WAMG Photo Contest – Autographed SAMSARA Prize Package Winner Announced

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James Thornton, come on down! You are the winner of the Autographed SAMSARA Prize Package. Your spectacular B&W photo of  the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens with the Crepe Myrtle Trees Canopy was judged by our esteemed panel of photo experts to be the best of the many entries we received.

Here’s James’ winning photo:

Photo by James Thornton

James’ photo skills have won him:

1) an original 27×40 SAMSARA movie poster signed by director Ron Fricke, producer Mark Madgison, and composer Michael Stearns.

2) a SAMSARA soundtrack CD signed by composer Michael Stearns

3) a BARAKA Blu-ray.

Congrats James!

Thanks to everyone who entered. Here are some of the runner-ups from our contest:

Photo by Daniel Spilatro

Photo by Lisa Yee

Photo by Derek Klezmer

Photo by Philip Kithome

Photo by Shane O Shultz

Photo by “Francis”

In 1992, director Ron Fricke, along with his co-writer Mark Madgison created the documentary BARAKA, a stunning collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life, the majority of which involve humanity’s many religions. Fricke was cinematographer and collaborator on Godfrey Reggio’s 1982 non-verbal documentary KOYAANISQUATSI and for BARAKA he struck out on his own to polish and expand the photographic techniques used on the earlier film. BARAKA was a cinematic “guided meditation” (Fricke’s own description) shot in 24 countries on six continents over a 14-month period that united religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of moving images. Fricke’s camera ranged, in meditative slow motion or bewildering time-lapse, over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Ryoan-Ji temple in Kyoto, Lake Natron in Tanzania, burning oil fields in Kuwait, the smoldering precipice of an active volcano, a busy subway terminal, tribal celebrations of the Masai in Kenya, chanting monks in the Dip Tse Chok Ling monastery…and on and on, through locales across the globe. To execute the film’s time-lapse sequences, Fricke had a special camera built that combined time-lapse photography with perfectly controlled movements of the camera. In one evening sequence a desert sky turned black, and the stars rolled by, as the camera moves slowly forward under the trees. The result was like that of viewing the universe through a powerful telescope: that we are indeed on a tiny orb hurtling through a star-filled void. The film was complemented by the hybrid world-music of composer Michael Stearns.

Now 20 years later, Fricke, Madgison, and Stearns have reunited for the follow-up SAMSARA (read Jim Batt’s WAMG review HERE). Following in the same template as 1992′s BARAKA, SAMSARA is a study in the ways humanity works as a collective and as individuals, with the cycle of human existence providing the subtext for the parade of images (the title is a Tibetan word meaning “the wheel of life”). Combining scenes of destruction and rebirth, images of profound humanity and mechanized lifelessness, SAMSARA includes remarkable images of people working together en masse, including Muslims visiting the holy city of Mecca, hundred of Chinese dancers performing a synchronized routine, and prisoners doing group exercises in a prison yard. Fricke filmed SAMSARA over a period of several years, shooting on 65mm film stock and transferring the footage to 4K high-definition video for post-production and exhibition.



1 Comment

  1. Beautiful landscape photographs

    September 21, 2012 at 4:42 am

    a well deserved win, its really a hard task to maintain the originality and tones in monochrome, Thornton did it very well. the depth in the picture is preserved.

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