December 2, 2007

Additional Benjamin

While this section of the Benjamin article is not directly linked to Meg's previous post, it still have some relevance to the cameraman. On page 233 Benjamin uses the comparison of a magician and a surgeon to that of a painter and a cameraman. He talks about how one maintains a natural distance from their patient while the other does not eventually saying, "In short, in contrast to the magician- who is still hidden in the medical practitioner-the surgeon at the decisive moment abstains from facing the patient man to man; rather, it is through the operation that he penetrates into him. Magician and surgeon compare to painter and cameraman. The painter maintains in his work a natural distance from reality, the cameraman penetrates deeply into its web." He then makes the connection that the cameraman creates a significantly comparison to reality than the painter does. This brings me to question by what terms is he comparing "reality" in what a cameraman produces and what a painter produces? While there are obvious similarity to a film and reality vs. a painting, couldn't we argue that film can also be a misrepresentation of reality just as much? At least in a painting the artist is capturing the present and complete picture. In film the reality is recorded but is broken down, chopped up and edited to create a assumed reality. And finally if Benjamin is comparing the painter to the cameraman, the painter seems to be the observer and creates as a reaction to what he sees in reality. Can't you comment better on reality when you take a step back and look at it in the big picture sense? Does this make sense?

1 comment:

Meg said...

A film can also be a misrepresentation of reality but it depends on how you define "reality"...and to who (of course I thought the shark in Jaws was real) You mention that "At least in a painting the artist is capturing the present and complete picture." but to the director so is the film in its final production,its th eediting that makes it so. It "represents" reality for the director. The directors and the cameramen both take steps back to view the whole scene when they are filming I would suppose, just like a painter steps back to view his paininting before he adds his finishing touches.