Thursday, May 10, 2012

Autographed photo of the day


Today’s submission is an Ebay find – a signed photo of German actress/director/cinema pioneer Leni Riefenstahl.

Somebody else probably would have figured it out if she hadn't, but Leni Riefenstahl pretty much invented sports cinematography.

Much of what we've seen in TV coverage of the Olympics involves camera techniques that Riefenstahl developed for shootingleni javelin Olympia, her epic film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

And yes, this is the same Leni Riefenstahl who created Triumph of the Will, the premiere Nazi propaganda film working under a direct commission from Adolf Hitler.

She was unquestionably the most talented woman director of the 20th century, but her deal with the devil wrecked her chances for a post-war career.

leni elevatorEven so, she took up still photography, lied about her age to take up scuba diving in her 80s, did amazing photographic work with African tribes and lived to be 101.

Riefenstahl pioneered in the area of the moving camera and innovative shooting angles.

If you were impressed with the shots of the track events in the Bird's Nest from the camera pod that followed the runners down the  track, know that it's a refinement of what Riefenstahl was doing  in '36.

Ditto high angle elevator shots. And lowlevel track and field shots - she had camera pits dug in leni camerastrategic places in the Berlin Olympic Stadium for her cameras.

See if you can track down a copy of Olympia. It's conspicuously absent from the Netflix lineup, but you can get it on DVD from for as little as $14.83.

No comments: