the broken wave // 9 min. // 16mm // 2005 // view film

The Broken Wave is a short documentary/narrative hybrid focusing on Gustave Le Gray, a French photographer of the 19th century. One of the first photographers to insist that photography was itself an art form, the film follows his early mature period through the end of his life. Le Gray's story is told through the recreation and reinterpretation of certain photographs of Le Gray's shot on "dirty dupe" (a reversal film that produces a sepia tone, hence the name) and which was then developed by hand. Using the Bolex, the flicker effect was created by hand cranking the film through the gate, thereby altering each frame's exposure. The film might appear to have been made far in the past, but the contemporary content distorts and undermines that very perception. The selection of images covers his landscape, architecture, portraiture, and an emphasis on his seascape photography, for which he is most famous.