Roadrunner’s Diary

Spotted on Tim McSweeny’s blog: “If Only They Kept Diaries” – Roadrunner, by Jeff Steinbrink1


Up early. Ran like hell. No sign of coyote. Ate. Fidgeted. Ran like hell.


Up early. Ran (speed work). Trompe l’oeil master class, 10 to noon. Meaning to push beyond highway-disappearing-into-tunnel, tried highway-disappearing-into-ballet-class (after Degas). Results unsettling. Light lunch. Coyote assembling whirlybird device (rotor, dynamite, etc.) in box canyon. Listens to Jimmy Buffett. Ran like hell. Barn swallows over for drinks.

Read the rest.


Footnotes for this post:____________________________________
  1. Jeff Steinbrink teaches American Lit and Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College. []

Two Faces of Modernism

When you look at the photographs below that show father and children walking together and playing together, it’s almost impossible for us, or them, to imagine people a few hundred kilometres away who wanted to kill them. Those complete strangers who’d never met the father or his children, were plotting to put them to death even as the shutter clicked on these simple family scenes.
(Please click on the small images below to enlarge them)

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Imre Kinszki with his son, Gabor, around 1929. Photographer unknown.

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Imre Kinszki with his daughter, Judit, around 1929. Photographer unknown.

Imre Kinszki (1901 – 1944) was a pioneer of modernist photography in Hungary, and a founder member of the group called Modern Hungarian Photographers.1
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Imre Kinszki: “Judit” 1934
This is Judit, Gabor’s younger sister, fast asleep. The picture of a slightly older but very much awake Judit (below), was taken in 2007.
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Judit Kinszki. 2007. Photographer unknown.
Judit somehow survived the wave of oppression and death unleashed on Hungary by German forces and local Fascists2 in World War 2, despite being confined to the ghetto, and then being oppressed by the forces of Communism soon after. She lived to tell the tale of her family. She even managed, as a 10 year old, to make sure her father’s portfolio survived the war. And now, as an old lady, she has related all her childhood memories to the Centropa archive.
Click here to see a short film about Judit Kinszki and her father

The last picture of Gabor Kinszki, taken by his father, Imre
Gabor Kinszki by Imre Kiszki, 19423
The boy, Gabor, was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp, aged 18. On arrival he was asked if he had a trade, so as to assess his usefulness to the forced labour regime in the camp. He made the mistake of telling them he was a student. He was immediately stripped naked, tied up and hosed with water, quickly freezing to death in that particularly harsh 1944 winter.

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Portrait of Imre Kinszki Photographer and date unknown.

Enjoy the following images that show how much potential Kinszki had as a young photographer.
Think also of what that talent might have become, had his life not been so arbitrarily snuffed out.

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View from above. Man with bicycle next to a staircase Unknown date.

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Building Workers 1932

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Children Walking Unknown date.

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City Heaven Unknown date.

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Shadows Unknown date.

This next one is amazing. Consider the planning needed to pull off a shot like this…
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Night Phantoms 1938

Please click the image below to reveal the other face of Modernism mentioned in the title of this post. You will see him with his dealer, admiring a looted work of art.
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This last picture brings this post to an end. In my view it’s the best of Kinszki’s legacy; his masterpiece, if you like.
You’ll have to invest it with your own metaphors and projections. Given the history of Imre Kinszki and the events in Hungary around the time of his death, that shouldn’t be difficult to do.

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Bridge and Fog 1930 (Be sure to enlarge this picture by clicking on it).

It’s the Széchenyi Chain Bridge (Elizabeth Bridge) across the River Danube, that links the towns of Buda and Pest. (I’ve done some de-spotting and de-scratching on this image, but no tonal adjustments.)
The photo is part of the touring show called “FOTO. Modernity in Central Europe. 1918 – 1945” which has just ended at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and was previously shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, USA.
The catalogue for the exhibition is available here:-
Continue reading Two Faces of Modernism

