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Saturday, 11 July 2015

John Ford's Point

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A Navajo man on a horse poses for touris...A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah, on May 16, 2015.

Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah: photo by Mladen Antonov / AFP via FT Photo Diary, 27 May 2015

"Harry Carey tutored me in the early years, sort of brought me along, and the only thing I always had was an eye for composition -- I don't know where I got that -- and that's all I did have. As a kid, I thought I was going to be an artist; I used to sketch and paint a great deal and I think, for a kid, I did pretty good work --- at least I received a lot of compliments about it. But I have never thought about what I was doing in terms of art, or 'this is great', or 'world-shaking', or anything like that. To me it was always a job of work -- which I enjoyed immensely -- and that's it.
"

-- John Ford, in Peter Bogdanovich: John Ford, 1967


John Ford's point was the composition 
The little figure
Against the big rock and sky landscape dwarfed
 
The big rock and sky landscape
Against the little figure dwarfing him

The point was not the grandeur
Or the drama
 
The composition was John Ford's point
The dwarfing
The putting in his place
The unimportance in the whole scheme of
 
The tiny horseman
Against the bigger everything
The vast blue sky
The ancient red rock
 
With folding chair hid
Down the trail, round a corner
At table mesa top
To rest upon
Between shots

 
Cuckoo-clock cowboy
He comes every day
Up the same trail, on his horse
To John Ford's Point
To gaze out upon
The same butte
Diurnal chronotype, recursive
Dotted, splotched
Into otherwise
Always changing world
 
He is there every day
He is there in all weathers
He is there today
He may be there again tomorrow
He may not
Out in the weather
Everything gets old
 
 
 A Navajo man on a horse poses for touris...A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah, on May 16, 2015.
 
A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park, Utah, on May 12, 2014. Monument Valley has been featured in many Westerns since the 1930s, including director John Ford’s best-known movies and has become the epitome of the American West: photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP, 12 May 2015



A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park, Utah, on May 12, 2014. Monument Valley has been featured in many Westerns since the 1930s, including director John Ford's best-known movies and has become the epitome of the American West: photo by Mladen Antonov / AFP via Hurriyet Daily News, 25 May 2015


A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah: photo by Mladen Antonov / AFP via The Telegraph, 27 May 2015

The day's best photos — May 21

A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park, Utah, on May 12, 2014. Monument Valley has been featured in many Westerns since the 1930s, including director John Ford's best-known movies and has become the epitome of the American West
: photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP via Mumbai Mirror, 13 May 2015

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A Navajo man on a horse poses for tourists in front of the Merrick Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal park, Utah, on May 12, 2014. Monument Valley has been featured in many Westerns since the 1930s, including director John Ford’s best-known movies and has become the epitome of the American West: photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP via Anews.com, 20 May 2015

ode aan john ford. | by gr0uch0

Ode aan john ford. John Ford, meester van de amerikaanse cinema en de man die John Wayne groot gemaakt heeft, prefereerde Monument Valley als locatie in zijn westerns. Dit punt in het bijzonder, nu dan ook genaamd Ford's point. Ford en Monument Valley waren altijd met elkaar verbonden. Na het filmen van de eindscene van My Darling Clementine in de studio vond Ford dat de achtergrond reproductie van Monument Valley niet voldeed en eiste dat de set op locatie in Monument Valley herbouwd werd voor deze laatste legendarische shot. Momenteel is Monument Valley een Navajo reservaat en een heilig gebied voor de Navajo. Navajo zien in de buttes ed. dieren en elementen die ze toeschrijven aan de goden. Tegenwoordig exploiteren de Navajo dit als een park waar alleen zij in mogen gidsen: photo by groucho, 21 June 2007
 
Monument Valley | by sometimesong

 Monument Valley. Cowboy Actor on John Ford's Point, Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona (part of he tour from Goulding's Lodge): photo by Debs, 6 October 2008

Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point 3 | by jfew

 Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point 3: photo by Jeff Few, 7 September 2009
 
This picture was taken this morning at John Ford Point, Monument Valley. This young cowboy, apparently in the employ of the Navajo Tribal Park, came down on his horse and posed out on the point. I wish I hadn't seen him checking his smart phone on the way down. Still, it was a nice prop provided by the park, and certainly adds to the image. Monument Valley is a stunningly beautiful place, that doesn't feel over developed or over crowded. It was our third time here, and by far the best weather we've experienced, with pleasant temperature, beautiful clouds and, blissfully, no howling winds. I plan on coming back again, just because I enjoy the experience so much: photo by Bill Gracey, 10 October 2012
 
Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point 4 | by jfew

 Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point 4: photo by Jeff Few, 7 September 2009

Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point | by jfew

 Navajo Cowboy at John Ford's Point: photo by Jeff Few, 7 September 2009

Monument Valley | by Davide Bedin

Monument Valley. Il nostro viaggio del West americano
: photo by Davide Bedinjoevare, 12 August 2007


080610 Colorado Plateau 0952 | by joevare

Colorado Plateau. John Ford Point, Monument Valley: photo by joevare, 12 June 2008

John Ford point | by valkie76

 John Ford Point, Navajo tribal park, Monument Valley: photo by Agustín Hernández Campillejo, 28 June 2008
 
John Ford's Point - Monument Valley, Utah | by Trodel

 Monument Valley. John Ford's Point in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah/Arizona. Picture by Luca Galuzzi.: image by Jim Trodel, 22 July 2007
 

#JohnFord point at #MonumentValley is just one of the hundreds crazy good views out there!: image via Davide Squaldini @Davide Squaldini, 2 May 2015
 

Just finished watching #TheSearchers on #more4. Monumental in every way.: image via Brian Coyle @brianscoyle, 27 December 2014
 
Ford Point Rider | by Jim Salvas

 Ford Point Rider, Monument Valley: photo by James Salvas, 20 October 2009

Chair at John Ford's Point -- Monument Valley (UT) August 2013 | by Ron Cogswell

Chair at John Ford's Point, Monument Valley: photo by Ron Cogswell, 8 August 2013

6 comments:

TC said...

The Searchers (collated)

John Ford's Point appears in the final frame.

"The original print (4 metres long), has been transferred to a tracking shot, which presents an imagined version of Monument Valley, USA through its depiction in John Ford's 'The Searchers' (1956). Here, frames from the film have been blended to present a false panorama of the location, along with its omnipresent cast of Cowboys, aimlessly drifting across the landscape in search of nothing in particular. The work questions our reliance on narrative structure and the relationship between reality and simulation while highlighting absurdities in Hollywood's Wild West.'

Michael Peverett said...

Your post made me watch the movie! In the scene near the end when Ethan hands down Martin Pawley to go and try to rescue his sister, I recognized the Point...

TC said...

... and there's that terrifying moment, when Ethan catches up with her in the violent dust... and you almost forget he's supposed to be rescuing her...

Wooden Boy said...

K just turned to me and asked "Are those buildings?" There is that sense of a created drama, as if a point was being made.

Michael and Tom, both those scenes are remarkable. My granddad was a great fan of Westerns. Saw The Searchers first when I was seven years old and it scared the shit out of me. Still does.

TC said...

Well, they are quite large, but of course -- just geology.

Ford used them over and over, those big rocks, as props.

So too, later, did and do the present Navajo tribal custodians.

I looked at the film again in the weeks between conceiving and executing this post, and I've got to say, the casual racism horrified me.

Wooden Boy said...

Yes, it is horrible. No getting past it really. I can't think of many westerns that escape that.