Porto beauty trumps video

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Porto, Portugal, screenshot of video by Kirill Neiezhmakov.

Last night I posted a Kuriositas video of Madrid that, using time-lapse and hyper-lapse videogrpahy caught the beauty of Spain’s capital. It was by by Kirill Neiezhmakov. I visited his website and found a video, “A Day in Porto,” Portugal’s second largest city after its capital, Lisbon. It is also the home of the author of Exploding the Myths of Modern Architecture, one of my bibles. Malcolm Millais sends me lots of interesting stuff by email, some of which ends up on this blog.

Neiezhmakov’s video of Porto illustrates the pitfalls of that art form.

People who click on a video of a particular city such as Porto are probably interested more in seeing Porto than in the technical virtuosity of the videographer. Now, Neiezhmakov may be the best in the business, and his innovative videos certainly prove the virtuosity of his talent. But if I call up a video about Porto, I don’t want to spend the first minute or so waiting for the videographer to stop jumping off a bridge to point his camera at a couple of fish and a shoreline. And when he does at last get around to shooting the city itself, I would rather see Porto than a shot of a camera screen with Porto in the background. There is a lot of speedy zooming in and out, and other videographical loop-the-loopery. These tell me more about Neiezhmakov’s talent than about the beauty of Porto.

Don’t get me wrong, the beauty of Porto is evident throughout, but I would like to be able to linger on it. I am not interested in the Neiezhmakovian virtuosity, except as a tool to get me to Porto. I grant there are those for whom Neiezhmakov’s technique is more interesting than his subject matter. I’m sure the next step in his development as an artistic videographer will be to achieve a range of video tricks that do more to teaze out the beauty of Porto, or whatever his subject may be, in ways that display his talent without allowing his talent to step on his subject.

And he really does need to choose better music – though I suppose that’s purely a matter of taste. However, when his subject is the beauty of a historic city, a background of classical music would be far more enchanting, and more evocative of the subject matter, than the pop fare he chose for Porto or the juiced-up elevator music that accompanies his video of Madrid.

Having said all that, I salute Neiezhmakov and await his inevitable growth and maturity in melding the art of videography with the beauty of the cities he helps us visit.

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About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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