The team of Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele have long been using multimedia and video to get beyond statistics and portray the stories of individuals around the world whose lives are affected by climate change. The four new films in their Facing Climate Change are about people in the Pacific Northwest adapting to rising sea levels and atmospheric change. The films premiered this year at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and are currently being shown around the country on a nationwide tour.
Their film “Oyster Farmers, Facing Climate Change” uses dramatic underwater footage, documentary photography and video, music and interviews to tell the story of Kathleen Nisbet and her father, Dave, who have for years farmed oysters in Washington’s Willapa Bay. Recently, however, oyster larvae and young oysters have been dying at an alarming rate because of the acidity of local waters, caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide. The problem is particularly acute off the Northwest coast. The Nisbets’ solution: moving some of their business to Hawaii, where there is less ocean upswell, and thus the acidity in the water is increasing less rapidly.
Drummond and Steele had many partners in the making of the new films, including the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington and Washington State Department of Ecology, and they received major funding from Nau’s Grant for Change and several other funders. You can read about the making of the film on Drummond and Steele’s blog, bdsjs.com/blog. You can view all the videos at bdsjs.com/facing-climate-change/ and on Vimeo.
The winners of the PDN Edu Student Photo Contest were announced last week. Alexander Kreher, of Virginia Commonwealth University, won the multimedia/video category
with an 18-minute short film, “Street Dreams,” about the young woman who became the first female to run alone and unsupported across the United States. She made the 2,867 mile-run to raise $17,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
In his other video submission, a piece called “All Those Wonderful Things,” Kreher uses a mix of stills, video and a compelling audio interview to tell the story of one woman’s struggles with hoarding, the financial problems it creates, and the disappointment she feels about her life. Kreher made that four-and-a-half minute piece while studying at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.
“All Those Wonderful Things” can be found on Vimeo.
During a panel discussion at ASMP’s “Sustainable Business Models: Issues & Trends Facing Visual Artists” symposium, Stephen Mayes, managing director of the VII Photo Agency warned photographers not to think of themselves strictly as service providers. He suggested looking not for clients, but for “partnerships.” He said VII has successfully formed several such partnerships, in which the entity paying for the photos isn’t necessarily the same company that’s using the photos. One such partnership is the VII Photo Agency’s recent work creating videos and photo essays for Think Outside the Cell, a non-profit organization that works with the incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and their families to help end the stigma of incarceration
The campaign was funded by the Ford Foundation, and VII acted as Think Outside the Cell’s “exclusive visual communications partner,” according to the press release from VII. The photographs and video that VII photographers created for the Think Outside the Cell web site show the ordinary lives of people who were formerly incarcerated in order to raise awareness about the stigma and challenges they face upon release from prison— problems that go far beyond discrimination when applying for jobs. The stories the photographers tell also explore “the local, state and federal laws that prevent formerly incarcerated persons from accessing the resources necessary to establish a stable and productive life.”
The first of the videos, ten minutes long, debuted on the Think Outside the Cell web site this week. It’s a collaboration between Ed Kashi, Jessica Dimmock, Ashley Gilbertson and Ron Haviv; the videos are edited by Francisco Fagan.
Here’s a short trailer:
The Prison Photography blog has begun a five-part series on the Think Outside the Cell campaign, and will be running weekly interviews with each of the photographers. Part One of the series was posted this week. In it, writer Pete Brook talks to Sheila Rule and Joseph Robinson, co-founders of Think Outside The Cell, and one of the subjects featured in the video. They explain how the organization is addressing the problems of the formerly incarcerated, how the campaign was planned, and why the partnership with VII was, in Rule’s words, “a natural fit.” Says Rule, “We are both driven by storytelling. Stories change hearts and minds.”
Wildlife photographer Florian Schulz, who we profiled in the August 2012 issue of PDN, was asked by Nikon to put the recently released D600 through its paces. Schulz was the first photographer to test the camera in the field. He and his brother, filmmaker Salomon Schulz, produced this short film, titled “Chasing the Light.”
