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Engaging the Moving Image$
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Noël Carroll

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300091953

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300091953.001.0001

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Photographic Traces and Documentary Films: Comments for Gregory Currie

Photographic Traces and Documentary Films: Comments for Gregory Currie

(p.225) Chapter 10 Photographic Traces and Documentary Films: Comments for Gregory Currie
Engaging the Moving Image

Noël Carroll

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Gregory Currie's characteristically stimulating and carefully crafted article “Visible Traces: Documentary Film and the Contents of Photographs,” which introduces a sophisticated theory of the documentary film. For Currie, a documentary film is one comprised of a preponderance of photographic images that function in the context of the relevant film as traces of the objects and events that causally produced them. An image of Gregory Peck in a documentary film is a representation of Gregory Peck, a photographic trace of the actor at a certain time and place. A documentary about Gregory Peck is constructed mostly of such images. Whereas in a fictional film, like To Kill a Mockingbird, photographic images of Gregory Peck are used to represent the fictional character Atticus Finch, in a documentary film—such as a biography of Gregory Peck—traces represent the living actor.

Keywords:   photographs, Gregory Currie, documentary film, photographic images, traces, Gregory Peck, To Kill a Mockingbird

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