"A sketchbook is a secret thing, a collection of unfinished and often times abandoned ideas never intended for public consumption—at least not in their current state. It’s a private space for honing one’s craft and workshopping, separating good ideas from those best left unexplored." -Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch.

11 April 2010

The Battleship Potemkin

For those of you who haven't seen it, "The Battleship Potemkin" is the story of a Russo-Japanese War-era Russian Navy crew who mutinies after their officers attempt to punish them for not eating maggot infested provisions. One of the principal mutineers of the mutiny links their plight to the burgeoning political upheavals in Russia, exhorts them to rise up and...the action ensues. It's a true story- and as a side note, the last survivor of the crew lived to be over 100 and started a fish and chips chain in Ireland.

I chose this shot to illustrate because it was so striking. Towards the end of the film the Potemkin is met by a squadron of Russian ships sent to intercept it. The Potemkin and the squadron train their respective guns on each other and through signaling, the Potemkin attempts entreat their brother sailors to join them in revolution. The tension is extreme as the Potemkin begins to pass through the squadron, during which there is a shot of a sailor holding a scarred shell, ready to load it and commit fratricide. I won't spoil it (any more than I have), but it was a fascinating film- albeit one made solely for propaganda purposes. Stalin actually ordered the film to be shelved when he decided that he didn't want to be in the business of encouraging foreign navies to revolt.

Anyways. Great flick. If you want to see some Dreadnought-era battleship porn (the movie was filmed in 1925, the real Potemkin was "pre-Dreadnought"), I highly recommend it.
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  1. the sea stories r just perfect for your drawings, u really have a mark of drawing :)

  2. JRonson- sea stories are the best stories...

  3. Has anyone noticed that todays sailors dont know how to wear their "gob" hats anymore?No sense of style,no elan.Just look at 1940s-1970s photos of swabs on liberty.You'll see the difference compared to today.

  4. Anon- It's very hard to get a read on how enlisted sailors are wearing their dixie cups these days, personally I think it's because the ballcap replaced the dixie cup as a utility hat- and especially now with the advent of the Marine Corps style 8-point-cover, the dixie cup has totally been relegated to dress uniform wear. I'm guessing that Chiefs across the Navy probably take a very dim view on any modification to the dixie cup. However, I have seen photos of modern sailors (at least in the US Navy) occasionally altering their hats to look more salty. Any real, current sailors want to weigh in? I really don't have any knowledge of what the climate is like for personalized dixie cups today...