Belgian photographer Titus Simoens has been working off and on across the United States, photographing slices of life in the American West. He recently won the Best in Show award at the Foto8 Summershow in London (featured on PDN Photo of the Day); one of his images of America was honored in PDN’s Great Outdoors competition in 2011.
Simoens has co-directed a documentary, billed as “the story of two young cowboys,” called Miles Away. The documentary was shot in Cow Camp, Idaho, where Simoens also shot still images. Cow Camp is where cowboys Gene and Josh live for six months of the year, tending cattle, managing the land and repairing fences while living in a house without running water or electricity. The documentary has won awards at the Berlinaire Film Festival in Ghent, Belgium, and the Docuwest Film Festival in Golden, Colorado. It is now out on DVD.
The trailer for the documentary shows Gene and Josh at work (footage set to harmonica music) and then, in the last seconds, offers a glimpse at what their home life is like.
The calfskin leather that’s wrapped around the camera’s body was supplied by Hermès and various details of the camera, including the top and base plates, the shutter speed dial, the multifunction wheel and the shutter release, were redesigned by Walter de’Silva. The camera comes in two sets: the first includes a Leica Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. lens; the second includes Leica Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH., Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH. and APO-Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 ASPH. lenses as well as an Hermès camera bag and a book of photos by Jean-Louis Dumas.
Dumas, the chairman and artistic director of Hermès from 1978 to 2006, was a well-known photography buff who was rarely without his Leica camera. He invested in the camera maker and decided that the Madison Avenue Hermès store in New York City should have a photo gallery on its top floor. To learn more about the retailer’s unique exhibition space, read our interview with curator Cory Jacobs.
Omhu, the design firm that makes stylish canes and other mobility aids, teamed with photographer William Wegman to produce a photo library and video that presents canes—and the mobility they provide—in a fun way.
It features one of Wegman’s classic subjects, a Weimeraner, interacting with one of the canes, which are made using high-performance materials used for skateboards and bikes. Rie Nørregaard, creative director and president of Omhu (Danish for “with great care”), was a leader on the cane design and the new campaign.
Both the cool-looking canes and the dancing, leaping, bounding Weimeraner shown in Wegman’s photo library are intended to encourage people to move more.
The company fills a void in the market, supplying products for an aging population that doesn’t want to sacrifice style for functionality. Maybe Omhu can make a nice looking case for my reading glasses.
You can view the photo library on the Omhu web site, and the video can also be viewed on Vimeo.
Erik Almås says he prefers “crafting” images to “capturing” them. Working with ad agency Euro RSCG in London, Almås crafted an ad for Credit Suisse that features the eco-friendly Oxygen scooter, a Credit Suisse client. He shot images in multiple locations and in a photo studio, which were then blended with some computer-generated images of dinosaurs. No, the CGI dinosaurs are not a reference to Terence Malick’s Tree of Life, but to the era when fossil fuels were not yet fossils.
This slickly produced behind-the-scenes video shows Almas shooting in Hawaii, Arizona, and on the set. It also reveals what Euro RSCG and Credit Suisse marketers hoped to communicate and how the finished ad pulls all the photographic elements together.
Photographer Ian Ruhter has been creating one-of-a-kind landscapes using the vintage wet-plate collodion process, developed in the 19th century. He drives a mobile darkroom, fitted into a van, into beautiful locations and uses enormous metal plates to record the scene…or at least he tries. This video captures not only the technique he uses, but his frequent frustration with the temperamental process.
On the closing night of the Palm Springs Photo Festival, organizer Jeff Dunas screened Ruhter’s video, “Silver & Light,” noting that he couldn’t resist its depiction of one photographer’s obsession and passion for photography.
You can see more videos about Ruhter’s wet-plate on his Vimeo page.
This week, commercial photographer Craig Cutler finished his CC52 project. Cutler, who we profiled in our May issue (see “Craig Cutler Just Keeps Shooting“), committed to creating one new personal work a week for an entire year. The resulting CC52 project has a mix of still life, portrait and motion work featuring everything from pickled eggs and crackers to famous people’s shoes and nude models wearing team mascot costume heads. Go to craigcutler.com to see all 52 works and click on the video below to watch “Words,” his final work from the project.