Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CFP: Lasting Stars edited volume


Lasting Stars: Personas that Endure and Images that Fade

Lucy Bolton and Julie Lobalzo Wright, editors

Project Overview:
Film star studies have often focused on star images noted for their longevity and enduring status. The question of longevity, however, has been largely buried beneath the surface of the discipline. Although many studies have touched on the prolonged existence of some film stars, few studies have tackled longevity as a vital aspect of stardom. Underpinning longevity and film stardom are issues of aging, charisma, emblematic status, type and uniqueness, suggesting that many issues contribute to the lasting status of star images. In fact, these same areas factor into the fading of a star image, illustrating how closely success and failure are linked.

This collection of essays seek to fill the gap in star studies by addressing the issue of longevity through an examination of the various factors that affect the staying power or decline of a star’s persona. These factors may be the time of their emergence, their relationship with a particular genre of film, their capacity to stay in the public’s consciousness or their ability to age in a way that is deemed ‘appropriate’. This collection seeks to contribute to star studies by investigating why some stars burn bright and others fade away.

We invite proposals for chapters that investigate specific film star images through theoretical, cultural and historical means, analysing the relationship between film stardom and longevity or lack thereof. We are also interested in essays that examine how audience, culture and production trends can impact on the persistence of stardom. In addition, essays focused on images (film posters, publicity stills, paparazzi pictures) forming an integral part of enduring or fading stardom are particularly welcome as are submissions that look beyond Hollywood.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·      Star images/personas frozen in time
·      Film genre and longevity
·      Relationships - both personal and professional - with directors, producers, costume designers
·      Role of fashion and costume
·      Role of political activity/philanthropy
·      Star images that endure past the star’s life
·      Celebrity and notoriety
·      Partner or group stardom
·      The comeback of a star image
·      How death can impact on longevity
·      Trends in national cinematic industries
·      Analysis of cultural factors that lead to longevity or fading
·      The ‘flash in the pan’ star image
·      Physical attributes or the transformation of the body
·      How aging impacts on the longevity of stardom
·      The relationship between race, gender, ethnicity or sexuality and enduring stardom
·      Transitions between industries - from star to director, producer, writer, fashion designer, singer

Submission Guidelines:
Please submit your abstracts of no more than 500 words and a brief CV via email to both editors by 1st May 2013. We have already had a positive initial response to this project from a highly respected academic publisher.  We anticipate that finished essays will be 5000 to 6000 words in length, including footnotes. Acceptance of proposals will be sent by email by the end of June 2013.

Please email your abstract and CV to both editors:
Lucy Bolton:  l.c.bolton-AT-qmul.ac.uk
Julie Lobalzo Wright: julielwright1-AT-gmail.com

Friday, January 04, 2013

Craftsperson Auteurism

I've been working on an essay on cinematography which, among other things, is wrestling with what it means to understand the cinematographer as an artist. And by happenstance, I watched on Mubi a documentary on production design, The Man on Lincoln's Nose (Daniel Raim, 2000). Like other documentaries of its kind (namely Visions of Light), the tone of the documentary (on designer Robert Boyle) is entirely laudatory. What I noticed was that the praise came in a rhetoric of execution: the craftsperson was an artist because she/he was able to take a vision explicit from the director and implicit from the story and actualize this vision into a visual form.

But there's at least another potential way of understand the art of the Hollywood craftsperson, as stylistic autonomy from the directorial vision. This is not how craftspeople in the classical Hollywood would have thought about themselves, at least not in public and perhaps not in private. They were wedded to the execution-functionalist model. Nonetheless, we do not have to understand their artistry in their own terms. In the case of cinematographers there were many ways in which mediocre or under-directed films had an impressive visual look. Off the top of my head, If Winter Comes is a terrific example. Maybe there's a case that Victor Saville is an undervalued auteur and in any case, the book/script has an emotional tenor of its own. Nonetheless, George Folsey's cinematography is superb (though superb like so many other films') and its aesthetic success owes less to its actualization the script than in the visual feel it imposes on the story.

It's easy, as in The Man on Lincoln's Nose, to imagine the craftsperson as the secret support behind canonical auteurs. I'm increasingly drawn to starting from the vantage of Hollywood's crafts and asking how it asks us to examine and judge films differently than an auteur-based system does.