Peter Hutton

Peter Hutton, New York Portrait, Part II, 1980–81, 16 mm, black-and-white, silent, 15 minutes. © Estate of Peter Hutton.

PETER HUTTON, who died on June 25 at the age of seventy-one, made motion pictures that are above all extended exercises in the rapture of looking. He specialized in long takes—of landscapes, seascapes, and cityscapes—in which the motion is subtle, fleeting, gradual, capillary. His movies, always shot on film and completely silent, invite sustained contemplation as well as spacing out, daydreaming. They lure the viewer into the frame, where the images can be absorbed by the body while the mind goes on a little vacation. They are “austerely romantic,” as J. Hoberman wrote in his New York Times obituary on the filmmaker. They are full of hard-earned knowledge of the world—the natural as well as the human—and yet they always seek to return to first principles, to vision unmediated by spectacle, to rhythms primarily informed by weather and the earth’s rotation.


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