August 23, 2009
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:
- Ragner Axelsson’s Last Days of the Arctic.
- Chen Chi Cheng’s Escape from North Korea
- Tim Hetherington’s three screen nightmare, Sleeping Soldiers
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.
June 13, 2009
The third Look3 a festival of the photograph founded by National Geographic photographer Nick Nichols and Jessica Nagle comes at an interesting time for photography. With newspapers and magazines losing subscriptions and every photographer I met telling tales of diminishing assignments and struggling for survival, it seems like a great chance to explore where photography can go next.
So I was particularly excited to see the Shots show at the open air pavilion at the end of the pedestrian mall in charming Charlottesville, VA where the festival is held. This was all about multimedia, and trumpeted as “work from emerging and internationally recognized photographers.”
and there was some mighty fine work and presentations, including:
Michael Wolf’s Transparent City,
Christian Ziegler’s Art of Deception,
Saiful Huq Omi’s Bangladesh,
Alejandro Chaskielberg’s High Tide,
Andrew Cutraro’s Out Yonder
and the merciful relief of Alex Prager’s Big Valley.
But at the end of 2 hours, I came away overwhelmed from that distinctly American desire to confuse giving people too much crap the better option over smaller more thoughtful bites of quality.
So for a festival of three’s, I offer my gallery of too’s:
- too much volume. YEAH!! DISTORTEDAUDIO!!! YEAHHHHH!!!!!
- too many pictures. Thank god for the 4 minute limit
- too much self importance, visually and in narration, without showing me why
- too many things I’ve seen before in terms of style and approach
- too few surprises
- too many wide angle pictures following by more wide angle pictures
- too little desire to communicate understanding.
One big surprise was the amount of stolen popular music. It’s astounding that photographers, an artistic community that values ownership and rights to creative work would baldly rip off other artists, often without credit and most probably without permission. A colleague suggested we should have a music festival where all of these images were shown onstage without permission and without credit or payment. Any objections?
But if you’re going to steal, be bold so my vote for the best use of stolen music goes to Michael Rubenstein for his witty use of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On’ with his photos of Mumbai Sperm Banks. For a moment we got to laugh .
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.
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!
June 17, 2008
I love teaching and I love learning too. So I was in good company as a coach at the NPPA MultiMedia Immersion session in Louisville, KY. The students were photographers (one a Pulitzer Prize winner) picture editors, newspaper directors of photography and even other teachers; photojournalism professors from the top three PJ universities in America. It was great because I learned a ton. You can see all the student stories online.
May 18, 2008
March 20, 2008
March 18, 2008
My part in the project took more than eleven weeks of production, combing through more than 20 hours of videotapes of interviews with Reuters journalists, photographers, editors, producers and staff plus video footage captured from Reuters TV cameramen in Iraq. There were also 3,600 still images, the best of the best that Reuters photographers captured during the 5 year Iraq War, selected in a wide edit by Reuters’ talented executive team of Ayperi Ecer and Jassim Ahmad.
The maps and the revolutionary timeline, design and dev were handled by MediaStorm designer Tim Klimowitz, who is also an awesome Guitar Hero playa.
I only wish it was a project about a happier occasion.
I’m looking forward to your thoughts.
March 4, 2008
Yes we have a winner….no three winners. I was lucky enough to have been a multimedia producer on all three top prize winners in the Best Use Multimedia category in this year’s Pictures of the Year International (a.k.a.POYi!) contest. OK, it’s cheating a little because I didn’t join MediaStorm until January. And for Soul of Athens, I also created a short film.
February 20, 2008
The popular online show Rocketboom came to MediaStorm last week and the episode ran today. So if you want to see our very cool office and a bit about what we all do, check it out.
(and here’s the extended conversation with Brian Storm and more inside stuff. Yup, that’s one of the beauties of the web: you can see the entire interview, not just a small edit.)
February 19, 2008
The Guardian has more and more multimedia online, including this short film about Silva Severino, a photographer who risks his life covering the favelas near Rio.
January 22, 2008
Since I’ve been at MediaStorm, my colleague Eric Maierson has been working away on this multimedia story on the Congo with Marcus Bleasdale. It launched yesterday.
MSNBC also launched a different Congo multimedia feature based on the MediaSTorm interviews and Marcus images.
As they say in high school: “compare and contrast.”
January 21, 2008
January 13, 2008
My friend and former teacher Zach Wise has been working on the redesign–more re-imagining– of the Las Vegas Sun’s website. It finally launched today with lots of big photos and bigger multimedia pieces.
Read the backstory.
December 9, 2007
December 9, 2007
Another amazing multimedia presentation from the Toronto Globe and Mail, The Boy in the Moon is a brutally honest long form attempt by writer Ian Brown to understand his profoundly handicapped 11 year-old son, Walker.
My hat is off to the Toronto Globe and Mail for funding these long term, long form documentary projects. When will more newspapers start doing the same?
December 2, 2007
November 24, 2007
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.