[v. klohz; adj., adv. klohs or, for 51, klohz; n. klohz for 59, 60, 63–65, 67, 68, klohs for 61, 62, 66]
Close, Chuck (Charles Thomas Close), 1940-, American painter, b. Monroe, Wash., grad. Univ. of Washington (B.A., 1962), Yale Univ. (B.F.A., 1963; M.F.A., 1964). After studying in Vienna (1964-65), he moved (1968) to New York City. Since then Close has specialized in huge, coolly expressionless single portraits of his artist friends, himself, or his family, executed from his own photographs in painstaking detail on a grid of small squares. His first works were painted in black and white; he introduced color in the 1970s and 80s. In 1988, Close suffered a collapsed spinal artery, which left him almost completely paralyzed. A brace device on his partially mobile hand, a sophisticated wheelchair, and other aids allowed him to paint again, and in the 1990s his work became freer and more lively. Within the armature of his grids, each tilelike square is filled with swirling, warmly multicolored designs in various forms-X's, O's, concentric rings of ameboid shapes, and others-in closeup resembling tiny abstract paintings, but at a distance coalescing into monumentally frontal portrait heads. From the 1970s to the present, Close has also created a variety of multiple images in such media as mezzotint, aquatint, linoleum cut, woodcut, screen print, paper pulp, and daguerreotype.

See The Portraits Speak: Chuck Close in Conversation with 27 of His Subjects (1998); J. Guare, Chuck Close: Life and Work, 1988-1995 (1996); studies by C. Westerbeck (1989), R. Storr et al. (1998, repr. 2002), and T. Sultan (2003); M. Cajori, dir., Portrait in Progress (documentary film, 1997).

Close, Glenn, 1947-, American actress, b. Greenwich, Conn. She began her career in the theater, debuting on Broadway in Love for Love (1974), winning an Obie for the off-Broadway The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs (1982) and a Tony for Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing (1984). She achieved immediate Hollywood success as the off-beat mother in The World According to Garp (1982) and went on to play a wise yuppie doctor in The Big Chill (1983), a bleachers muse in The Natural (1984), and various other largely wholesome parts. Close achieved international stardom in a chilling role, the obsessed and psychotic femme fatale of Fatal Attraction (1987). Her later characters have included the icy, depraved aristocrat of Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and the tough and sharply witty newspaper executive of The Paper (1994). Close returned to Broadway in the drama Death and the Maiden (1992) and in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical version of Sunset Boulevard (1994), winning Tony Awards for both performances. She has also appeared in such films as as Jagged Edge (1985), Hamlet (1990), and Reversal of Fortune (1990), as well as in television dramas, e.g., the legal thriller Damages (2007-).

In film, television, and still photography a close-up tightly frames a person or an object. Close-ups are one of the standard shots used regularly with medium shots and long shots. Close-ups display the most detail, but they do not include the broader scene. Moving in to a close-up or away from a close-up is a common type of zooming.

Close-ups are used in many ways, for many reasons. Close-ups are often used as cutaways from a more distant shot to show detail, such as characters' emotions, or some intricate activity with their hands. Close cuts to characters' faces are used far more often in television than in movies; they are especially common in soap operas. For a director to deliberately avoid close-ups may create in the audience an emotional distance from the subject matter.

Close-ups are used for distinguishing main characters. Major characters are often given a close-up when they are introduced as a way of indicating their importance. Leading characters will have multiple close-ups. There is a long-standing stereotype of insecure actors desiring a close-up at every opportunity and counting the number of close-ups they received. An example of this stereotype occurs when the character Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, announces "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" as she is taken into police custody in the film's finale.

Close-up shots do not show the subject in the broad context of its surroundings. If overused close-ups may leave viewers uncertain as to what they are seeing. Close-ups are rarely done with wide angle lenses, because perspective causes objects in the center of the picture to be unnaturally enlarged.

Types of close-up

There are various degrees of close-up depending on how tight (zoomed in) the shot is. The terminology varies between countries and even different companies, but in general these are:

  • Medium Close Up ("MCU" on camera scripts): Half-way between a mid shot and a close-up. Usually cover's the subject's head and shoulders.
  • Close Up ("CU"): A certain feature, such as someone's head, takes up the whole frame.
  • Extreme Close Up ("ECU" or "XCU"): The shot is so tight that only a fraction of the focus of attention, such as someone's eyes, can be seen.

The history of the close-up

The earliest filmmakers — such as Thomas Edison, Auguste and Louis Lumière and Georges Méliès — tended not to use close-ups and preferred to frame their subjects in long shots. Film historians disagree as to which filmmaker first used a close-up, but D.W. Griffith used the shot extensively at an early date. For example, one of Griffith's short films, The Lonedale Operator (1911), makes significant use of a close-up of a wrench that a character pretends is a gun.

In pragmatic terms, early film and especially early television had low resolution compared to HDTV and modern film stock formats. With low resolution, a close-up may be necessary, not as a stylistic effect, but for the audience to discern important scene details.

Close-ups may be more expensive than other shots due to the extra lighting and make-up needed. (See quote from director Richardson in Lost in Space which describes excessive close-ups as being a major cost factor.)


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