Left Behind by Dai Sugano

Here's a nice piece of video journalism that Brian Snyder sent my way. A piece on poverty in India by Dai Sugano published by the San Jose Mercury News (thanks Brian!).



I think it works really well. It is a short introductory type of piece. No narration, just big fact quotes. Which is nice.

There is very little ambient sound, mainly just an ominous melodic tone playing in the background. So that makes it easier for one person to do in the field.

It appears he had a fixer or two, he probably got some help from a local charity or other NGO, which is the way to do it.

The camera doesn't move. Which is something I really like. Just find your scene and let the action move around inside it. Of course, a film historian would tell you that innovation wise this technique is somewhat pre-"The Great Train Robbery" which was made in 1903. Regardless, it works. That's something that still photographers are known for when working with motion, starting and stopping each scene with a still photograph.

The motion itself is also nicely done. It is slowed down, and sometimes I think it almost stops.

So, if this is something you're interested in, I'd say this is a very good example of how to make it work. Basically everything has been thought out to make it possible to capture the scenes by almost one person. Pretty much how you'd work if you were doing stills.

That said, there are still a lot of people listed in the credits. This is not the type of thing one person could do on their own, at least not very well (or at least not yet). There are quite a few jobs to be done here. I'm guessing we're looking at about a week of post-production also (for the five minutes or so of video).

The other thing which is important to point out is there's not a whole lot of still images in this piece. If the image quality was high enough, you still couldn't go through and grab more than three or four frames that would work as stand alone still images. Just something to think about.

Stills and motion are two different critters regardless of who's behind the camera.


Sign 'O' The Times

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Kenneth Jarecke, Contact Press Images


According to the NEW YORK TIMES many prominent magazines lost about half of their ad pages for the month of January.

Well, what can I say? It serves you right I guess. Disrespect your readers with anything but the highest quality of content and that's what you get.

Meanwhile, the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that (the genius currently known as) Prince is planning to release three new albums this year, all without the help of a record company.

LA TIMES writer Ann Powers quotes Prince as saying (several times), "The gatekeepers have to change." When speaking about the record industry and how music is distributed.

That's why he's doing it himself. He creates the music. Why shouldn't he distribute it?

The gatekeepers use to hold the keys to the marketplace, now they don't. That's their problem. It shouldn't be ours.

As a photographer what can a magazine offer you today, besides the occasional slice of special access?

I've been preaching this for years (to myself in the bathroom mirror every morning), to survive you need to become the end-user of your own work.

Actually, this post kind of foreshadows the theme of my new project, which I will talk about in a few days.

Happy New Year, this should be fun (or at least interesting)!





Tag Galaxy

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Tag Galaxy is a visually pleasing way to organize information. More precisely images on Flicker, but still it is basically just organizing and retrieving data in a fun way.

So, how do we make this work for us (photographers that is)?

I played with this for awhile. I searched "obama" "election" "palin" and "butts" alas, I couldn't find a way to combine all four tags and settled on "kittens".

Still, there's something to work on here... what if the content was at a consistently higher level? Maybe that doesn't matter, but I'm guessing it does.

I hate to say it, but Getty or Corbis could/should have this interface up and running just to drive traffic to their sites.

I'm not sure if this would work at any of the current online magazines for example... they don't really have enough content. Same goes for smaller agencies.

I guess, if I was an editor at Getty (for example) I'd be using a similar interface, except with more rigid tags, so a user could search via pull-down menus and eventually create a customized image selection say for... united states, election, obama, and get some image cloud, globe, stack, whatever that would be really cool and fun to look at.

Combine that with Apples touchpad features... awesome.

People like to look at pictures, but the slideshow format is so Kodak 1971. Why not make it fun?

If you're not careful (like Fat Albert use to say), you just might learn something.