“The Gaze” – by Barry Jenkins

I came across this on Kottke.org, I’ve been planning on watching Amazon’s new “The Underground Railroad” series so it caught my eye. It’s effectively an unplanned side-project they made whilst filming the actual series, it portrays an array of actors standing before the camera:

I don’t remember when we began making the piece you see here. Which is not and should not be considered an episode of The Underground Railroad. It exists apart from that, outside it. Early in production, there was a moment where I looked across the set and what I saw settled me: our background actors, in working with folks like Ms. Wendy and Mr. and Mrs. King – styled and dressed and made up by Caroline, by Lawrence and Donnie – I looked across the set and realized I was looking at my ancestors, a group of people whose images have been largely lost to the historical record. Without thinking, we paused production on the The Underground Railroad and instead harnessed our tools to capture portraits of… them.

(I’ve also been replaying “Red Dead Redemption II” which has an incredible level of detail of late 1800’s America and the scenery and costumes of the video above reminded me of some of the areas of the RDII environment. RDII is actually set in 1899, so almost 50 years after the time of The Underground Railroad series, it kind of blew my mind that the house I own here in Scotland was built in 1899!)

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