Tag Archive: documentary
Chimping from D Perez on Vimeo.
Dan Perez de la Garza has released Chimping: A Short Documentary Film About Photojournalists. It’s a brief look into the processes and philosophies of 8 photographers: Preston Gannaway, Rick Loomis, Paula Lerner (previously), Todd Maisel, Chris Usher, Angela Rowlings, Edward Greenberg, Stan Wolfson, and Rita Reed. It’s a fascinating look at how photographers from a variety of backgrounds and influences approach the job and bring back their pictures.
Bill Cunningham New York is a documentary about the man behind the New York Times’ weekly seen-on-the-street fashion column. The man’s dedication to the subject, good-natured curmudgeonliness, and general idiosyncrasies seem sure to make it an interesting film. The movie will be in limited release in April and May (playing tomorrow in NYC and next week in LA), but happily that limited release covers a wide swath of the US.
Malcolm Murray’s documentary, “Camera, Camera,” fascinates and disturbs me. The film explores the increasing phenomenon of travelers with cameras invading remote areas or cultural events. I’ve seen the situation hundreds of times, and been part of it more often than I’d like to say. Those times, the only thing to do is put down the camera and go drink a cup of tea.
The film is currently on the festival circuit, but hopefully it’ll be coming to a theater or dvd player near you soon.
(via NYT Lens blog a while back, but I’ve just gotten to watch it.)
Restrepo, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger’s documentary about one American platoon fighting in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, has been picked up for distribution and will be shown in theaters starting in summer 2010. The movie’s website has information on screenings, and the trailer is available to watch online.
Photography Hijacked looks promising. The film follows 12 photographers from Australia and the US, showing their work and working process. I believe it’s connected with the Hijacked book from a couple years back. NSFW due to quick nudity in the trailer above. From the film’s website:
“Photography Hijacked, a documentary film by Jack Pam, is a journey through the processes, techniques and outcomes of 12 unique photographers from Australia and America. The idea that individuality of process is what underwrites and makes possible all interesting artwork is explored with each new artist in the film representing a new way of looking at the contemporary medium of photography.”
The film features Graham Miller, Dean Karr, Shen Wei, Jennifer Juniper Stratford, Sarah Small, Toni Wilkinson, Gareth Willis, Brad Rimmer, Amy Stein, Karron Bridges, Angela Boatwright, and Bill Sullivan.
SocialDocumentary.net has announced the winners in the site’s “Documenting the Global Recession” contest. Tomasz Tomaszewski’s story “Hades?,” a story documenting widespread loss of industry and jobs in Poland, took the top prize with honorable mentions going to Khaled Hasan, Michael McElroy, and Shiho Fukada, and the People’s Choice awards going to Matt Eich and David Wells. Lots of great work to see behind those links, but I’m especially interested in the contest being used as a way to generate interest in work addressing the economy. We’ve written previously about tired images of financial crises and the difficulty of photographing something as nebulous and abstract as a recession related to complex financial derivatives. These stories recognized in SocialDocumentary.net’s contest humanize complicated international financial issues from a deeply engaged and emotional perspective. Definitely worth a look.
Reports of the death of newspapers have been greatly exaggerated. Tomorrow’s fishwrap retains its role as today’s outlet for the stories unheard elsewhere. And while the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News won’t be producing any more projects such as “Final Salute,” other newspapers continue to produce in-depth, long-term journalism with significant visual components. This is remarkable, given how much budgets, staff sizes, and news holes, have shrunk in recent years. Two great examples have recently been published.
The Dallas Morning News’ exceptional “Choosing Thomas,” chronicles the story of T.K. and Deidrea Laux’s choice to bring their son into the world knowing he would die soon after birth. The piece will leave you in tears. Journalism this intimate and powerful is a rare thing, indeed. Be sure to check out the webchat with the Lauxes and Deidrea’s diary, both of which exemplify the possibilities of the web’s wide-open canvas.
The Denver Post’s “Ian Fisher: American Soldier” is breathtaking simply for its breadth. Capturing the life of one soldier from signing recruitment papers to boot camp to deployment in Iraq to the homecoming, the piece offers a whole picture of the American military with both depth and intimacy. In one sense, there’s almost too much to look through. I’ve only skimmed the photos…my internet connection makes futile any attempts at more intensive browsing. But the dedication to the story is obvious. This is what long-term visual journalism will look like in the coming years, and it’s great to see it’s already being produced.
And just because I don’t have a better time to bring it up, the St. Petersburg Times’ investigative look into the Church of Scientology deserves a look. Published earlier this summer, the articles offer an unprecedented look into the supreme weirdness inside the highest echelons of Scientology. Knowing how quick to litigate the Church of Scientology can be, this a bold move for a newspaper in uncertain economic times.
