Marc Maron: Do you miss film?
Werner Herzog: Celluloid? No, I am not nostalgic. I still love it. Of course I love it. But digital film making has helped me to work faster and to work less expensively. So that’s why all of a sudden I’m coming out with four films, all of them ready for distribution. The system of distribution is too slow for my output.
MM: What did you lose with celluloid?
WH: Well, the kind of magic of the flicker of 24 frames in a theater. And celluloid, you alway have to understand it as a layer, a three dimensional thin layer of emulsion that stores the information. Whereas digital film is only a file of zeroes and ones. It’s strange that we sense there’s a different life to it.
MM: Also I imagine the editing process is a bit more decisive.
WH: When you work in celluloid, you better come to some conclusions quickly and what I see today in digital editing, there are directors who do not know what they are doing and they create twenty-two parallel versions and they never can decide. I’m editing almost as fast as I am thinking. Because I do not have to search for that small reel of film and look for…making some pen marks on it and glue it, splice it and feed it into a system and roll it to the right moment.
I’m editing much much fast now. Closer to writing in a way, yes.
And I’ve been trying for years to stamp out the legend that the word, that the letters HAL was derived from IBM by one letter displacement. And of course HAL actually stands for Heuristic Algorithmic, H. A. L. But that’s a myth that I can’t quite stamp out. I think that IBM are quite proud of it so I’ve given up the attempt.
– Arthur C. Clarke, the IBM story is “utter nonsense.”
I’ve got a very nice story about Stanley. I’d finished Blade Runner and it was a disaster. And my investors who were giving me a really hard time, said…’You can’t end the film with this picking up this piece of origami, looking at the girl, walking in the elevator, and nodding, that’s called a film noir.’
I said, ‘What’s a film noir.’…
‘We have to test this with an uplifting ending where they will go off into the wilderness together.’
I said, ‘Well if they can go off into the beautiful wilderness, why are they living in this dystopian environment?’
‘Allright, I’ll do it.’
So by then, I had talked to Stanley a few times. I called him up and said listen, ‘I know you shot the hell out of wherever it was in The Shining, and I know you’ve got four and a half months of helicopter stuff…[inaudible]. Can I have some of the stuff because it will suit me fine.’
The next day I had seventeen hours of helicopter footage, it was stunning. So the end of the film in Blade Runner, that’s Stanley Kubrick’s footage…
But he said,’You got a vehicle, what is it?’
‘Oh shit, every shot I have has a Volkswagen in it.’ Then he went, ‘Oh, what did you shoot?’
I said, ‘Anamorphic’
“Ah jolly good, when you project mine, it’ll look oblong. You’ll be fine.’
Then a day later he called me.
‘It’s Stanley. One other thing. I know you’re going through my footage right now. If there’s anything I used, you can’t have it. Got it?’
I went, ‘Okay cool.’
That was it. That was Kubrick.
– Ridley Scott
When I was in Chiang Mai, I did not find a fixer so instead I hired a normal tour guide to drive me around the northern hill tribe area. For the most part it was a great and fruitful couple of days, visiting villages, following whim and taking chances. There were a few times where he tried to take me to touristy shit: elephant training camps, waterfalls, etc.
The one place he did take me to that was a complete tourist trap was a Padaung Karen “village”. It was obviously a piece of show because there was a gravel parking lot to accommodate buses, lots of signage in english, the people springing up when I came by in the wooden shacks, tribal wares on display.
It was only afterwards that I did some research and realized how much controversy surrounds these “longneck” hill tribes. Please refer to this article on CNN for more information.
Putting these images up in the hope that people doing research for their trips to the hill tribes area can find this and stay away from any longneck villages. There are plenty of tribal villages to visit which are authentic and you can participate and contribute, even spending the night and doing work for and with them.
It’s a fine line. Did I document a people that are disadvantaged or was I exploiting these same people or was I even documenting their exploitation?
The gunners reached out into the open air and leveled their guns with a great slot and click sound. They trained them on the ground. I felt my hands tense up. I realized, for the first time, that both my hands were wrapped tightly around my Leica. Oh my god, my Leica! I have the greatest camera in the world in my fucking hands and I’m in the middle of this shit right here.
In that moment, ALL FEAR was gone. I was right where I wanted to be in the whole world. I reached into my pocket, which was difficult with the armor, and took out my light meter. I got readings out the window, inside, the floor under my feet. I did quick averages of the readings in my head. Now all my thoughts were of film. “Okay I’m at about 5.6 outside if I’m at 250 which is a good speed from a moving helicopter. If I want to get stuff outside, I’ll squeeze the fstop down to about 8. If I want inside the bird I’ll open to 2.8, 4 if I want a bit of both.” I set all these functions on the camera and started firing away. The helicopter leaned forward and we tore off across Baghdad.
– Louis CK
Apologies for the year long hiatus. I have been busy with the jobby job, but I have also been on some amazing trips. Will be posting those images soon.
So here we go.
- Thailand | Chiang Rai
- Werner Herzog | On Celluloid
- Chiang Mai | Hmong Hill Tribe
- Chiang Mai | The Karen Hill Tribe
- Arthur C. Clarke | The HAL – IBM Myth
- Chiang Mai | Palong Hill Tribe
- Ridley Scott | Kubrick Footage in Blade Runner
- Chiang Mai | Longneck Hill Tribe
- Louis CK | Leica Shooting, USO Tour
- Chiang Mai | Akha Hill Tribe
- Louis CK | Leica MP
- Bangkok | Siyamon
- Bangkok | Siam
- Bangkok | Ekamai
- Bangkok | Pom Prap Sattru Phai
- Born Yogis
- Chiang Mai
- dougKIM photography
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Francisco
- São Paulo
- Washington DC