John Louis Field, filmmaker

February 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

BEFORE HE TURNED his attention to photography, John Louis Field was a noted San Francisco architect and also a filmmaker. Two of his architectural documentaries exploring cities and what makes them successful places were broadcast nationwide on public television.

In “The Urban Preserve,” from 1976, Field weaves a rich visual tapestry of vibrant urban places, most in Italy, some in the U.S. As both filmmaker and polemicist, he has a point of view. “Cities are alive,” he argues. “They can flourish and grow, or they can shrink and even die. But while they live, they constantly change.”

He presents especially beautiful images of the Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (above) and Orvieto Cathedral (below) before concluding: “It is essential to preserve a city’s life that we save the great monuments, and that we still allow for contemporary expression — because together, they are the accumulation of history that is a part of our root and one of our ways of sensing who we are.”

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