Worth a look: Book trailer for Gus Powell’s “The Lonely Ones”

Book trailers are a trend that’s here to stay, but I haven’t seen many for photobooks. Ying Ang had a beautiful Lynchian trailer for her book Gold Coast. And Stanley Greene’s Black Passport had an incredibly intense trailer that’s well worth a watch. The trailer for Gus Powell‘s “The Lonely Ones,” embedded above, is something altogether different.

The trailer is playful, irreverent, and wistful. It uses the audio (and some visuals) from the well-known trailer for Jean-Luc Goddard’s film Contempt, though the translations in Powell’s don’t exactly match what is being said.

The book, by the way, looks great. Images are hidden behind fold-outs that have short phrases, a nod to William Steig‘s book “The Lonely Ones,” which matched his drawings with short sentences. You can order the book at J&L Books’s website and see some of the work at Powell’s website.

And on the the subject of book trailers, check out the trailer produced for Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. The reclusive writer apparently narrated it himself, and it captures the feel of the book perfectly.

Worth a look: The Groundtruth Project and Foreverstan

Last night I attended the launch of the Groundtruth Project, a non-profit news organization focused on training the next generation of international correspondents and producing international journalism. Today, Groundtruth has published their most recent project, Foreverstan, a current and nuanced look at the United States’ longest war. There’s an introduction video embedded above, but the project website is really worth a look.

groundtruthproject First, a little about the Groundtruth Project. It was founded by Charles Sennott (co-founder of GlobalPost and longtime reporter), Gary Knight (co-founder of VII), and Kevin Douglas Grant (formerly the Senior Editor of Special Reports at GlobalPost). In Sennott’s introduction last night he said that he had been talking with the Ford Foundation, one of Groundtruth’s funders, about the difficulties of running GlobalPost as a business. They said that GlobalPost may technically be a for-profit enterprise, but it’s really a non-profit. Sennott then founded Groundtruth as a non-profit dedicated to international newsgathering and training young journalists for international reporting.

Though last night in Boston was the official launch of Groundtruth, the organization has been active for a few years. They’ve funded a number of reporting fellowships and projects: in Egypt, in Burma, on global health, human rights in Africa, millenials around the world, and this year’s Middle East Fellowship. They’ve also published a number of special reports on topics around the world in addition to these fellowships. Crucially, Groundtruth makes sure that their stories reach wide audiences, partnering with a number of international news organizations including Public Radio International, WGBH, PBS Frontline and others.

Screenshot of the Foreverstan website - a project by the Groundtruth Project
Screenshot of the Foreverstan website – a project by the Groundtruth Project

Foreverstan is the latest of these special reports, published in partnership with WGBH and funded by the Ford Foundation and The Bake Family Trust. It combines writing, video, and photography by Jean MacKenzie, Beth Murphy, and Ben Brody, looking at the current situation of Afghanistan through stories centered around the internationally-built Ring Road in the country. The stories are separated into three sections: a look at the military handover to Afghanistan forces, girls’ education in the country, and the lives of Afghanistan’s millenials, who’ve only known war during their lifetimes. It’s an ambitious project, but one which looks a bit deeper than most conflict reporting. At the launch last night, the founders and panelists stressed the importance of “context” reporting, examining the circumstances surrounding and leading to conflict.

Keep an eye on Groundtruth’s site for future projects and ways to get involved. Also, not to be missed is the Groundtruth Project’s Field Guide, which includes guidelines for reporting from the field and a collection of essays on lessons learned from the field by a number of international correspondents, including James Foley. It’s a free download and a great resource for those interested in international reporting. You can also keep up with Groundtruth’s projects at their blog.

Worth a look: Roger Ballen’s new video “Outland”

In conjunction with the re-release of Roger Ballen‘s 2001 book Outland, he’s produced a short film with director Ben Jay Crossman.

You can watch it embedded above or at Ballen’s website. As with his previous films (Asylum of the Birds, Die Antwoord’s I Fink U Freeky, and Memento Mori) the visuals are frenetic and disturbing. Like Asylum of the Birds, the film closely adheres to the subjects and locations of Ballen’s still photography work.

You might also be interested to see two early films on Ballen’s site, one from 1995 and the other from 1986, which are much more about Ballen’s process than the recent films.

And for me to make these photographs, I have to look deep within myself and ask, ‘Can I live with myself?’ I can.” Roger Ballen, speaking to the Guardian

Amazon has a few different options for purchasing Outland, by the way. There’s the new edition out on April 20 and the 2001 edition available in different conditions and at different prices. Those last two links are at $247.88 and $461.69 as of this writing, but at this link, there appear to be some of the first edition available at much lower prices new and used.

The Guardian published an interview with Ballen a couple weeks ago, by the way, and it’s worth a read. His work has been met with criticism over the years with accusations of exploitation of his subjects, but speaking to the Guardian, he says he “can live with himself” after making this sort of work for so long.

We’ve written about Ballen a few times over the years, by the way: about I Fink U Freeky, speaking about his work, and an early Die Antwoord video possibly involving Ballen.


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