Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

An Autumn Afternoon

May 15, 2015 - Conor Clarke

An Autumn Afternoon, directed by Yasujiro Ozu (1962) A quiet portrait of everyday life in middle class Japan. This beautiful and subtle film is minimal and obsessively composed with a limited palette of primary colours set against a monochromatic background. Life here is restricted to home, office, restaurant and bar. At the beginning of the film, we see urban Japan in a sequence of quiet urban scenes - soft white steam drifts from red and white striped chimneys. There are coloured barrel drums, stadium lights and offices blocks. These are views from the windows of the locations in which the characters live, work, eat and drink. It is cyclical, repetitive and often symmetrical. The camera doesn't move at all, there are no pans, just a series of vignettes all shot from a very low camera angle. The characters are almost always centred, entering the frame and speaking at the camera, at the viewer. The story follows Shuhei Hirayama, the gentle widowed father of three adult children (two of whom live with him). It's about his relationship with family and close friends, roles and expectations, ageing, loneliness, joy and loss. Also the traditional vs the modern, and unspoken miscommunications between generations and sexes. Thanks to Rowan Payton for the recommendation! [embed width="1000" height="563"][/embed]