While Gordon Parks worked briefly for the Farm Security Administration, it was Walker Evans that helped bring to the American public a visualization of the Great Depression at the agency. His work for FSA, and in his collaboration with James Agee, Let Now Us Praise Famous Men, became synonymous with financial plight of Americans during the 1930s and early 40s.Read More
RedGiant has updated its Universe and Magic Bullet suite of video tools. The Universe update is small, and is the first since the beginning of 2018. It addresses the VHS effects primarily.
Magic Bullet's update is also limited. It fixes a glitch when rendering Interlaced Footage, according to a post on the RedGiant website. The Universe update also fixes a problem with interlaced footage inside Avid.
The update is free for existing users.
(Photo:Gordon Parks/Library of Congress)
There were many reasons that compelled Gordon Parks to write. Much of it could stem from his upbringing. He was born in rural Kansas, a son of dirt farmers (Unger, 1988), and went on to make acclaimed contributions to photography, literature and even Hollywood. His unending drive to succeed in myriad creative outlets stemmed, he argued, from his class and race. In an essay for a book about creativity, Parks wrote that it was “desperate search for security within a society that held me inferior simply because I was black.”Read More
Originally published at DocJournalism.com
Documentary filmmakers constantly search for stories and ideas that will connect with their intended audiences. When creating a personal brand, filmmakers have another challenge facing them: connect with not only their audiences, but also prospective clients, subjects, funding sources, distribution houses, and other entities in the documentary industry. Here is the story of two documentary filmmakers, Penny Lane and Nick Broomfield, who have established their identity to communicate their brand of storytelling online.
Filmmaker Penny Lane has that name. She is so aware of her connection to the Beatles’ hit song that she devotes an entire section of her website to it. “Is ‘Penny Lane’ some sort of stage name, or nom de plume?” reads the first line of her Frequently Asked Questions section on her website. Her succinct answer: no.Read More
In François Truffaut’s legendary conversation with Alfred Hitchcock, the latter described the relationship between a director and their film. “In the documentary the basic material has been created by God, whereas in the fiction film the director is the god; he must create life,” Hitchcock famously said.
Creation is at the heart of any film, whether it is fiction or nonfiction. Creativity is a beast, and with it anyone who has ever created anything ultimately struggles. But where and when is this creativity shaped? A film goes through much tweaking from start to finish, and some filmmakers allow myriad voices to shape their ideas. Others might put up a wall and remain stoic when other creative minds offer their opinions. Thus, from story conception to film completion, when are the most important evolutions in creativity evident during the film process? This essay will examine one part of that creative process: the pitch.Read More
Originally published at DocJournalism.com
There are two terms often discussed in the journalism world when any controversial story comes to a head: objectivity and fairness. The news media wrestled with these two terms when global warming became a hot topic during the past couple of decades. Eventually, the issue was treated as science, and simply allowing two sides to the debate was no longer an option for some media outlets. Many sided with science and detractors were presented as a fringe element. The same type of debate erupted over a link between autism and vaccines, a link the vast majority of scientists and studies say does not exist. Many journalists are increasingly moving beyond the idea of objectivity and into the realm of fairness. Their idea is to fairly represented the information, opinions and observations of the world around us.Read More
Why did two influential documentary photographers also use writing as a tool to tell stories and convey their life experiences?
Photographers Gordon Parks and Walker Evans produced popular and important documentary work during the 20th Century. But they also were prolific writers. They penned essays and books that stemmed from both literary aspirations, and as an outlet for storytelling separate from their photographs. This paper seeks to understand why these two award-winning photographers also took to writing, what they wrote about, whether their writing informed their photography, and vice versa.Read More
It is a rare thing, said filmmaker Keith Fulton, for documentary filmmakers to come out of their closet in L.A., and walk the streets of Columbia. “To have people come up and say, "Hey we saw [Fulton’s film] The Bad Kids. … Back home, people would say, what is The Bad Kids?” Whether it’s the filmmakers themselves geeking out with fellow masters of their craft, or simply a four-day tripping through good movies, the True/False Film Festival has created a safe haven for members the close-knit documentary film universe.
