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.