It must be true

August 31, 2009

Of course the camera never lies…

I believe everything I read and see in the papers too….


…from Louis Vuitton, a fashion company!?

The story of three American astronauts talk about their adventures in space. Check out the multiple camera view. Listen to the very well written questions and see the interesting stories they elicit.



August 23, 2009

I like to think that all great photos have both great light and great moments. But what IS a moment? Here’ s a wonderful short film about that idea from director/editor Will Hoffman shot by Julius Metoyer III. Super sweet!!!


August 15, 2009

Is a very powerful thing in the hands of Muzorama.

The Cove

August 6, 2009

Louis Psihoyos and I were photographer’s together at Fortune Magazine and also National Geographic Magazine. He’d gone quiet for a time but now I see what he’s been up to: The Cove.I call it a brilliant documentary; a friend called it an advocacy movie with a sense of humor. Make a difference and go see it. The trailer here is brilliant too.

Play them off, pleeze!

June 15, 2009


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.


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:


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.


March 3, 2009

People often ask me to come speak about my work. These days I love talking about multimedia because it’s my current passion. So when the American Society of Picture Professionals asked me to stop by on Tuesday, March 10 at 6.30, I thought it’d be fun to look at a single piece from start to finish. Hope you can make it.

click for details

click for details

Bigger and Better

February 28, 2009

I was impressed when I saw Pete Souza’s work going up online. What’s even better was the image size: bigger than many photo websites I’m still seeing ( and twice the size of this blog…might be time for me to find a new wordpress style when the Federal government has a better template)bigger and better

Back to Beijing

August 4, 2008

I’ve been to China on assignment for National Geographic Magazine four times in the last decade so it was interesting to dig into that story again, this time for MediaStorm on behalf of the Asia Society. The website and Longing for Blue Skies, the short film I produced and edited, just launched last week on their website.

It was fun to look through all the wonderful photographic coverage on China. One of the things I’m learning is to craft sequences using a single photographer’s work as a way to give more structure to the narrative.

The other fun part of this project was the chance to sit down with Orville Schell, a writer, former journalism school dean and now the Arthur Ross Director, Asia Society Center on US-China Relations

It was my first major on-camera interview (which I directed and lit ) and Orville was a joy. You could hear the sound bites tumbling out of his mouth and the hardest part of the job was getting the two hour interview down to my first cut of 9 minutes, then again down to the current 6 minute piece.

While you’re on the site, check out the Room with a View feature. A nifty piece of citizen journalism that involved a simple look out the window.

Please pass this along to anyone who might be intersted.

And let me know what you think!

air sick

January 21, 2008

Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk is responsible for perhaps my favorite multimedia piece thus far …and now he’s done it again with a video about global warming created from twenty thousand still images.

If I ever considered working for a newspaper again, this is where I’d love to try it out.


one square at a time

December 24, 2007

I wandered into the Peer Gallery to see Christopher Rauschenberg’s show called “Daily Life” and liked it a lot.

I also jotted down Portland Grid Project on the exhibition card to check out later.

For that project, photographers have spent more than nine years (1996-2005) systematically documenting Portland, Oregon. Now, with some new faces and perspectives, they continue in Round Two.

Using a map of Portland divided into grid squares a mile and a half on a side, each month they photograph the same randomly picked square, using a variety of films and formats. At the end of the month, they meet to look at everyones photos. They’ve created a complex, detailed urban portrait, consisting of about 20,000 images of Portland, its land forms, architecture, people, residential neighborhoods, industrial sites, waterways, parks, and sometimes just a shadow or the look of fallen leaves on a newly mowed lawn.


on the right track

December 19, 2007

David Kessler has been making short (2-3 minutes) video stories about the characters he’s found underneath the Philadelphia EL (that’s the ELevated subway tracks in Philadelphia, PA.) This year-long documentary project, Shadow World, which started as a video blog, has hit 25 epidsodes and has grown into an exhibit and installation in a Philadelphia gallery.

He started it all by just paying attention to the people he saw on his daily walks in the neighborhood. You can read the details in this cover story in the Philadelphia Weekly.


10×10, no human input needed

November 24, 2007

It’s not new but it’s always fun: 10×10 is a widget written by Jonathan Harris that scans the wires every hour to look for the 100 top words in news stories, then chooses 100 corresponding imagesThe site explains: “At the end of each day, month, and year, 10×10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.”

However, if you look at the picture choices, they’re often repetitive, boring or missing. For instance, the Prime Mnister of Australia just conceded the election but they couldn’t find a picture of him? I mean, the guy has only been in politics for 33 years. But hey, who needs human input?

If you liked 10×10, check out WordCount, the 88,000 most frequently used English words arranged as one very long sentence.

shameless self promotion

October 11, 2007

A story about the Ohio University “Soul of Athen’s” project I worked on this year. Check out the project itself. It’s really cool.

Soul of Athens

the same, only different?

September 29, 2007 spotted these two covers:


and they wrote this caption:“At left, Time’s cover from November 2005. At right, Newsweek’s cover from this week. Presumably both women are looking at the nineteen other photographers queuing up to take this hackneyed, overused shot.”

No wonder magazine subscriptions are falling.

Film maker Errol Morris looks at two Roger Fenton images of The Valley of the Shadow of Death from the Crimean War. Many people think one of the images was staged or posed. But which one? And how do you know?

Morris does the home work in his NY Times blog. A great ethics puzzler, it’s already garnered 600 responses since it was posted les than 24 hours ago. And he has a few interesting things to say about Susan Sontag.


When the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein finished her new book Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism, she sent a copy to the film director Alphonso Cuaron, (who directed Children of Men.) In response, he worked with a team to create an amazing short film to promote the book.


Klein, who also wrote the very popular anti-globalization book No Logo didn’t stop there. She worked with the Manchester Guardian, the international daily and my favorite newspaper website, to develop a mini website to explore the book and its ideas.


This all brings to mind a conversation I had this summer with the design director of a major US publishing house who told me she’s convinced that every book needs a website. Well Klein, forever one step ahead of the rest of us, now has a film to promote her book which she is releasing this week in the US.