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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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Posted in advocacy, client, clients, community, inspiration, NGO, non profit, photography Comments Off on 2011 CLIENT REVIEW: WHY RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY AWARD

July 27th, 2011

When I walked into MediaStorm, on my first day, I saw the golden Emmys resting on the window sill and decided I wanted one. Not because I covet a trophy, but because I wanted to have the opportunity to help create something powerful and important enough to rise above all the others. And have an impact.

“What do you know about Pakistan?” Brian asked.

“Well, that they’re complicit in the war in Afghanistan but they’re also nuclear armed and an important ally in the region?” I shrugged.

He nodded, then told me he likes to walk into projects with very little knowledge so he can digest the content with an open mind. I made a mental note.

I spent three months working on this project, through several reviews, then handed it off to Eric Maierson when I left; he went through a couple more reviews. Doing a crisis guide on Pakistan is complicated. During that time I sat in on several meetings with the Council on Foreign Relations team, explaining and sometimes defending the edits I’d made. I wanted powerful and dramatic, but also true and factual. I made both.

The script I was working with came from the Council’s team–some of the smartest, most knowledgeable people on Pakistan’s history and politics. And, if they wanted General Petraeus for an interview, they could get him (and they did). The images and video I sourced were from the world’s best photojournalists and news videographers. It was awesome, inspiring, and I wanted to do the story justice.

And so, a year later, it turns out this project was nominated for an Emmy. That very same golden trophy sitting on the window sill at MediaStorm.

In late September, we’ll see if it wins.

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COMMITTING TO LONG-FORM STORYTELLING

June 29th, 2011

I couldn’t help but write about another Tucker Walsh post at the Digital Naturalist because he interviewed Noah and Tim Hussin or America reCycled. I was one of the 103 backers who donated a (meager) sum to their Kickstarter campaign, and continue to enjoy their long-form storytelling as they bicycle across the country and document “people…finding innovative ways to come together and make revolutionary change on a local level, to regain control of their lives, rediscover independence, and recycle the American Dream.”

Along with their Kickstarter campaign, they won a $5000 grant from National Geographic, have a PayPal button, and manage to get by living simply on the road.

It’s definitely a commitment to a lifestyle, and having met Tim Hussin in the MediaStorm office (he’s another alumnus of the MediaStorm family…and another Tim) before he left on the trip, I enjoyed getting a glimpse of how the journey is unfolding. If you read the interview, you’ll find a lot of the MediaStorm ethos in the brothers’ words, as well as some insight in their process.

Say the brothers (and I agree):

“…it’s common that people hardly spend time producing their stories, so how can they expect people to spend the time to watch them? We spend months shooting and editing some of the longer stories in this project, so in the end 20 minutes of material isn’t really too much.

“We firmly believe that as long as a story is interesting and engaging, then people will continue to watch and listen. And it’s important to show and prove to people that the content you produce is in fact worth dedicating more than three minutes of your time to. Then, when people come to your site to watch whatever you’ve produced, they’ve already set aside enough time to watch it all. ”

Set some time aside, I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Posted in Canon 5D Mark II, coolness, inspiration, media, multimedia, work of others Comments Off on COMMITTING TO LONG-FORM STORYTELLING

ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

December 21st, 2010

Teru_1-8Journalism is not dead, in spite of what many in the industry bemoan, it’s simply that the industry is changing. Drastically. Photojournalist Teru Kuwayama is doing just that: frustrated by traditional outlets, he spent the last year as a Knight Fellow researching new means for content distribution. This year, he’s surprised himself by winning a Knight Foundation Grant to use his new content distribution model to report from Afghanistan.

Audiences are increasingly fragmented, diverse in their interests and able to refine how, and what, they view. Largely because of the internet. RSS feeds, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are online tools allowing viewers to pick and choose their content; no longer are they bound to the morning paper and the five o’clock news hour.

Teru_UKAs content dissemination changes, so does the role of the journalist. Objective reporting is the journalist’s creed–though “objective” is becoming increasingly less so (think FOX News versus NPR).  Journalists can now publish via the web, circumventing the filters of large publishers, and so can citizens, eyewitnesses to events. Being so close to the source, their view may be myopic and rife with opinion. This may be where the journalist’s role is changing. He or she may become more a curator of information provided by eyewitness sources, feeding to the web. That means journalists need to maintain a technological leg-up on content distribution, utilizing and designing new platforms. The tool is no longer just the pen or camera.

Where does this leave traditional media outlets? They’re still powerhouses, backed by infrastructure and revenue, but I believe as their content suffers, as viewers grow increasingly fragmented, and as technology allows additional means of distribution, traditional media will need to evolve or be relegated to the back channels of the new media world. Which may not be a bad thing.

NYT-lens-basetrackWhat Kuwayama has done is use largely existing technology and code to create a website that leverages social media. His publication is Basetrack, his distribution Facebook and other social media, his photojournalists are himself, Balasz Gardi, and Tivadar Domaniczky in the field, with support from the States. His reporters are the marines, their family, and their friends who also become their readers. It is a social media microcosm of news dissemination curated by  journalists.

Does this mean Facebook is the new news platform?