Footnotes for this post:____________________________________
  1. He was a peace loving Hungarian born in 1901, twenty eight years after the cities of Buda and Pest were united to form the capital of the new state of Austria-Hungary. He was one of the 65-80 thousand Christians considered to be Jewish at the time of the German occupation in 1944, who, together with the orthodox Jewry, made up nearly a quarter of the town’s population. His professed religion was Greek orthodox. In 2001, barely half a percent of the population was Jewish. []
  2. The Arrow Cross Party []
  3. This is Gabor. This is the last picture that Dad took, or to be more precise, this is the last photo we have of Gabor. You can see already that he is seriously engaged in studying. This is the children’s room, he had a school desk, which had a metal framework and it could be adjusted as he grew, you could always put the screws higher up; but here it was at its maximum height. And you can see that he had a fountain pen. The photo was taken in 1942. Dad couldn’t take any more photos after that. Because there was no sunlight, he was never at home when it was light, he could only come at night; if he had been at home when there was sunlight, he could have continued taking photos.

    In the ghetto we didn’t know anything about Auschwitz and what happened to those in forced labor service. It didn’t even occur to us that my father might not be alive. My mother and I went every day to the Keleti railroad station and went up to everybody who got off and asked them. Once my mother found a man who had been in the same group, and he remembered my father. He said that their car had been unhooked and the train went on towards Germany . They got off somewhere and went on foot towards Sachsenhausen – this was a death march. They spent the night on a German farm, in a barn on straw, and the man [who came back] said his legs had been so full of injuries that he couldn’t go on, and had decided that he would take his chances: he wormed himself into the straw. He did it, they didn’t find him, and that’s how he survived. He didn’t know about the others. We never found anyone else but this single man. So it’s clear that somewhere between this farm and Sachsenhausen everyone had been shot. But we interpreted this news in such a way that all we knew about him was that he would arrive sometime soon. We didn’t have news of my brother for a long time, then my mother found a young man who had worked with my brother. He told us that when they arrived in Buchenwald in winter, they were driven out of the wagon, and asked them what kind of qualifications they had. My brother told them that he was a student. This young man told us that the Germans immediately tied him up, it was a December morning, and they hosed him down with water just to watch him freeze to death. Those who didn’t have a trade were stripped of their clothes and hosed with cold water until they froze. I think that at that moment something broke in my mother. She was always waiting for my father, she refused to declare him dead even though she would have been eligible for a widow’s pension. But she waited for my father until the day she died. She couldn’t wait for my brother, because she had to believe what she had heard. Why would that young man have said otherwise? []


Hans Bacher’s Latest New Blog (Relaunched) (Again) (Once More) (etc.,)

Hans has taken a radical (and timely) step with this new version of his blog. Yes, he’s moved over to using WordPress instead of Blogger, and that means he won’t be penalised as he formerly was for putting tons of images in his posts.

The more the merrier, please, Hans!

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In one of his posts, Hans examines the usefulness of dull and muted colours in backgrounds, and analyses these two shots of a rock from Bambi. (Click to enlarge)

That’s one of the things I really like about Hans’s writing; that he can illuminate huge fields of film aesthetics just by concentrating on a couple of rocks. The world in a grain of sand.

His blog has been added to the sidebar blogroll. Again. :)


Second Hand Animation

Déja vu, anyone?

As well as using live action reference as guides for animation moves, it seems that the Walt Disney Feature Animation artists weren’t above re-using old sequences in new films.

A visual blend of 2 frames from different animated features.
A low res mix of two almost identical frames from two different films.

A French animation fan has cut together this video with frame accurate comparisons and follow throughs of the shots. The moves and timing are uncannily similar, though the characters have been redesigned. Obviously.
Perhaps this was a management decision to cut costs, rather than the result of animators growing lazy.


William Wray’s Work for Nickelodeon’s “Mighty B!”

William Wray (Ren & Stimpy, etc.,) is showing some of the colour keys he’s painted for The Mighty B!.
(Click to enlarge, please)

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Ten episodes will air over five days, starting on the 8th of September.

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The backgrounds work is shared with Seonna Hong and Richard Daskas.

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I like this artwork, but it’s a shame that the stories are so lame. The clips I found on YouTube made me wince.
Here’s a link to the broadcast schedule and more artwork on William Wray’s blog.
William Wray’s plein-air painting blog is here.