David Bailey produces great storytelling videos about life in Bosnia. His engaging films are produced using nothing more than a smartphone and a few apps. He likes to keep things simple. He also likes to keep the time he invests in producing films to a minimum.
In this episode of Behind the Pixels, he talks about telling appealing stories using smartphone video. He also gives tips about overcoming self-confidence or notions that your story isn’t worth telling.
© 2014 Roger Overall
Are you looking for cheap photography? I’m talking real bargain basement stuff. I’m your man. I can help you.
Let’s say you’re “not-looking-for-anything-special”. That’s a popular assignment description at the moment. And you don’t want to spend more than €400. That’s a figure people have in their heads a lot. You want the copyright as well.
Here’s how we can work together.
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Speaking purely from a selfish point of view: I could happily live out the rest of my days producing documentary photographs and films about artisan food producers. Being around them is inspirational. Their knowledge, skill and passion is infectious. Moreover, I like my food.
You can imagine, then, how excited I was when I came across the photographs and video that Reuters photographer Denis Balibouse produced of Gruyère cheese makers. He spent time with the Murith family between May and October last year documenting the making of Gruyère cheese on the mountainside. The experience challenged his assumptions about cheese making and traditional aspects of Swiss life, which he thought were under threat.
In our conversation, we talk about some of the fundamentals of documentary photography such as access and respecting your subject’s integrity and rights. We also look at the rise of video and its importance for us as documentary photographers.
Denis’ blog post about his experience
Denis’ post on the Reuters blog with video
© 2014 Roger Overall
My friend Paul O’Mahony is a sharp cookie. The counter in his kitchen is where I get many valuable business lessons. Really, he should found a business school around that counter top. It would rival any in the world. The experience would be immersive, funny, enlightening and there would be excellent wine, coffee or tea. Last time there was home-baked fruit cake too.
Both Paul and I work as creatives. He and his business partner Jonathan Amm build brands (“Get your story straight”). I’m a storyteller (“Get your story told”). We are similar in how the marketplace perceives our value and our time. Often, they are rated at zero.
The world for a song
Recently, I was asked by a company what I would charge for photography that would express its corporate values. It was a sizable commission too. Lots of images. All told, in excess of three days’ work.
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You’d think that marketing a solo row around Britain would be easy. To an extent it is. But there are some hurdles too.
This week on the podcast, we speak with Clare Jefferis of She Marketing, an agency that specializes in marketing to women. Clare is helping Sarah with all aspects of publicizing her row: from connecting with sponsors to getting press coverage. Sarah also has HUGE news… but she can’t reveal all the details just yet.
As I really start to embrace middle age, I notice my body is fraying around the edges. I can’t hear tones higher than 10,000 Hz, for instance. Nor are my eyes what they once were and my effective field of vision is receding. My memory, already feeble, is becoming increasingly porous. At least I still have my hair, though it is losing its colour. And my memory isn’t what it was.
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In this week’s episode, you’ll hear that Sarah has been accepted on to a PhD programme and will be studying the cognitive effects of calorific stress on rowers. She will be her own first test subject during the Great British Viking Row. She talks us through the research and the delicate issue of faeces – one of the study’s key data sources. For instance, just how do you explain a box of it on your way through airport customs?
It’s been so long since I spent time on The Documentary Photographer, I sometimes forget I host it. Really, that’s not good enough and my ambition in 2014 is to bring the podcast back on track. I love documentary photography, it is where my photographic heart lies, and I learn so much when I get to speak with other photographers about it.
This interview with Brian David Stevens was recorded just over a year ago in London. In fact, it was on the same day that I spoke with Gina Glover. Life, work, stuff all got in the way of it being edited and broadcast. I lost my mojo a bit as well. 2013 was a hard year.
Let’s not dwell on all that.
Instead, let’s dwell on Brian and his work. He speaks eloquently and thoughtfully about his work and approach to photography and his subjects. We meander through landscape photography, street photography and documentary photography as sub-genres of photography. We talk realism, truth and meaning, as well as building meaningful relationships with your human subjects when they are very different from you.
Brian’s interests are varied, covering seascapes to graffiti artists, yet there is a coherence. Often Brian collaborates. Either with his subjects or by working with others on a project, a poet for instance. His work is about dialogue. Landscapes are revealed to have human meaning due to events that happened there – the interplay between image and words creates a deeper story.
You might know about the monster that lurks under the front passenger seat of my car. Croissanzilla. A piece of pastry that refuses to decay. Bought at the start of July 2013 at Tesco and showing no signs of mould. A little desiccated perhaps, but otherwise robustly oblivious of the march of time.
I have to accept that Croissanzilla will be around for a while yet. In that vein, the pastry deserves at least a gender. Is a croissant a he or a she?
Turns out Croissanzilla is male. “Le croissant”.
I imagine him as a leathery mariner from Marseille. I hear they breed them tough in that city. A no-nonsense sort of pastry that would back down for nobody. Irascible and indelible. Big on attitude. Scary.
I tell you this: steal my car at your peril. He’ll rip your ears off.
One of the great stories that I have the privilege of helping to tell right now is that of Sarah Weldon’s “Great British Viking Quest”. We do this together in the weekly Oceans Project podcast.
In a nutshell, Sarah had hoped to row across the Pacific Ocean later this year. First as part of a four, then (after a crew shake up) as part of a pair. Sadly, when her remaining crew mate also left the project, she had to abandon it.
Now she plans to be the first person to row solo around Britain.
At the moment, the project is on a knife edge. The finances involved in such an endeavour are considerable and an important deadline is approaching. She needs to make a £7,500 deposit on the boat by the end of next week.
But before I give everything away though, why not listen to the latest episode of the podcast?
If you’d like to hear more of the story, you’ll find all of the previous episodes listed over on the widget bar on the right.