Read More About Kuwayama and Basetrack:
• Basetrack.org
• Q&A at journalism.co.uk
• On PBS.org
• NY Times Lens Blog interview by war photographer Michael Kamber
• Knight Foundation Grant

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Posted in afghanistan, inspiration, journalism, media, photography, publishing, technique, technology, war, work of others Comments Off on ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

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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Posted in afghanistan, clients, inspiration, multimedia, publishing, technique, video, war Comments Off on MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

Media: Walter Astrada’s Project on Violence Against Women. Location: India

October 1st, 2010

MediaStorm_UndesiredI watched producer Eric Maierson sorting through hundreds and hundreds of images by photographer Walter Astrada as he did the initial work for the newly released MediaStorm piece “Undesired.”

Not only is Maierson an excellent producer, having watched his two pieces “Three Women” and “The Party,” I knew he had the voice to produce Astrada’s strong work. I only regretted I wasn’t working on the project, and that I would return to Seattle before having the chance to meet Astrada in person, when he came into the MediaStorm office.

I have much respect for Astrada’s work, particularly his portfolio from Guatemala. It is strong, visceral, and pointedly focused on the issue of violence against women. Having extensively worked in this field myself, I appreciate another photographer’s dedication not just to a single story, but to the issue as a whole.

In 2009 he won the Photojournalist of the Year NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism. He won in World Press Photo in 2006 and in 2008.

Read about Astrada, his work, and how he does it, online at the British Journal of Photography here and here.

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Posted in advocacy, articles, human rights, human trafficking, inspiration, multimedia, photography, social justice Comments Off on Media: Walter Astrada’s Project on Violence Against Women. Location: India

MULTIMEDIA: SASQUATCH OR BUST

July 7th, 2010

This is a story about a love for music and the strength of friendship. Sasquatch is a three-day music festival in eastern Washington, just 2.5 hours from Seattle. Thousands travel to the Gorge Amphitheater for the live bands, to camp on the grass, and celebrate with friends.

Spike Kane grew up immersed in the world of live music, witnessing the rise of bands such as The Clash and Echo and the Bunnymen. Many of his old friends in Liverpool are still musicians. For the last five years, Spike was unable to go to shows or even appreciate the music so vital to his existence.

In June, 2010, Spike returned to the Gorge with the help of his friends, to once again participate in a music festival.

Read more About “Sasquatch or Bust” including tech tips after the jump!

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Movie: The Cove. Documentary Journalism and an Advocate’s Message

June 30th, 2010


I put “The Cove” on my movie list when it was briefly in Seattle, before it won Best Documentary at the Academy Awards. When it became available on Netflix, it went into the cue; last night I was able to watch it with Lu. I was more than impressed, not just by the film, but by the call to action.

Having a marine biologist for a partner means I get some interesting insight. For instance, some of the interviewees in the film hold multiple roles most viewers wouldn’t know about. How the film makers chose to classify them helped me understand the context of their quotes. We also stopped the film several times so Lu could tell me who certain people were and their role in the IWC or other organizations. I like inside information.

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I’m a Mac…and I have a Dirty Secret

June 28th, 2010

Brian Storm posted this to his Twitter feed; my partner, Luciana, had mentioned it to me. And, because I talk about this when I give presentations (even pointing to my computer and holding up my iPhone), I thought it was worth a post all on its own.

Consumers–us–we buy products but many of us don’t ask our retailers to talk to the manufacturers to ask them to track their materials all the way down the supply chain, and to do so with a high level of transparency. That means, when we buy our electronics (or tomatoes or chocolate or…whatever) we often have no idea if slave labor, human trafficking, or war have tainted the products we buy.

It is a big challenge, but I believe corporations can hold their suppliers accountable, working with them to ensure there are viable and profitable options for them to supply conflict and slave-free materials for consumption. I believe the biggest part of the challenge is for consumers, like me and like you, to begin asking for this.

I wish I could point to my Mac and say “This is certified slave and conflict free.”

But I can’t. At least, not yet.

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Posted in activisim, advocacy, human rights, human trafficking, inspiration, multimedia, opinion, social justice, video Comments Off on I’m a Mac…and I have a Dirty Secret

Restrepo: Go See It Starting June 25

June 18th, 2010

RestrepoI received an email from Sara Terry, founder and director of The Aftermath Project, about the upcoming release of the film Restrepo, directed by Sebastian Junger (author, The Perfect Storm), and Tim Hetherington (photographer/cinematographer, four-time World Press Photo winner) who spent a year with soldiers in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. The purpose of the documentary film is to show us what our soldiers are experiencing in what is becoming a decade-long war.

I am re-posting this for one reason: as our interest in our two wars continues to wane, films about them are received poorly by the public. Therefore, they have a limited run-time in theaters. I am encouraging you to show your support for the film, the filmmakers, and the story–because this is our story.

Sara Terry included an excerpt from photographer Tim Hetherington:

“After many years, our feature-length documentary film Restrepo is finally opening on general release in US theaters from 25th June (..UK/Europe to follow..)
As you may know, the film business is precarious and the movie now needs your support at this critical time to reach as many people as possible.
You can help by viewing the trailer at:
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/restrepo/
and if you feel inclined, then please forward this link to your own mailing lists to help spread the word.

You can also sign up to support the film at our facebook page at www.facebook.com/restrepothemovie

Thanks for your help
Tim & Sebastian
www.restrepothemovie.com”

Also of note from Sara Terry is the 2011 grant application for The Aftermath Project, which will be available in mid-August.

To Do:
• Sign up for The Aftermath Project Newsletter
• Go see the film Restrepo.

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