first came photographs, then came film, and then along came a combination of still and moving images in a single picture!!! gjon mili was the first photographer to work with an electronic flash, capturing movement and action in a single photograph in a way no one had seen before. trained as an engineer at MIT, he came to america from his native albania and then worked freelance for LIFE magazine in the 1940s. his most infamous images are of picasso’s light drawings, but he also shot documentary-style photos and even fashion while on assignment for the magazine.
his 1944 short film, “jammin’ the blues,” is a must-see for jazz fans. it features the same layering style of his photos that pairs so well with the movement and improvisation of jazz music. plus marie bryant sings a killer version of “sunny side of the street” and has some awesome dance moves!
even though it’s not one of his signature stroboscopic images, the photo of the colorful shoes and stockings is one my favorites! even though the objects are completely inanimate, the image still maintains the sense of dynamism that define his other images.