January 30, 2007


Vince Gonzales Captures The Art of Motion Picture Technology

By James Tella, Communications and Public Relations

Vince Gonzales' photographs have appeared in Variety,
The Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, Millimeter, Hollywood Independent, and Emmy Magazine.
Photo: Julio Vera
While a magic lantern might seem like it belongs with Aladdin and his flying carpet, in reality, the classic piece of pre-cinema history from the late 1700s is coming to life as part of a unique photography show by SCA staffer Vince Gonzales.

Opening last December at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood, Tech Art, The Photography of Vince Gonzales, features 31 images that chronicle the beauty, intricacy and craftsmanship of the machines that made cinematic magic for generations.

“Having worked around these machines for years, I am fascinated with their design and detail, which are an art form unto themselves,” said Gonzales, who serves as the vault and scheduling manager for the School of Cinematic Arts.
Magic Lantern, 2006

Sensing others might also share this fascination, Gonzales approaches his work with the audience in mind. “I really try to create an image that doesn’t leave anybody out. You can walk up to it cold and find it pleasing.”  

A self-taught photographer, Gonzales’ interest in cinematic technology stretches back to 1998 when he was working at Paramount as a film assembler on the Nickelodeon feature The Rugrats Movie. Spending hour after hour cutting the film in the very room where the classic I Love Lucy episodes were completed, Gonzales gained an intense aura of history surrounding him.

“Just walking around you could feel the history and see all these incredible artifacts in the nooks and crannies that were put to the side,” said the Los Angeles native. “The more I showed people, the more interesting it got, which made me actually think I could put this together as a collection.”

Gonzales touring his exhibition.
Gonzales began his series by capturing images of a synchronizer used by Desilu Productions, the production company owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The collection
 has since grown to include such items as an RCA microphone, an Edison projector gate, and a “Cutter” Moviola viewer.

In the wake of a small show at the former Hollywood Entertainment Museum, Gonzales followed the advice of his wife and contacted the Academy’s Science and Technology Council to gauge their interest in hosting an exhibition. While the council did indeed like the photographs, curator and editor Julio Vera encouraged Gonzales to shoot new images, including those from the Academy’s own vaults to balance out the exhibit.

“After their seal of approval, people started coming out of the woodwork from private collectors to the studios. There were so many sources,” 
Desilu synchronizer, 2003
Gonzales said.

Gonzales was both “extremely flattered and encouraged” by the reactions people have had since the December 11 opening, and he hopes to transition the collection to a gallery, publish a coffee table book, and ultimately take the exhibition on tour in Europe. In the meantime, Gonzales is continually seeking new artifacts and adding photographs to the series.

“It’s great that those familiar with these machines see them in a totally new light, and it’s really exciting to hear how much people who’ve never come into contact with them feel a common connection, even if they don’t know what they’re looking at,” Gonzales said. “I feel like I’m on track.”

The artist on Trojan Vision.
Tech Art will be on display through May 13, 2007 and can be viewed whenever the Science and Technology Council holds public programs at the Linwood Dunn Theater.