This is the first in a multi part series about my obsession and long history with Multimedia in my work. In this section we will explore the history of multimeda as it relates to how I became obsessed with it.
An internet search on Google.com references multimedia as:
adjective: multimedia; adjective: multi-media
(of art, education, etc.) using more than one medium of expression or communication.
"a multimedia art form"
(of computer applications) incorporating audio and video, especially interactively.
noun: multimedia; noun: multi-media
the use of a variety of artistic or communicative media.
Which means that by default this post is a multimedia post, but today we will be talking about the use of Still Photography, Motion Photography and Audio to tell stories. When I say multimedia I am referring to a video that is photo dominant. A video using audio to enhance the photography.
I believe that it is in every ones best interest to understand how still and motion photography intersect with audio, and how that audio can be created and used to further the story. This is double true for people who create fiction, journalists, or even family and wedding media creators. It is by knowing all the tools available that we empower ourselves to own our own narrative, or empower our clients to own theirs.
The first time I remember being aware of this type of work is the film La Jetée, a 1962 French science fiction film by Chris Marker. I watched it in film school, but because I was in motion picture school, I quickly forgot about it as we did no work that even resembled it. Somehow it lodged in my mind and every so often my thoughts would drift back to it. Here is a scene from it.
I know that La Jetée wasn’t the first time I had encountered it’s use. After all in 1990 Ken Burn’s released The Civil War. I remember being riveted to it, but it was only after I started to fall in love with stills + audio format that I realized that it may have started me down the path way before 2002. Here is a large series of films that were 90% still images with voice over and interviews dropped in to tell the story. It was so successful as a multimedia film that the Ken Burns Effect is built into every iMovie version sold. While watching Ken Burn’s The Civil War as an early teen was probably the first time I thought photojournalism as well.
In 2003, I graduated from film school and went to work in the commercial video industry. Let’s just say the commercial video industry did not spark joy for me so on the search went. In 2005, I slowly began to fall in love with the still image. At the time, for me, there was something that felt more intense about still images; something intrinsically more intimate than the commercial video work I had been doing. I’m by instinct not a sales person. In 2007, I was introduced to a company named MediaStorm. At the time, MediaStorm worked with high profile photographers to produce videos that further enhanced their photography by allowing the stories to unfold a bit more than could be explained in just a still, or even a book of photographs. I followed them for years, used them as inspiration, even attended a workshop at their offices in Brooklyn.
An example of their work: a preview for Danny Wilcox Fraziers Driftless.
Go to Mediastorm.com and watch anything pre-2009 and you can get a sense of what inspired my multimedia obsession. All the newer work is great as well, even though it tends to be more video dominant.
There are numerous smaller examples of multimedia that has influenced me over the years but I think that about sums up the most influential. When I think of multimedia the works above still pop into my head, even if they are over shadowed by newer work from time to time.
That’s it for Multimedia Obsession Part One. Next week I’ll be posting more about my personal journey down the multimedia road.
If you are a photographer who wants to learn more about photo dominant multimedia work, then you should join us at Camp this year. Even if you never use multimedia as a complete tool, understanding all aspects of media creation can help you think of how to tell stories for your clients better in any single media. Come to camp, learn to tell multimedia stories while becoming a better photographer and help out Camp Encourage.