Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Photographers' shadows and Goldwynisms

click photo to enlarge
The Polish-born American film producer, Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974), became almost as famous for his "Goldwynisms" as for his work in the cinema. His often surreal mixture of muddle and malapropisms are numerous, frequently memorable, and often hilarious. There is debate over the provenance of all the examples attributed to him, but many, if not most are are likely to be original. Those who knew him suggest that they arose because English wasn't his first language, because his thoughts often came faster than his ability to put them into words, and because he had a sharp sense of humour. When you read them you do feel that the first "Goldwynisms" were probably solecisms, but that the later ones may have been the product of a man enjoying his reputation for verbal infelicities. Whatever the truth, here are some that I particularly enjoy:
  • "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on."
  • "Every director bites the hand that lays the golden egg."
  • "Anyone who would go to a psychiatrist should have his head examined."
  • "Give me a couple of years and I'll make that actress an overnight success."
  • "I don't think anyone should write his autobiography until after he's dead."
  • "In two words: im-possible."
  • "Our comedies are not to be laughed at."
  • "The next time I send a damn fool for something I'll go myself."
  • "Why did you name him Sam? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Sam!"
  • "They stayed away in droves."
  • "You fail to overlook the crucial point."
Reading that last one it occurs to me that perhaps "Goldwynism" is a disease that infected, among others, George Bush II.

You may be wondering what the connection is between the quotations above and my photograph of the shadow of me standing on the steps at the base of a Lincolnshire wind turbine. Well, one of the things you learn when you are starting out in photography, then learn to judiciously ignore as you become more experienced, is to never let your own shadow intrude into your image. It occurred to me, as I reviewed my shot, that Sam Goldwyn's most famous "ism" - "Include me out" - sums this rule up quite nicely!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 12mm (24mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/1250
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On