Ralph Steiner (1899-1986)
H2O (1929), 14 minutes
Surf and Seaweed (1929/30), 11 minutes
Mechanical Principles (1931), 11 minutes
Panther Woman of the Needle Trades (1931), 11 minutes
Dance Film (1931), 1.5 minutes
The Quarry (1932), 9 minutes
Harbor Scenes (1932), 10 minutes
G3 (1932), 10 minutes
Pie in the Sky (1934). Co-directed by Elia
Kazan, Molly Day Thacher, & Irving Lerner. 16 minutes.
Cafe Universal (1934), 20 minutes
Hands (1934), 8 minutes
The Plow That Broke the Plains (1936). Steiner
was one of three cinematographers, with Paul
Strand and Leo Hurwitz. 21 minutes
People of the Cumberland (1937). Steiner was
cintematographer for directors Sidney Meyers
and Eugene Hill. 21 minutes
The City (1939). Steiner and Willard Van Dyke
shared direction and cinematography. 43 minutes
New Hampshire Heritage (1940). Steiner and Van
Dyke shared cinematography, probably also the
direction. 30 minutes
Youth Gets a Break (1941). Steiner was one of
six cinematographers on this film directed by
Joseph Losey. 20 minutes
Troop Train (1942), 30 minutes
Earth and Fire (1950). Steiner was also producer.
Seaweed, a Seduction (1960), 8 minutes
One Mans Island (1969), 16 minutes
Glory, Glory (1970/71), 10.5 minutes
A Look at Laundry (1971), 8.5 minutes
Beyond Niagra (1973), 8 minutes
Look Park (1973/74), 10.5 minutes
Hurrah for Light (1975), 20 minutes
Slowdown (1975), 18 minutes
Steiner on Light:
The medieval alchemist spent his days attempting to turn lead into gold. If only he had glanced out his window as the sun came from behind a cloud, what a turning of lead into gold hed have seenespecially if the sun got behind things to shine through them. The sun doesnt have to shine on tropical foliage to make magic; it makes it in your own backyard if you are open to magic. As Thoreau put it: "Only that day dawns to which we are alive."...people will fly to Europe to look at the adoration which Rembrandt, Caravaggio, La Tour paid to lightthey will stand in awe in the center of that great vaulted room of colored glass, the Sainte Chapelle, but at home, if martinis are waiting indoors, they will not slow down to look as the grass around the door turns incandescent in the setting sun. And theres a lot more sunset grass in our lives than Saint Chapelles or paintings in museums.
Much of what I photograph with a still camera I use as material in my films. One film, entirely devoted to what light can do to ordinary stuff, is called Hurrah for Light!
There are occasions when, if you photograph what light does, you have to move fast. The sun and clouds never hold still, and when you see a miracle of light happening out front, you are certain that within seconds it will disappear. Even if the sun does come out again shortly, it will not look the same or as magical. Excitement is necessary to the photographer, and excitement never strikes twice. The first and last photographs in this sequence were exposed in a hysteria of haste: you frame the picture, you dont take time to think about exposure, you just give one of every kind of exposure your camera can produce.
Ralph Steiner, A Point of View, 1978, p. 66.