(and an aside: I wish wish wish all newspapers and magazines would use some standard method for displaying videos on their websites. Vimeo would be a great option, youtube would be an improvement over the mishmash currently used by newsrooms around the world. Brightcove is buggy for me even on the best of connections, and anything that doesn’t let me pause and load the whole movie and then watch makes me close the window. Grumble, grumble, grumble.)
Sarah Ziff’s new documentary, “Picture Me,” is sure to create controversy. A Guardian interview with her about the subject matter, the exploitation of young girls by fashion photographers, starts with a disturbing vignette:
A beautiful woman sits in front of a video camera. Her name is Sena Cech and she is a fashion model. Her tone is matter-of-fact, as though what she’s about to describe is commonplace in the industry in which she works. The scene: a casting with a photographer, one of the top names in his profession. Halfway through the meeting Cech is asked to strip. She does as instructed and takes off her clothes. Then the photographer starts undressing as well. “Baby – can you do something a little sexy,” he tells her. The photographer’s assistant, who is watching, eggs her on. What’s supposed to be the casting for a high-end fashion shoot turns into something more like an audition for a top-shelf magazine. The famous photographer demands to be touched sexually. “Sena – can you grab his cock and twist it real hard,” his assistant tells her. “He likes it when you squeeze it real hard and twist it.” -from “Sarah Ziff talks to Louise France about the world of teen modelling” in the June 7, 2009 Guardian
There’s worse described in the article… The interview has drawn some criticism running the gamut from concerns over vague and anonymous allegations (valid, perhaps, but concerns about libel and personal safety could explain this) to predictable, though spurious, remonstrations that the models chose their career knowing full well how sleazy and untoward its underbelly really is.
One commenter on New York Magazine’s coverage of the documentary wrote, “Oh crap. What a revelation. Models and actresses are hookers with higher pay and a demand that they do multi-level role-playing and fantasy with a bunch of sweaty-yanker photogs. Then if they hit it big they can get pregnant by a multi-million dollar contract job in the sports industry, or, if they must, they can marry a short producer or Wall Street type. Boy, this story hasn’t been done before.” Here’s a web forum where discussion, at times, boils down to a similar sentiment, though, thankfully, more clearheaded thinkers weigh in, as well.
I can understand (though not agree with) the foundations of the above argument: the fashion industry sells clothes by appeal to sexual fantasies, so anyone going into modeling should expect a level of sexual situations much greater than, say, an office job at a paper company. But any critique, such as the commenter’s, that claims models get what’s coming to them is akin to saying a victim of rape is “asking for it” by dressing or acting in a particular way. This is untenable and absurd thinking; the women described in the article are victims and the only people to blame are those who perpetrated and assisted the assaults.
The situations addressed by Ziff’s interview and documentary are nothing short of sexual exploitation, assault, and abuse. This cannot be excused or ignored.
(via Politics, Theory & Photography; can’t believe this hasn’t been getting more play)
Addendum: I should add that I have no experience with the fashion industry and can only take Sarah Ziff’s statements as they have been presented. There are likely many, many fine and upstanding photographers and agents involved in high-end fashion. But, if the reality behind even just a few of the glossy pictures has a hint of what Ziff’s documentary describes, it makes me sick to my stomach.
You’ve probably seen David Lynch’s feature films (Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, and the like), but you probably haven’t seen his daily weather reports (and with a weather balloon for a head), him and cow campaigning for an Oscar, his missives on things such as iPhones, product placement (my favorite!) and the nature of ideas, or “Rabbits” (and let’s not forget the weirdness of his proselytizing for Transcendental Meditation).
Now Lynch has unveiled a teaser for “Interview Project,” which will debut June 1, 2009. In Lynch’s own words, “Inteview Project is a road trip where people have been found and interviewed…there was no plan really…. [It] is a 20,000 mile road trip over 70 days across and back the United States…the people told their story….” It looks fascinating, and could serve as video update to Studs Terkel‘s interviews from the Great Depression (and don’t miss the recent This American Life collection of Terkel’s Depression-era work). That’s setting the bar a bit high, though. I’ll be happy if it’s just an interesting assortment of people talking about themselves and their lives, as in Story Corps’ excellent years-long project.
Matt sent me this video (and I saw it on Lens Culture, too). Not sure why he didn’t post it, but it’s worth sharing. The movie, William Eggleston: Photographer, by Reiner Holzemer is available on dvd.
I googled “Reiner Holzmer” and it turns out he wrote a post on the Magnum Blog a little more than a year ago. Additionally, Holzmer made a movie called “Magnum Photos: The Changing of a Myth” about the recent history of the agency. It sounds real interesting, but at $390 for the DVD, I’ll have to skip it for right now…