JDIFF 2013: Get the Picture

 

Steven Galvin sees history caught on camera at ‘Get the Picture, which screened as part of the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.

 

Get the Picture

Sun, 17th February
Light House 3
18.15
70 mins


Get the Picture tells the fascinating story of the legendary John G Morris, former picture editor of Life magazine, the New York Times and executive editor of Magnum Photos. Now 96, the film takes an in-depth look at the man responsible for publishing some of the  most powerful images over the last three quarters of a century. In doing so, the film also chronicles photojournalism since WWII, with contributions from many of the world’s most renowned names in photography, including Marc Riboud, Martine Franck, Paulo Pellegrin and Don McCullin among others. Morris commissioned and selected images that would visually define iconic moments in history.

 

Robert Capra’s images of the D-Day landings of Tuesday, 6th June, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy.

 

Eddie Adams’ brutal image of a Vietcong prisoner being executed on the streets of Saigon in February 1969.

 

Kim Phuc’s 1972 horrifying image of a nine-year-old South Vietnamese girl running naked down a road away from an American napalm strike.

 

To see such images on the big screen was a visual knock-out and the film’s director Cathy Pearson deftly incorporates into the narrative many of the unforgettable defining images that Morris brought to us.

Pearson herself was on hand at the post screening Q&A to tell the audience how she serendipitously met Morris in Paris while she was out having dinner one night with a friend. Morris was listening in on their conversation and joined in; and out of their meeting the documentary came into existence. She recalled how she bonded with Morris over the course of the project – a man “who has a great passion for life”.

 

Working his way up from office boy in 1937 at Life magazine, Morris found himself at the forefront of photojournalism when America entered the war in 1941 following Japan’s attack on Pearl harbour. Morris’ strong views on peace and conflict resolution fuelled a determination in his work, which is predicated on his insistence on getting the truth out. Pearson’s documentary is a testament to the man’s life and legacy, whose keen eye and sense of significance caught so many of the essential moments of 20th century photojournalism and put them into the public sphere.

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