Two Unknown Photographers
In 1985, while cleaning out the soon-to-close San Francisco photo shop where he worked, Kon Pet Moon found two bundles of processed but never-picked-up prints. Albert Easterwood had taken dozens of photos of women in magazine ads, all carefully annotated, several innocently sexual. Margaret Raymond had shot stacks of snaps that seemed to trace some kind of personal journey--icons in museums, marquees advertising porn, Vietnam-era protests, sere desertscapes, and, finally, two ominous, enigmatic pictures of a woman with a bag over her head. The photos--their oddity, the life narratives they hinted at--got inside Moon's head; he set out to find and make a film about the amateur shutterbugs. The result, which took him a decade to complete (during much of which he taught at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County), is unique and mesmerizing, as much about the filmmaker's creative and artistic journey as it about his subjects--more so, actually. Mixing straight documentary and experimental techniques, Two Unknown Photographers is long (about two and a half hours) and sometimes slow, but it develops its own hypnotic rhythm as it explores the mystery of artistic obsession, the nature of cinematic storytelling, and the assumptions we bring to a photograph--or a movie--about what happened outside the frame.