Monday, January 5, 2009

Oxford Project

I received a very special present for Christmas this year from one of my oldest friends and his lady...the book is entitled the Oxford Project...Photographer Peter Feldstein and writerStephen Bloom went to a small town in Iowa in 1984 and documented ALL 700+ of it's residents at the time...only to return in 2007-08 to rephotograph them as they are now...simple black and white photographs taken with two lights, a tarp and a camera...It is special in a number of ways...1.) it is an amazing study in character design in terms of the history, back story, fears and dreams of a character...look into the eyes of these townspeople...along with the photographs, Bloom captures brief stories given by the subjects of the photographs...they are heartwarming, simple, sincere, charming and beautiful glimpses into their thoughts and feelings of themselves and life around them...below are just a few of the photos before and after (1984 and 2008) 2.) it completely supports the one thing that is consistently inspiring me creatively and is the impetus for ADAM...when you look at some of these photos you see that some folks haven't changed much at favorite of the below images is TED as his costume remains consistent although he's aged a bit...JOANN physically has changed a lot and KEVIN to a good degree as well but his costume is consistent...familiarity I'm guessing...I love watching people and what they wear and try to figure out how their fashion has they perceive themselves in those clothes...was the choice to put "this" on instead of "that" motivated by appearance, the fact that they still hadn't done laundry, or comfort...this is a big part of character design for me...that psychology of what a character wears as a signifier to who they are...I wear a lot of flannel shirts, don't shave, and have perpetually blood-shot eyes...when people characature me that's what goes into it and is nearly ALWAYs recognizable...3.) it is just an inspiring narrative of small town America...simple straight on compositions of and white...and yet those simple images say so much...enjoy these...Thanks Ben and Maja!

1 comment:

Kevin Mcleod said...


tThanks for posting these and for talking about the book. I have been trying to learn about character design for a long time and still feel my work suffers. Your post has help demistify it a bit.