Earlier this week, me and The Mrs. decided to rent The Wrestler. We don’t get out to the movies too much – and that’s mostly because there’s nothing I want to pay almost $30 bucks to go see. Really, is it that hard to figure out a new story to tell? Or tell me an old one but tell it to me in an interesting way.
That’s what Darren Aronofsky did with this movie. And, as you’ve probably heard, Mickey Rourke turned in an epic performance as Randy “The Ram” Robinson.
Aside from the acting, what I also enjoyed was how the film was shot, almost documentary-style at times. And the locations were just spot-on for this film. It was shot in and around New Jersey and the locations are almost as much of a character as Rourke or Marisa Tomei. There are plenty of beautiful places in this great state. And then there the places featured in this film, the hardskrabble places, the one that have seen their fights and keep on fighting. Beautiful like the lines in Sam Elliott’s face. Places like Linden, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Hazlet. These are the tough places, the ones with people who turn up their collar against the cold, eat their egg and pork roll, drink their coffee black, and push on to that next shift.
Asbury Park is another one of these towns. It, maybe more so than others, has seen the higher highs and the deep lows. For the most part, people know Asbury Park because of Springsteen. Hell, he named his first album after a postcard he saw on the boardwalk one time. Or they know it because their parents or grandparents used to vacation there in the ’50s. Then it went through a major tailspin for a long part of the late ’70s all the way into the ’90s. Slowly by slowly, boardwalk plank by boardwalk plank, though, it’s starting to come back.
It was the perfect setting for one of the most powerful scenes in the movie between Rourke’s character and his daughter. As they walked down a winter wind-swept Asbury Park boardwalk, it reminded me of one of the first times I shot there a couple of years go. It was a cold,raw, windy Saturday in December and I was just trying to get my camera in a different place and get something interesting.
Look one way and you get a pretty good scene, especially with a low angle and lots of contrast.
Turn around, and you got an equally interesting scene, I think.
Then, on another trip, I finally got a shot that been captured a million times by many photographers before me. But I like what I got as I tried to cut the sun with the frame of the building and get some of the cool shadow play into the image as well.
Asbury Park is one of my favorite places to shoot. Throw it into my search engine and you’ll see what I mean. It’s raw, it’s real and it’s got history. Nothing wrong with that. And I’m sure you’ll see it pop up in this space again too.
© Mark V. Krajnak 2009 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved
Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 20D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 and Nik Software