Peter B. Hutton

Peter B. Hutton – At Sea (2007)

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A sweeping meditation on global commerce, labor and geography in the 21st century which chronicles the birth, life and death of a merchant ship.

“The sublime is no more strongly felt than in Peter Hutton’s magisterial At Sea. Put simply, the film tells the story (“the birth, life and death”—in the director’s words) of a container ship—but there are no words to adequately describe the film’s awesome visual expedition. Hutton knows the sea. His experiences as a former merchant seaman have informed his filmmaking practice, known for its rigor and epic beauty. Read More »

Peter B. Hutton – Lodz Symphony (1993)

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LODZ SYMPHONY
16mm / 20´ / 1991 / USA

“Images of a vanishing world—the nineteenth-century manufacturing city of Lodz in Poland—are rendered with Atget-like devotion. As he wanders a ghostly city trammeled by history’s cruel progress, Hutton finds poetry in its empty cobblestone streets, its crumbling stone facades, and its cemetery overflowing with the toppled gravestones of Jews. His camera documents vestiges of the city’s dying traditions: the proud guild of chimney sweeps, recognizable by their shiny brass buttons; and the textile looms with their beautiful mechanized movements.” -Josh Siegel, Associate Film Curator, MoMA Read More »

Peter B. Hutton – Three Landscapes (2013)

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One of several triptychs showing in this year’s Wavelengths program, Peter Hutton’s Three Landscapes zeroes in on the industrial terrain ringing Detroit (where he grew up), the bucolic pastures of the Hudson River Valley (where he now lives), and Ethiopian salt flats (where he travelled under Robert Gardner’s sponsorship). The most obvious link between the three is labour, but the film functions less as a thesis statement than a poetic meditation, a haiku-like attempt to distill the landscape using a few sparing, echoing graphic forms. The Detroit sequence is the most immediately arresting, its subdued colour palette and precise graphic calculations of grass, clouds, sky, smoke, and industrial architecture leading to a dramatic chain of images of two men inching across a high ladder—a vision of meditative calm in struggle. Workers and clouds are combined to more expressly lyrical effect in a superimposition punctuating the Hudson River Valley sequence, a marvelous bit of photochemical guesswork (albeit one now rendered in DCP projection). If the Ethiopia sequence seems comparatively uncertain about itself, its final long take of a line of camels stilled by distance and heat closes the film with an eloquent appeal to the necessity of limits. After the screening Hutton remarked that he takes special pleasure in those landscapes in which you see clouds moving faster than the workers, a point of view that goes a long way towards restoring the link between the documentary and spiritual connotations of this word “observe.” Read More »

Peter B. Hutton – Skagafjördur (2004)

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“Peter Hutton is a still photographer that puts pictures into motion or it might be more apt to say that Peter Hutton is a motion picture maker that makes them still. His films are images, presented like slides, no inherent story, no specific connection other than local proximity. His camera remains locked down, his gaze intensely fixated on a particular setting as he allows time to unwind before the lens. The moments he captures are ones of small change, but profound beauty. Read More »