Blogs Crosscuts matt peiken

The frames behind the films

  Accompanying Errol Morris on his visit next Tuesday to the Walker (no tickets remain) is Nubar Alexanian, who began working with Morris 15 years ago as his behind-the-scenes photographer. While Morris is here to introduce and discuss his new film, Standard Operating Procedure, Alexanian’s own work sees the light of a day in Nonfiction […]

 

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Accompanying Errol Morris on his visit next Tuesday to the Walker (no tickets remain) is Nubar Alexanian, who began working with Morris 15 years ago as his behind-the-scenes photographer. While Morris is here to introduce and discuss his new film, Standard Operating Procedure, Alexanian’s own work sees the light of a day in Nonfiction ($60; Walker Creek Press), a book of photography from Morris’ film sets.

Morris and Alexanian, who is also part of Tuesday’s talk, consider this book a “collaboration” between a documentary photographer and a filmmaker who tries getting at truth through reenacted stories. The book is designed to to leave viewers wondering about the lines separating fact and fiction. Nonfiction includes photographs from the sets of Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr., the First Person series, and Morris’ new film, which examines the events surrounding the torture carried out by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. The Walker Art Lab is showing 11 of these photos Tuesday night, and the book goes on sale today in the Walker shop.

This is the fifth book of documentary photography for Alexanian, whose subjects vary from the culture and people of Andean Peru (Stones in the Road emerged after Alexanian spent 11 years travelling to South America) to the inspirations of some of the world’s greatest musicians (Where Music Comes From ).

IMAGES: (top) “A prisoner being dragged from his cell”; (middle) “ Waterboarding and electric shock”; (bottom) “ Hooded prisoner on a box,” photographs by Nubar Alexanian, from the film Standard Operating Procedure and Alexanian’s new book, Nonfiction.

 

Errol Morris: The Devil is in the Details

Errol Morris is a “documentary filmmaker” only in that no other succinct label describes his work — most often artful renderings, reenactments, re-visitations, and character studies of true events. Now Morris brings us Standard Operating Procedure, a collaborative film/book project with the writer Philip Gourevitch revealing the stories of the American soldiers who were on […]

Errol Morris is a “documentary filmmaker” only in that no other succinct label describes his work — most often artful renderings, reenactments, re-visitations, and character studies of true events. Now Morris brings us Standard Operating Procedure, a collaborative film/book project with the writer Philip Gourevitch revealing the stories of the American soldiers who were on both sides of the lens of the haunting, iconic photographs from Abu Ghraib prison. Sorry to report, no tickets remain to hear Morris introduce and discuss the film in an April 15 screening at the Walker.

Even without a ticket, you’re only a click away from seeing how Morris’ mind works. In long, captivating blogs for the New York Times, Morris has taken to disseminating and dissecting the topic of photographic truth like a forensic scientist — he’s essentially asking “What is and isn’t documentary?” His latest, published today, digs into his own landmark film, The Thin Blue Line.

In the essay, Morris explains one seemingly small but important creative choice he made in that film — to reenact the spilling of a milkshake at the scene of a police officer’s shooting: “We assemble our picture of reality from details. We don’t take in reality whole. Our ideas about reality come from bits and pieces of experience. We try to assemble them into something that has a consistent narrative.”