- Editors' Foreword
When we first took the helm of The Moving Image, we were aware of the fact that unlike most academic journals—which are often defined by the convenient narrowness of their reach—this one seemed to be pitched to at least two different audiences. Two issues in, we are grateful for the ambition and prescience of Jan-Christopher Horak's vision for the journal. Reading the essays submitted to us and the readers' reports evaluating them, we have gained a more complete understanding of the complex work this journal does in recognizing and cultivating the interconnectedness and interdependence of the archival and scholarly communities inhabited by so many of us.
Because the professions it serves are themselves experiencing change, and because the already shadowy line that separates them continues to blur, The Moving Image is uniquely poised to set the standard for the next wave of scholarship focused on the intersections between the archive and the academy. The journal's productive and provocative duality is, in fact, evidence of its commitment to fostering and broadcasting the sorts of mutually beneficial relationships that will usher the study, restoration, preservation, and exhibition of moving images into the future. This symbiosis, of course, forms the backbone of the journal's mission. It is also an exchange that other film journals either take for granted or ignore. The breadth of the lineup in this issue demonstrates our desire to continue to make this journal the principal repository for new work that draws on or emanates from, investigates, questions, and/or redefines the moving image archive.
Collected here are seven contributions aimed precisely in this direction. Whereas our last issue was unified around a thematic topic (itinerant film), this issue coheres [End Page vii] more broadly, reflecting the range of interests within the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and beyond. It is the archive itself that is under investigation here: its assets and their fit within our cultural fabric; its historical role; its ethical responsibility; its influence; its many guises; and its future.
Travis Vogan's "Football's Wine Cellar: The NFL Films Archive" introduces readers to a side of the iconic media machine with which few are intimate. Working closely with this private, commercial archive; its personnel; and its seemingly ubiquitous products, Vogan makes a case for the role this organization plays in creating and protecting the National Football League's (NFL) carefully tailored public image. The first published research of its kind, Vogan's investigation also reveals the unique organizational strategies the NFL Films Archive has developed in its largely successful attempts to brand its footage (and the franchise) in a manner the NFL deems appropriate. As Vogan suggests, "a consideration of this collection provides a useful way to investigate the relationship between institutional moving image archives and the aesthetic, economic, and ideological imperatives that guide their operations." In this way, Vogan's methodology becomes a yardstick by which to measure similar commercial collections.
Greg Wilsbacher's "Al Brick: The Forgotten Newsreel Man at Pearl Harbor" reads like an unfurling mystery. Wilsbacher, in the role of archival detective—a role familiar to virtually anyone working in or with archives—attempts to solve this particular mystery in the pages that follow. We all know the images of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and as Wilsbacher indicates, for a moment, it seemed likely that we all would also know the maker of the unique moving images of this momentous event. As Wilsbacher writes, however, "few remember Brick as the creator of this famous film record despite the fact that Movietone promoted his byline with a special newsreel when the Department of the Navy finally released his negatives a full year after the attack. How, then, has the archival evidence become so misconstrued over the decades?" Wilsbacher's article suggests ways the question might be answered, posits additional questions about the images themselves and Brick's (as well as the military's) relationship to them, and makes a more general plea to trace the origins of the images we encounter, even those that may at first appear to be authorless for any number of reasons. More...