Animating the Impossible

Animated documentary, as I argue in my book (all but finished and wending its way to the publishers in a day or two – woo hoo!), is in part a response to the limitation of the photographic. Animation can do stuff live-action can’t – it can bring prehistoric creatures to life, it can evoke subjective experiences, it can recapture absent memories. A film that demonstrates this and is really funny to boot is Laurie Hill‘s 2008 Photograph of Jesus. It’s about the stupid requests received by the Hulton Archive in London for photographs that couldn’t possibly exist (hence the film’s title). While it says quite a lot about common sense (or the lack thereof), it also points to our desire for images that go beyond the bounds of what photography can show. I love the archivist’s incredulity and exasperation at the requests.

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