Leni Riefenstahl :: Gallery

Header Photo: I think Riefenstahl's use of ground shots as seen above in Olympia (1936) is extraordinary. The sense of the power of the athelete when you are looking up at him... well, you can almost touch it.

Her use of these shots has been influential to say the least - something she hasn't truly been credited for. The only other filmmaker who made me feel the way he/she wanted me to feel was Carol Reed in The Third Man. She manipulates our senses to feel the power of youth - a really clever trick and quite a disconcerting one at the same time if you think about it.

Take a real long look at the header photo. Even better, on firefox, use the 'view background image' button so there is nothing surrounding it. You, as a spectator, are on the grass looking up at the athelete. You are seeing the perspective as only his rivals would have seen him - no-one else live would have seen him like this - in the midst of throwing the disc - something he has spent his whole life training for. That moment, there and then. He is at the peak of his powers - rippling muscles taut with the effort. It's a special moment in his life - the Olympic Games.

Riefenstahl has captured that moment so it lives on eternally. How often have you seen other filmmakers capture a moment that well? I venture seldom.

All against that overwhelming grey and white sky.

Taken out of the context of the Propaganda brief she worked under, as just a momentary work of art, I would venture it is up there with Doisneau's Kiss or Bert Hardy's Blackpool Belles. Yes, it evokes entirely different emotions to those two but it does evoke a deep emotion that all great does.

Well it does for me.

If you can grab hold of a copy of the 2002 Taschen book above then do so but as of 2014 it's getting difficult.

Photo © Estate of Leni Riefenstahl. Text © Paul Page, 2014.

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