Ken Burns is a documentary legend, and even though he comes from a filmmaking perspective, his ideas on what makes a story worth telling (or, in our case, a moment worth capturing) are universal and universally inspiring. In this short interview he did with Redglass Pictures he talks about finding subjects where one plus one equals three — where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. He also talks about sincere emotional manipulation, and how he believes it is at the heart of his greatest documentaries. “Emotional truth,” maintains Burns, must be pieced together and created.
And it’s these abilities: the ability to create something that is greater than the sum of its parts, and the ability to “manipulate” the story to piece together an emotional truth that may not be obvious to the casual onlooker; its these abilities that should be at the center of every artist’s tool chest, be they photographer or documentary filmmaker.
If you’ve never really understood conceptual art, the video above will only serve to confuse and frustrate you more. Purple eccentric dinosaur eating mayo. If you’ve never heard of John Baldessari, the video above will bring you up to speed. Baldessari is an internationally renowned conceptual artist who’s known for using found photography and appropriated images in his work. Photographer Cindy Sherman counts him as one of her biggest influences. The short documentary above gives a brief overview of Baldessari’s life and work in six bizarre minutes.
Nokia made quite a splash earlier this year by unveiling the PureView 808 — a smartphone with a large 41-megapixel sensor and a high quality Carl Zeiss lens. The 8-minute behind-the-scenes video above — filmed entirely with the phone, by the way — is the story of how this device was born, starting from a napkin sketch in a Tokyo bar. Nokia is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of cameras, and devoted 400 employees toward the creation of the PureView 808.
Legendary photographer Alfred Stieglitz was one of photography’s pioneers. In a time when the arts, photography included, were stuck in the past and unwilling to change, he drove the art of photography into a new erra of expression. Because of this he is known by many as “the father of modern photography.” As the documentary explains:
What Stieglitz was driving at was a new vision for a modern world; to teach America to see, and photography was the epitome of a new way of seeing… to shock the world of the arts out of its blind attachment to the past.
Part of the PBS American Masters series, The Eloquent Eye is an in-depth documentary on the life and work of this great man. And it’s well worth an hour and half of your weekend if you can spare it.
Ever since she entered the world 30 some-odd years ago, Alison has had her father Jack Radcliffe‘s camera pointed at her. Radcliffe, a Baltimore, MD-based photographer, started out by documenting her life casually as new parents commonly do, but slowly became more interested in the relationships involved in growing up. He writes,
My photographs of Alison, because of the nature of our relationship, are very much a father-daughter collaboration-Alison permitting me access to private moments of our life, which might, under different circumstances, be off-limits to a parent. The camera, early in her life, became part of our relationship, necessitating in me an acceptance, a quietness. We’ve never had long photographic sessions, but rather moments alone or with friends.
The significance of these pictures emerges in retrospect. I realize as I look at them, that I created a visual life story of Alison, capturing moments in her metamorphosis from infant to woman-her relationships with friends, her rebellion, and underlying it all, her relationship with me, a constant throughout her life. I wanted to photograph her in all her extremes, and to be part of these times in her life without judging or censoring. Only in this way would I have a true portrait of Alison.
Admittedly, Michael Wolff is not a photographer, but this six minute Intel Visual Life documentary is still worth watching for any and all creative types — especially photographers. Our favorite part is his ellaboration on the muscles of “seeing” and creativity: curiosity (or questioning), appreciation (or noticing) and, lastly, imagination. He explains each so beautifully; and as a bonus, if you’re interested in branding and design, there’s few people better suited to tell you about it than Mr. Wolff.
Some might say that the city of Rochester, New York is struggling; others might say that it’s evolving. One thing’s for sure though: Rochester — nicknamed The World’s Image Centre — is changing. Because of this, and because of the city’s rich photographical history (think Kodak), ten of Magnum Photos’ photographers have chosen Rochester as one of three locations currently being documented across the United States. Read more…
A member of Magnum photos since the 1960’s, photographer Constantine Manos and his Leica rangefinder have been creating beautiful photography for many years. Perhaps best known for his work in Boston and Greece, much of Manos work revolves around his South Carolina upbringing and Greek heritage.
Now, in order to celebrate some of his best and most striking work (section two on the KKK is absolutely chilling) Leica and Magnum have partnered up and put together a short “Personal Documentary” narrated by the photographer himself.
This past Monday was the 182nd birthday of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who became famous for his high speed photographs of galloping horses. In 1965, the US Department of Defense commissioned this short documentary titled It Started with Muybridge, which tells the story of how Muybridge’s early photography experiments contributed towards the advancement of science and technology during the Atomic Age.
In February 2008, Polaroid announced that it was ceasing production of instant film. ‘TIME ZERO’ is a documentary that tells the story of the last year of Polaroid film in three acts. Act I introduces the magic of Polaroid through the perspective of Polaroid artists and former employees of the corporation. Act II begins with the discontinuation of instant film and covers the grass-roots movement to keep it alive. Act III centers on ‘The Impossible Project’ and follows their against-the-odds effort to reinvent instant film.
The film was created by Polaroid enthusiast Grant Hamilton, and will premier on April 28 at the Independent Film Festival in Somerville, MA — three miles away from Polaroid’s former headquarters.