The goal of the analogue photography project was to create fake film stills and reflect on the aesthetics, quality and other characteristics of the moving image.
Styling the photography on a film still requires implementation of appropriate stylistic and artistic language. A film still is just an element taken from the whole film and therefore the medium of film (not the creativity of the maker) imposes on the photography the format and aspect ratio. Currently the most popular aspect ratio is 2,35:1, while in the silent films or classic American cinema it was format close to 4:3 (1,33:1 for mute and 1,37:1 for sound movie). In 50s, in USA, was introduced aspect ratio 1,85:1 to differentiate cinema from television. In the same time in Europe appeared format 1,66:1 as a compromise between 1,37:1 and panoramic 1,85:1. Knowledge of the history of image’s format is very important in creating a film still. In my photographs I was inspired by cinema of 60s so I decided to use the aspect ratio 1,37:1.
Another factor, purely technical, to consider is the quality of image. Naturally, during the black and white cinema the picture quality was different that in the era of digital cinema, what can be seen by the noise, contrast, focus, dynamic range and of course color. The ideal solution would be using the equipment from the period of imaginary film, which is our inspiration. Therefore to take my photographs, I used the analogue camera Nikon FM2, introduced in 1982. As a result, I was able to get the aesthetic of the film reel, which is closer to the style of 60s movies than aesthetic of photos taken with DSLR.
The next phase of my work was the reflection on what makes the image cinematic. What distinguishes it from amateur videos and because of what we can immediately recognize that the image comes from a film production. Undoubtedly one of the measures used by the filmmakers is characteristic, elaborated lighting. Creating my series I was inspired by the lighting used in films noir, with harsh key light, underexposure of the rest of the image, long unnatural shadows and strong backlight. It can be seen especially in figure 1 and 2., where it dominates the backlight making figures shadowed (in fig. 1 the figure on the first plane, in 2. the figure on the background). The image seems to be more dynamic and mysterious, what serves in cinema to emphasize the atmosphere.
Also the composition is subordinated to the goals of emphasizing the atmosphere. Both in photography and in cinema, dominates mainly the classic rule of thirds (fig. 4) and golden ratio (fig. 3), but also more dynamic diagonal composition based on golden triangle rule (fig. 5) and hypnotizing composition of golden spiral (fig. 6).
We completely differently perceive the scene from The Tree of Life (fig. 7) composed symmetrically and statically according to the rule of thirds which creates the atmosphere of calm and harmony and differently the dynamic composition based on diagonal lines from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (fig. 8), heralding the danger from the Cesar somnambulist. It does not make the rule according to which the symmetrical composition based on rule of thirds cannot create the atmosphere of terror and the diagonal one cannot be calm, but it shows how we can emphasize our ideas using properly the artistic language of film.
Despite the similarity in the composition of still and moving image, there is a fundamental difference between them, which is based on the essence of interaction. The photography tells a story using just one picture so it is the composition closed in their own frames. We look at the finite image. Figures and objects on the image are subjected to the relationship between each other or between them and audience which we can understand at a glance. Even if there is open composition, what is outside the frame is also in a certain sense finite by the fact that this is the story of one image stopped in time. In cinema the situation is different because it is the medium based on time. Looking at a film still we are aware that this is just a fragment of a whole story. The protagonist always refers us to something else that is directly connected with the plot of film but what does not necessarily has to be explained and present on this picture. Therefore the creation of a film still is not subordinated to the coercion of telling the finished, closed and immediately explained story. We do not necessarily have to understand what is happening in the image. It has a rather different function: to stimulate our curiosity and to suggest that beyond the frame exists whole reality.
Looking at the film still from The Roman Holiday  (fig. 9), we can easily see another key difference. At the image is a couple photographed on the Spanish Steps in Rome – one of the most touristic places. However we don’t perceive it as a photography from holiday, what would indicate the place, summer time and protagonists. Indeed comparing this still with a stock photography with relatively similar composition (fig. 10), we can see the key difference which is the matter of interaction. In the case of photography the most important interaction is that between protagonists and the camera or audience while on the film still protagonists are always in the interaction only between them. Even if they are alone on the frame, their thoughts still reference to another protagonists or events from the movie (as in Psycho  of Hitchcock where driving Marion – fig. 11 – thinks about stolen money what is also emphasized by voiceover). They are not aware of the presence of audience and cinematographer as it happens in the photography where figures interact with the creator being equal and on the same surface.