Tag Archives: portraits

New York Faces 1950 – 60’s

This is one more chapter in the New York City vintage collection. It concentrates on capturing the faces and expressions of the average and not so average New Yorker. Several celebrities are caught in the act while posing for the camera. Also captured in their amazement are brand new immigrants from places around the globe.

The construction of this production started with the concept of pinning the Statue of Liberty as the centerpiece and “most recognized face” of NYC. From then on I used old films and a fair amount of Vivian Maier’s candid photographs that capture the human condition so well. Some images may be slightly distorted since they had to be reformatted to comply with the 16:9 wide format.

A look at some peculiar "faces" of New York in the 1950's decade.

This short piece contains street photographs taken by Vivian Maier, an American of French and Austro-Hungarian extraction, amateur photo-bug and nanny. The photographs were discovered in a thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side in 2007. She actually appears in one sequence, taking a self portrait against a mirror or window. Many of the scenes revolve around the Statue of Liberty, presenting very unusual angles and takes. There are also famous celebrities faces caught as they were doing "their thing".
Enjoy the ride,

Music: Cool – Dave Grusin Band
Leonard Bernstein, composer. Dave Grusin, arranger.
Photographs: Vivian Maier, Leo Bar
Paintings – Poster: Gil Elvgren
Vintage Film: New York Public Library, Library of Congress, Archive.org (all in the public domain)

New York Faces 1940 – ’50s

Fascinated by the candid photographs taken by Vivian Maier during the ’50s that were discovered in Chicago lately, I decided to make a go on a new (oldie) NYC video. As with other of my New York City oldies, I used public domain footage from Archive.org featuring the Third Avenue Elevated, torn down in the mid 50’s.

The initial concept was to make it be a ride through the city from Lower East Side to the end of the elevated railway in the Bronx, while showing people and their ethnic backgrounds as we moved on. A concept is great, but in reality it was hard to pull it off, since I lacked certain type of photographs to “paint” the story. Regardless, I thought that in the end, it represented accurately the time and space of those neighborhoods and their people. (Your comments are welcome)

Because jazz in my opinion is the music that best suits NYC in the 50’s I used “Hey Now” performed by Red Garland released on “Red Garland Revisited!” (Prestige Records, 1957).
Red Garland – Piano; Paul Chambers – Bass; Art Taylor – Drums; Kenny Burrell – Guitar.

Mixing small format film with all format stills and some digital paintings of mine was a real challenge in the making of this production. After many missteps and redoes, I finally found the combination to make it work best. (Note to myself – Do not try this type of mix and match formats too often, it takes gobs of time to assemble, render properly and sync) ūüė¶

Enjoy the railway ride as we travel through the neighborhoods of NYC,


New York’s People

This is the sixth installment in the “Old” New York series. I tried to concentrate on its people and how they lived, played, interacted and protested. Not much has changed over the years… If one looks at the facial expressions of over 100 years and the ones’ from today, there isn’t much change at all…

The digital imnages were scaled, retouched, recovered & enhanced to make for a pleasurable viewing experience. Many (the majority) of these photos were stored as original glass or antique negatives medium. Later they were digitized and published by The Library of Congress. The stills had been taped, indexed, handwritten strange numbers??, locations, approximate dates and type of event.

From these images, together with some long and painful editing of very old film by the Edison Company I attempted to construct this small vignette.

Because of the sentimental value and pace, I decided to use music by Gidon Kremer, inspired by Astor Piazzolla as an homage. It just seemed to “fit” tight.

I hope you all enjoy this gem from the past,

Pablo Picasso – The war years

Pablo Picasso’s paintings during 1937 – 1945.
After the initial collage, each painting can be seen on its own.

New York City – A Different Apple

  • This project was a lot of fun, discovery and amazement to produce. I started working¬†on the concept in mid-October. Had to set up¬†some collaborations with photographers, do the research, gather my thoughts, lay out a story line, then go fetch images and scour my archives for older images which may be still relevant. The idea was to show NYC in a different light, from different angles and using striking images with accentuated colors.

As it progressed, the piece looked better and better and I was really encouraged by the support of some of the photographers,  especially Trey Ratcliff who opened up its treasure chest of beautiful HDRs to me.

This video contains photos from other boroughs of NY

vimeo 8263380  

Included in this work are the following elements:

  • Music – Prelude in E minor by Gerry Mulligan,¬†a great jazz saxophonist.
  • Photographs(exclusive HDRs)¬†– Trey Ratcliff¬† :: HTTP://www.StuckInCustoms.com
  • Additional HDR and other Photographs – John Brody, NYCArthur, NYLuke, Phillip Ritz¬† all of them can be found at www.Flickr.com¬†.
  • Aerial Photographs – with special animation I created to simulate shots taken from a moving plane.

I hope you enjoy watching this video :: http://www.vimeo.com/8263380

Pix In Motion by Leo Bar

Yosemite in Autumn

When Felipe Rojas and me met through Vimeo a few weeks ago, we discussed the possibility of doing a video in collaboration. From concept to reality took a lot of communication, exchanging photographs, ideas, preferences and some video files (that in the end were not used).

The elements used on this project:

  • Our combined photographs from Yosemite
  • Aerial photography with simulated in-flight animation shots (public domain)
  • HDR images from Filip42 @ Flickr (CC Attribution 3.0)
  • Paintings from early 20th. century: C. Gordon-Cumming, Thomas Hill and Albert Bierstadt


The project began taking shape slowly and the communication became more fluid and focused as we made progress. In the meantime we both had other pressing issues in our lives that we had to attend to with care and attention. Despite all that we pushed the ball forward.

See this video at: http://www.vimeo.com/7263360

As the first draft took shape, Felipe begun the tedious part of editing, music selection, sequence, rejects, adds and changes. Slowly now, we started expressing our styles, opinions, and preferences. From these discussions we agreed to make a series of changes and the second draft surfaced within days. After a few more subtle touches and adjustments the final production was wrapped up and posted to Vimeo within 2 days.

We both liked the outcome, and felt good about our effort. We agreed that if time and conditions allow, we may do another one in the future.

I personally enjoyed working with Felipe, since we both had an opportunity to practice our rusty Spanish, and have a few laughs. Above all though, it was a revelation to read and listen to another voice regarding a project in motion. This was refreshing, since I always work in a vacuum, until the video is finalized and published. Then for the first time I get to hear feedback from my viewers.

We hope you enjoy this clip as much as we enjoyed making it.

Real U.S.A. – Don’t You Run

The making of a video based on a series of candid portraits from the 1930’s.

I fell in love with a series of archived films from the Ivan Besse collection, that depicted common folk being filmed candidly as they passed by through downtown Britton, South Dakota.
The photogapher/camera man was positioned across the Strand Cinema (a relic still today), where he worked as projectionist. When done filming for the day, he would show the clips at the cinema as a preview before the real movie.

At first it was difficult to conceive a way to present the short edits I had extracted from more than 6 hours of film. I finally decided on doing it as a documentary of portraits with a theme. The music did it, and inspired me. From then on it was a pleasure to construct it.

Real U.S.A. (Don’t You Run) from Leo Bar PIX IN MOTION .