Play them off, pleeze!

June 15, 2009

Look3

The close of Look3 last night left many images, people and conversations lodged in my psyche. The 7 hour ride home today left me with some time to digest. A few of the things that I burped up included these pleasant memories:

  • Martin Parr’s talk about photography, creativity and innovation
  • Gilles Peress and the concept of Ambiguity
  • Philip Toledano for his 3 bodies of work sketched in quick and entertaining succession
  • Simon Bruty’s talk about luck and preparation and sports. Sports? uh-huh.
  • Yolando Cuomo Studio’s Paper Cinema. Leave it to a pair of book designers to create one of the most creative multimedia events of the week.

Chaskielberg

I was also pleasantly surprised by the BURN Magazine grant to to Emerging Photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg for his project The High Tide. Wow, work that is truly fresh and exciting gets rewarded? My hope is renewed, if just for a little while. Thanks, David.

For the grand finale, I was looking forward to the “Works”, multimedia pieces “showcasing some of the most current photography projects.”

The evening program included three wonderful and stimulating projects:

rax_is

These ranged from a simple, straightforward but extremely well crafted visual story with music and sounds to a very sophisticated narrative that left me breathless to a mind blowing seemingly breathing, living multimedia triptych that was like a very bad nightmare–but in the best way.

As for most of the rest of the multimedia last night, the only image that came to my mind was Play Them Off Keyboard Cat. And the sooner the better.

My second big take-away from the festival was about storytelling. “Storytelling” is the buzz word for everyone these past few years but it seems that only people from the United Kingdom really seem to comprehend what it means, at least at Look3 this past week.

As my colleague Jessica explained it to me on the long drive home, Americans pretty much think they themselves are the story, that anything they say or do or happens to cross the very shallow threshold of their attention span is interesting to someone else.

Perhaps it’s because it’s illegal to say to someone of any age: “That is boring” or “You are not the winner,” that American’s think that anything that pops into their mind is as fascinating to everyone else as it is to them. It is not. You are not the star of the show. Play Them Off.

Photographers so often think that because they’re talented image makers, they’re going to be equally good at things like writing and voicing narration. There are legions of talented and award winning people who are very good at those things. You are not. Play ‘dem Off .

Telling a story and engaging an audience that is not your family or friends does not include taking a pile of your very excellent images and dropping them onto a stolen pop song and expecting them to have any cohesion or power. They do not.

Contrary to your belief, your belly button is not the most interesting thing onstage. Look, I love you already and your images can tell me a story. But you have to work at communication else, Play YOU Off.

About these ads

One Response to “Play them off, pleeze!”

  1. Bob Krist said

    Bob: Raxie is an old and good friend who is doing amazing work.I knew him when we he was a staffer on Morgunbladid. If he weren’t in Iceland, I think he’d be in line with Salgado in the grand pecking order….BK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: