Who Watches the Watchmen Photographer?
Even though I am not a dedicated comic follower, I still fondly remember the hours I spent as a child, hidden away in my room reading Spiderman and Batman comics. I also had a large collection of 2000 A.D., which fellow Brit readers might remember. As I grew up, other activities required my time, but my love for the characters that inhabited those comic book worlds did not fade and I always looked forward to any new film based on a comic superhero. Most of the time I was met with disappointment, but every now and again a director who truly understands the comic will take the helm and create a memorable movie.
I confess that while I knew about the book well before the film (surely the blood-stained smiley face is embedded in most people’s consciences), I didn’t read it until after I saw the film. This was a purposeful decision, as I wanted to see the film with fresh eyes, and then delve even further into the story by reading the book.
But it is the imagery of the movie that this post is about, this being a photography blog and all. I was blown away by the camera work in the film, most of which was inspired by the comic illustrations themselves. Moving images created from static ones, and an imaginary, alternative reality brought to life through the talents of many artists (not least of which Larry Fong, director of photography).
To come full circle and return the flesh and bone characters to the confines of 2-dimensionality, Zack Snyder hired New York photographer Clay Enos. Mr Enos had the enviable task of being on the set of Watchmen during production of the movie, with the job of documenting the process through his photography. While doing this, he conceived of a personal project photographing the characters in between takes. 220 of these photographs have now been published as a book, Watchmen: Portraits. Mr Enos has kindly made some of these available on his website.
The stark, contrasty B&W, likely inspired by Rorschach and the inherent dichotomies that support the story, works marvellously well in Mr Enos’s capable hands. I could keep on going, but I suggest you just enjoy the view.
All photos: ©Clay Enos.