Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Picasso on the Gridiron

Pablo's girlfriend watches the Big Game...

As mentioned before, I’m not much of a football fan. Yes, I watched three games this season (the Brett Favre Saga intrigued me), and will probably tune in the Stupor Bowl at some point on Sunday – hey, it’s not like I’m not a communist or anything -- but neither do I obsess over which way the pigskin bounces or what Tim Tebow writes on his face.

Still -- being unemployed and all -- I like to skim through the sports pages every morning in search of interesting tidbits, which is where I came across this altogether unexpected passage:

“I’ve always been fascinated by Picasso and how he would look at a single image through multiple perspectives and from separate moments in time,” Sabol said. “He would look at a woman’s face and he would see almost a three dimensional look even though it was a flat canvas. I thought, well why couldn’t we do the same thing with a football play?”

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the terms “football” and “Picasso” used in the same article before, let alone the same paragraph – but much to my surprise, that’s what Monday’s LA Times came up with in its piece on Steve Sabol, who started and still runs the legendary NFL Films, a small production company specializing in capturing stunning slo-mo game footage. Sabol’s cameramen are justly famous for their skills working with very long telephoto lenses – and whether you love the game of football, hate it, or remain indifferent, there’s no denying these guys come up with some truly astonishing footage. Pablo Picasso may be spinning in his grave as I type these words, but in my experience, it’s always worth taking a look at something that’s done really well. This article explains how the distinctive aesthetic created by Sabol and NFL Films came about, and -- surprisingly enough -- has even managed to influence Hollywood.

It’s an interesting read. Check it out.

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