It is, perhaps, even more rare for such fanfare to be thrust upon a shorts filmmaker. That is where director Galen Johnson found himself, when he attended True/False for the first time while screening his short, Bring Me the Head of Tim Horton. Johnson, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, made his first appearance at the 2016 festival. Peruse his Tumblr blog, and you’ll find scores of production art for films, a smattering of architectural images, dreamish (or sometimes nightmarish) title sequences, and plenty of material related to Canadian filmmaker and artist Guy Maddin. The festival, for Johnson — who co-directed Tim Horton with Maddin and Evan Johnson — was only the latest branch of a web of people in the documentary world that Johnson said he is continuously-weaving.Read More
For the 2012 Kentucky basketball season I decided to do something a little different for the preview coverage.
The popularity of gritty, vintage-camera inspired Instagram images, I lit the players much as I would normally do on a sports portrait session, and photographed the Wildcats basketball team by shooting through the viewfinder of an 1950s-era Kodak Duaflex box camera.
The scratches, dirt and grime from the old camera reproduced well in my Canon 5D Mark II.Read More
Dozens of students and photojournalists descended upon Laurel County, Ky., in October for the ninth Picture Kentucky workshop. Citizens opened up their lives for four days while students documented the community. This is their story.
Eastern Kentucky, and Appalachia in general, is often the target of unwanted media attention. Media companies large and small have been derided for plucking in the most unusual, poor and in some cases drug-addled and criminal residents of this part of the country and placing a spotlight on them for the world to make broad generalizations.
In April, I traveled with a writer from Rivals.com to profile the life of Jacob Hyde, the first member of the University of Kentucky's class of 2013 recruits. Jacob's story and his community's love for him can be found in any small town in America.
Two dozen students and award-winning photojournalists spend five days telling the story of the people of Jackson, Ky. -- a Breathitt County community 90 miles southeast of Lexington. The workshop is held each fall by the Kentucky Kernel, the independent student newspaper of the University of Kentucky.
The workshops staffers and I spent the week following the students and having a little fun in the process. I always look forward to Picture Kentucky because it allows me to surround myself with inspiring photographers and help students discover a path in documentary photography.
Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones/Derek Poore
During the past few months I've had the pleasure of producing visual content for Yahoo! Sports' Rivals.com website - Cats Illustrated. It's tough to covering the University of Kentucky football and basketball team in an oversaturated media market and maintain any creative edge. Sportswriter Michael Smith once called UK sports the small-market version of the Boston Red Sox. The website is one of only three Rivals.com websites that has more than 50,000 registered members.
Sophomore guard Stacey Poole/Derek Poore
For the site's men's basketball preview content, I wanted to present the players in a documentary-style setting, with a gritty and consistent feel. Lots of hard light on the edges and soft up front. I also wanted to maintain a consistency between the video content and still photography.
For the video interviews I used two Kino Flo four-bank lights in front of the subject on the left and right of the camera, a 5D Mark II, with a flozier to cover and soften the medium-sized light source. I used two ARRI hot lights -- around 150 and 300 watts -- with barn doors behind the player to the left and right pointed at the side of their head and shoulders to add rim and provide for some separation with the black background.
Kentucky sophomore transfer Ryan Harrow/Derek Poore
The photographs were a bit more involved. I ended up working with photographer Jonathan Palmer to build a light set up that mimicked the video interviews. The only difference would be a white background instead of black that was used for the interviews.
Starting with an Alien Bee AB800 up front in a softbox and two AB1600s on either side of the athlete in smallish strip banks. Aside from the strip banks there was no modifier between the light and the player. This created a hard light on the edges of the athlete that contrasted nicely with the soft fill up front. The Alien Bees performed horribly, by the way. Other Alien Bees in use at the photo shoot by other photographers wreaked havoc with the AB's internal slave. The next time I'll opt for Einsteins or White Lightnings. To light the white seamless background we used two Nikon SB-26 Speedlites aimed at the background to blow out the highlights so the it was solid white.
Kentucky senior Darius Miller and sophomore Terrance Jones/Derek Poore
Kentucky freshmen Kyle Wiltjer, Anthony Davis, Marquis Teague and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Photos by Derek Poore, Illustration by Jonathan Palmer
Thirty minutes after the engagement shoot began, thunder rumbled.
Pretty soon only half the shoot was complete and a severe thunderstorm, packing 60 mph winds, chewed through the Lexington, Ky., countryside and downed numerous trees. Lexington photographer Jonathan Palmer and I forged ahead and our subjects were happy to oblige.
After manuevering around several downed trees that obstructed many roads in Fayette and Woodford counties, we spotted the first rainbow but we weren't in a good place to make a picture. We kept driving. But the rainbow was not going to hang around forever.
