said...

julie: yes, they do seem to capture both.

lyndall: me too, makes me jealous how talented some people are!

indie.tea: that's exactly it - the images are really uncontrived, yet they seem impeccable.

emily vanessa: it's such a pleasure to have you back! Hope you've been well.

naomi bulger: I only came across this quote recently in a book I was sent to review :)

cinta/sepi/sayu: thanks!

andrea: I have a habit of collecting quotes.

felix curds: yes, yes, yes. I agree :)

nancy: I'm glad you can see it too, makes me think it's not all in my head.

sasha: I think these are film photographs. But either way, they are beautiful.

jennifer: oh I agree - I guess that's why they stuck in my mind.

ella: and it's strange that they feel ethereal, because they are quite gritty too.

mary shouvlin: that is a pretty neat image.

luoise: I'm a sucker for both too :)

Susanna-Cole King said...

I'm such a sucker for juxtapositions, like hard and soft, dreaminess and darkness. Thanks for the introduction to these!


hila said...

pleasure sweetheart - I miss you!

Magda said...

So beautiful

hila said...

I agree!