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2011 CLIENT REVIEW: WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

March 13th, 2012

When I was in school and working as a photographer for the University of Washington Daily, the publisher (our adviser) introduced some of us to the communications department of the Everett School District.

We would shoot hand-rolled Tri-X film, process it in the Daily’s darkroom, make contact sheets on paper we bought, edit it, and submit for client review. Once the images were chosen, we’d scan the negatives and work the images in Photoshop. It was a great arrangement; given our experience we were reasonably paid, but what we learned was invaluable. It was an introduction to contracts and corporate communications, with a reliance on our growing journalistic skill.

Last year, I received an email from Karri Matau, one of the people from the Everett School District’s communications team. She now works for the Greater Everett Community Foundation. It’s a great job: give money away to partner non profits in Snohomish County, north of Seattle. (above: Inside a juvenile detention facility where the foundation supports an art program. They are my first client to use iPhone images in an annual report)

Reintroducing herself by email, she said:

“I googled you to see if you stayed in the field. I am breathless by your portfolio and work to date!!!”

“We have a story to tell and a need to help our community celebrate and rebuild hope for the future,” she continued. “Interested in helping do some photo shoots with our grantees to “capture” our story for our annual publication and for our breakfast celebration in Sept?”

“I have hired a lot of photographer for day shoots and I’m just not pleased with the lack of emotion and energy in the shots.”
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KIVALINA WORK FEATURED IN WINk MAGAZINE

August 26th, 2011

My Kivalina work was recently included in a grant to the Open Society Institute by film maker Jenni Monet as part of her distribution plan. Subsequently, the photo agency Worldwide Image Navigation (WIN-Initiative), which holds an “image collection from the independent minds and unique creative perspectives of gifted photographers worldwide,” featured my work with a joint interview in their WINk Magazine, an online publication with a very attractive presentation. Click through to Page 75 to read the article.

The slow creep of things like climate change means stories created a few years ago are still extremely relevant. In 2008 I went to the remote Alaskan village of Kivalina on assignment for Germany’s Spiegel Magazine. My five days in Alaska was an amazing experience; having grown up in the northwest and having a librarian for a mother, I was exposed to many stories about native cultures. Reading about whale hunting is one thing, actually going out on the sea ice for a whale hunt is something I’d never imagined actually doing.

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EBAY: THIS IS HOW I SHOP

February 18th, 2011

shot_1296176000907In January, I spent 14 days on assignment for eBay and PayPal. The work was through the multimedia agency Aurora-Novus.

We had a firm–and close–deadline as the video would lead eBay CEO John Donahoe’s presentation at the company’s Analyst’s Day. “This is How I Shop” is about the convergence of online and offline shopping and how eBay and PayPal are well positioned to support this trend. I learned a lot about the company from the client, who traveled with us to interview the customers. I had no idea about some of the technologies being integrated into daily life; as the client said “the future of shopping is now.”

Our itinerary evolved as we worked. We shot in San Francisco, LA, New York City, Houston, and New Orleans, sometimes buying flights only a day ahead. I was Director, and I shot video and stills, but I couldn’t have done this without strong second shooters. It was a pleasure to work with talented people like Dane Henry of Deep Roots Media, Andrew Hida, and Wes Pope. Each joined me on a leg of the journey, bringing their own skill set and creative eye to the project. I would love working with all of them again. (iphone photo by Wes Pope)

I then spent a long weekend of long days working with Aurora-Novus video editor Jason Bosch, eating take out Indian and Thai food in the editing suite as we pulled select clips, hashed out the stories, and began building what became the final piece.

It was exhausting, but it was fun; I just wish I’d been able to enjoy each city a little more!

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MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

October 8th, 2010

CFR-PAK-coverBrian girded me for the first review. Nearly a half-dozen staff from the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR), who are really-smart-people, came in to look at what I’d made. I’d built in mood, tension, suicide bombing, explosive music, rioting, ambivalence, war, and finished with hope; I’d followed the script they’d given me and produced a nine minute overview piece that rose and fell with the story. I paced it out to give it room to breath and to captivate the viewer.

It would be an overstatement to say I was crushed by the review. They really liked it. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. They wanted to cut some dramatic, painful moments I felt honored the fortitude and vision of the photojournalists who were there (and the people who died). But my creativity had to yield to the political implications. I was quickly learning the world of foreign policy, I thought, where a summary of history and current events may influence the decision makers shaping our policy. Something as simple as lingering on an image too long could be seen as a political statement, leading to ramifications I had yet to understand.

Sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s what I thought about New York in general while I was at MediaStorm. I met a lot of people, in a casual sense, who disseminate information and hold sway on a large scale. As a photojournalist I’ve been a part of this before–being there as events unfolded before me–but I hadn’t been in the room with editors and other decision makers, in a city that is an epicenter for news production.

In fact, this was the first time I was acting as a photo and video researcher, an editor, and a producer–and having this level of peer review. I had full access to all the wire services and boutique agencies; I was culling work from the best of the best, deciding which images would further the story, a story being deliberated upon by experts in their fields. Creatively it was empowering…but it did leave me itching to be in the field making those images.

I just finished watching the final version of the Overview for the Crisis Guide to Pakistan, for the Council on Foreign Relations. I wasn’t there for the final edit. The gifted Eric Maierson became co-producer after I left. I’m impressed. Not just by the overview, which I’m happy to see maintains a lot of my style, pacing, music and edits; I’m impressed by the entire interactive package. Especially when the CFR editor says he thinks it’s their strongest Crisis Guide to date.

This is a true multimedia, team-produced project. It is interactive, filled with graphics, and lives in the new player MediaStorm coded. While MediaStorm built it, the Council on Foreign Relations was scripting, interviewing, reviewing, researching. It was intensive and extremely well thought out. I’m proud to have been a part of the production.

Put aside 20-30 minutes to understand why Pakistan matters to our war effort in Afghanistan, to nuclear proliferation, and to interfacing with the Islamic world in general.

Watch it. Here:
CFR-PAK-overview

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Contributor: 2010 TIP Report by US Dept. of State

June 14th, 2010

2010_TIP_reportToday the 2010 U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons report was published online. It’s a weighty tome (printed) and a sizable download (22mb). I am honored to be one of the few photographers contributing to this important report, with an image from my work on the Cambodian border (work I am currently seeking funding to continue).

The TIP Report evaluates every country in the world for its efforts in combating human trafficking. Most notably about this year’s report, it is the first time the United States has also evaluated itself. From the report:

Secretary Clinton (June 14, 2010): “The 10th annual Trafficking in Persons Report outlines the continuing challenges across the globe, including in the United States. The Report, for the first time, includes a ranking of the United States based on the same standards to which we hold other countries. The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it.”

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