After darting into a field, umbrella in hand, the couple stood for a few shots. Rain was still falling, but the sky, light and colors were too good to pass up.
All of the shortcuts we took were well worth it -- the four of us toasted afterward with bourbon and beer at dinner.
Location shooting is full of surprises. That's one of the main reasons I love documentary photography. "How can we turn this into a visually appealing situation?"
When shooting weddings, churches and venues all start to look the same, so one of the first things I do is wander around the neighborhood to look for something different, something that doesn't scream wedding. Jennifer and Keith were married July 16, 2011, in Louisville, Ky.
I scoped out a few streets around the church for some after-ceremony photos. This side street had depth, character and even though the light was still hard (about 6 p.m.) the quick stop and kiss worked.
Four months on the job and I've been lucky to be a part of emotional storytelling. We just launched our new demo reel, finished rebranding for 2011 and designed a new website at www.kertiscreative.com. If you get a chance, check out what we are up to and spread the word!
We are a team of individuals – just like your clients. We are storytellers, brand developers, and overall curious people. We believe in stories. Stories that help you become more visible to your audiences. Stories that let you connect with the communities and consumers you seek. And stories that entertain, inform and move. We’ve done it on TV and for Fortune 500 companies, on the web and for the folks next door. Now let us do it for you. KertisCreative.com
Your stories. Your words. Your story is your brand. Your brand is what you mean to your community. Your community is your audience – and your biggest critics. We help you define, plan and tell your story.
I love when three months of production and editing come together. After shooting principle photography for "stalkTALK" in Louisville, Ky., in December, the team at Kertis Creative edited the nine-part web series and saw it launch in the spring of 2011.
The show follows the life of Natalie Walsh, a therapist who counsels court-ordered celebrity stalkers. B-listers like Chuck Norris and David Hasselhoff are a little too admired by a disfunctional group of stalkers who only want to get noticed.
The show was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II, using several lenses, including the Canon 24-105mm f/4 L and the Canon 200mm prime 2.8 L.
Picture: A student at the West End School studies in his room. By Derek Poore
UPDATE, Feb. 9, 2011: This piece won Best Multimedia in the 2010 Pictures of the Year Competition held by the Kentucky News Photographers Association.
In March and April 2010 I produced a video story for The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal on a small boarding school called the West End School. Video was shot on four separate days. All that shooting generated a first cut that was nearly five minutes long.
Needless to say there was some repetition in the interviews and the cutaways and b-roll weren't always necessary. But with critiques from Bob Sacha, a former producer at MediaStorm, and David Stephenson at the University of Kentucky, I managed to trim it down to three minutes. The pace is quicker, there are more visuals and interview voice overs breathe a bit better.
That's not to suggest it wasn't hard. All that cutting. Storytelling, especially in journalism, is most effective when the audience is entertained and educated all at the same time. Mark Twain supposedly said "if I see an adjective, I kill it." Editing video can be similar. "I feel like great films show, don't tell," Sacha told me.
The best print journalists visualize their stories before they do any reporting. This helps them assemble a narrative after interview subjects and the end result is a story, not an article.
Removing that one greatly-composed piece of b-roll to quicken the pace of a transition or cutting a wordy 15-second explanation from an interview session to a snappier five-second sound bite may be tough, but ultimately will help the audience enjoy and understand your piece.
Visual storytelling is no longer confined to one screen, TV networks or even websites. The work we create and the stories we tell can be seen on smartphones, iPads, flat screen touch panels at trades shows -- the possibilities are growing every month.
Journalists have never before had the number of outlets to publish media available to us today. We'll cover exporting workflows, including Quicktime compression, Flash formats and streaming video. The class will look at the incorporation of content into websites and basic DVD authoring.
We'll also take a stab at Design, typography and branding and they apply to publishing and self-promotion. Additionally, students will learn how social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can bolster the visibility of documentary work.
Say hello to Hands Up Visuals.
Friend and colleague Brad Luttrell has launched Hands Up Visuals, a wedding media agency with services in Louisville, Nashville and Memphis. The agency piqued my interested because it offers one production house for several services, including still photography, video and design.
I'm now booking all of my weddings through Hands Up, and you can check out their pricing and services at the website. Brad has recruited myself, Kyle Kurlick and Emily Spence into the agency. Kyle's a badass photographer and Emily is a badass designer.
The agency also has a Facebook page. We're going to have a lot of fun.