Did you know one of the very first movies ever made was of a galloping horse?
Not much plot-line there, but back then, it was the best movie ever!
An animated movie of sorts, it was made of a series of photographs pasted onto a drum. You cranked it by hand to watch!
Since film wouldn’t have existed without photography, we got to thinking about all the movies that pay homage to photography. Turns out there a lot of photo-related movies out there, so we’ve compiled our top 50.
Grab some popcorn, draw the curtains, and get those DVD/Blu-ray discs spinning/Netflix streaming/iTunes downloading.
We’ll start with an oldie. (which is incidentally also a goody!) You might remember a jolly Jimmy Stewart running through the streets yelling something about Christmas, but in Rear Window, he’s a total badass. Jimmy plays a photographer whose keen, observing ways get him wrapped up in a murder mystery. Dun dun DUN!
This movie makes us want to spout off every silly French phrase we know. It also makes us want to take photos! Amelie is full of all kinds of photo fun. Photobooth scrapbook (that sometimes talks)? Check. Traveling Gnome Polaroids? Check. Memories of her first camera? Check. Flirtation via photo? Check!!
One Hour Photo
WARNING: This movie is scary. We picked this up thinking it was going to be the photo-themed equivalent of Patch Adams, but oh, how we were wrong. Robin Williams plays a creepy photo lab technician that’s a little too photo-obsessed. (even more than we are!) We can’t say much more without giving it away, but if you’re into thrillers, you’ll be pleased.
Fun Fact: Some of the characters’ names, including Robin Williams’, are real photographer’s names, like James Van DerZee, Nobuyoshi Araki, Bill Owens, Ellen von Unwerth, Aaron Siskind, and Paul Outerbridge.
If you haven’t seen Memento, photo movie night is the night! Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a guy who wakes up not knowing who he is or why he has a pocket full of photos. You’ll soon notice Leonard tends to forget things…constantly. Okay, so he basically has no long term memory. He spends the entire film looking at polaroids and notes to figure out what the heck is happening. (which turns out to be a lot of crazy stuff!)
Fun Fact: Leonard uses a Polaroid 690 to keep track of his memories. Extra fun fact: Memento only took 25 days to shoot!
A young, unknown photographer finds fame after taking photos of his weirdo family and small-town folk. Don’t we all secretly wish this would happen to us? But, Pecker‘ll teach you that things aren’t so easy when you become a famous photographer. Turns out his subjects aren’t all too happy with the results. (wompwomp)
Fun Fact: Pecker’s camera is a Canonet, made mostly in the 60s and was the equivalent of a point-and-shoot. Today, it’d be worth about $20.
Blow Up is another tale of murder, but this time it’s paired up with the usual 60s shenanigans (sex, fashion, and maybe drugs). Michaelangelo Antonioni whipped up this mod mystery film in which a fashion photographer might have accidentally photographed a murder. He blow ups his photos to figure it all out.
Fun Fact: Famed 60s swingin’ photog David Bailey was considered for the main character’s role.
More Photography Movies…
We hadn’t seen some of the movies that follow, but thanks to your suggestions, they’re now on our list!