Among three finalists for the World Press Photo short form multimedia prize is Magnus Wennman’s outstanding 5-1/2 minute video called “Fatima’s Drawings.” His “Where the Children Sleep” project was widely published last year, and “Fatima’s Drawings” is a continuation of his work documenting the plight of refugee children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The video features a five-year-old Syrian refugee in Sweden, recounting (in a voiceover) the trauma and loss she experienced in Syria and while fleeing to Europe. It’s an example of spare, exquisite filmmaking, with care and attention to all the creative and technical details, from the storyboarding and shooting, to the sound recording and mixing, to the atmospheric hue of the lighting. It also includes animation: Wennman shows Fatima by the light of a window, making stick-figure drawings of scenes from her past. One shows her playing with the best friend she left behind in Idlib, Syria; another shows airplanes bombing her old neighborhood. The drawings suddenly come to life as the camera lingers overhead. Some purists might argue the technique strains the limits of journalism, but Wennman’s video adds up to more than the sum of its individual parts, and documentary storytelling doesn’t get much better than this.
In preparation for PDN’s July issue on Ethics, we asked photojournalist Victor J. Blue to explain what he does and doesn’t do to gain access, how he avoids conflicts of interest, his thoughts on fairness vs. neutrality, and the “Define the Relationship” talk he has with his subjects. More ›
Photographer Gerd Ludwig is a lighting master with TTL strobe lights. He uses them in unusual and unpredictable ways to direct the the viewer’s eye through his photographs, convey a sense of place, and define his visual style. Yet his strobe lights are all but invisible, blending with available light sources. In this video, Ludwig... More ›
The Nine, fine-art photographer Katy Grannan’s first feature film, will have its U.S. premier at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Hot Springs, Arkansas in October, and will also feature at the New Orleans Film Festival that same month. Grannan recently spoke with PDN about the the film, which chronicles the lives of a... More ›