Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Time out Tuesdays: Love in the first person

Welcome back to Time out Tuesdays, a continuing effort to share the stories that resonate with me and to keep myself constantly spelunking for the very best in photojournalism week after week, I've decided to start this new feature.

Every week, I'll post up a new photo story, video, picture or multimedia piece that I think gets it right and is worth taking a look at for study, ideas, appreciation and inspiration.

Matt Eich showed us a piece of this back in Portland during the NPPA Immersion Workshop weekend and I'm now pleased to be able to share it with those that weren't able to attend.

It's a subtle presentation that doesn't quite fit the conventional norm, but as a personal journal that employs the tricks of long form documentary film making it works.

It is very much in the vein of the New York Times wedding-how-we-met series, but whereas those feel like feature-y profile pieces, this goes more in-depth and digs to create the intimacy and personal connections that all shooters with documentary aspersions hope to have.

Watching this, you feel as if you're a part of their journey.

I won't call it brave (that word has lost all meaning anyway), we're photographers, this is what we do, but rarely does anyone do it this well.

Now granted the main photographers are the subjects so of course the intimacy is there, but that doesn't mean the same can't be done with an unfamiliar subject. Afterall isn't that the point? As my old PJ instructor Dennis Dunleavy used to say: intensity, immediacy and intimacy. This one has it in spades and despite first appearances it's not as easy as it looks.

Speaking of looks, let's not forget the sound. It's not often I find a piece that exemplifies the crucial necessity of audio to a piece's success.

Listen to this one again with the sound off and you'll notice it isn't nearly as effective. The low ambient score with the touches of sound effects from tapes being rewinded or camera clicking at the wedding add a lot to the immersion and draw you in to the story further. Plus sounds have an emotion quality. Every click, beep, footstep and pause carries with it storytelling.

Than again, you can pretty much look to any presentation from MediaStorm for excellent attention paid to the ears. That's just one of the perks of realizing the production house model can and will work and hiring the right people. (Seriously, why is no one else picking up on Brian's model? It's not hard folks, it's just the Hollywood system. If I had the capital I know I'd be doing it.)

Matt's personal story may not seem like the most obvious choice, but I'm looking to it this week for my inspiration.

While there take a look at "Evidence of My Existence" from US News & World Report photojournalist Jim Lo Scalzo. It plays as a companion piece on the topic of fatherhood and balancing family with profession.

Also as a slight aside, kudos to Kainaz Amaria, who for a brief time went to SJSU with me before high-tailing it to Ohio for grad school, for shooting some of the video and pics for the project. (Yes, my friends, it's a small world. Play nice.)

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