Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Becky took Mataya to the neighborhood where her documentary was taking place for some sunrise b-roll.
I took Megan to L'il Dizzy's to do sunrise b-roll inside the restaurant--the prep chef; the dew on the windows; the waitresses arriving, etc.
Leaving Megan to continue gathering footage, I joined Becky and Mataya at the church to be the sound gal for her two camera operation. Becky manned the P2 Mataya set up in the balocony, Mataya roamed around cpaturing closer views, and I sat on the floor, with the Zoom sound recorder.
Leave church to retrieve Megan...take her to the hotel.
We heard back at the hotel that the Gay Pride Parade was going to be emanating very close to the hotel, so a few ran over to take pictures there.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with students getting their edits ready for the New Orleans Photo Alliance critique at 5pm....
We piled into the van and went to the Photo Alliance for our final critique, followed by a celebratory dinner at Juan's Flying Burrito.
Everyone followed Tony to the Howlin' Wolf's Den to capture the last of his footage on brass bands where he began: The Hot 8 Brass Band. The rest just went to enjoy the music.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
St. Roch's Campo Santo
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Colleen made friends with some fishermen:
All that relaxation was utterly exhausting:
After a few power naps we reconvened at the Blue Nile where Devin was filming local vocalist Mykia Jovan. (Fall in love with her online here: Mykia Jovan
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sunrise shoot in the French Quarter. All, but Devin, made it out for this our second sunrise shoot. It was a smidge more humid than our first couple of days, but no humidity. Fogged lenses remained so by the time we reached Jackson Square. The only folks around were street cleaners, the usual array of characters snoozing on benches, a fellow strumming a guitar before work, and the lady selling the coffee and bignets at the Cafe du Monde. Bliss.
Back to the hotel for breakfast and some needed download and capture time.
We had a review of the film dailies--or rather, bi-dailies, I suppose. Some good beginnings, but much more work is needed. With Becky and Jorah hitting the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain and Insta-Gator, I had the film crew, and plans were set for the afternoon's driving schedule.
Everyone piled into the SUV and we headed to Little Dizzy's. We discussed shot set ups, based on earlier discussions in the critique, and we set about the task of creating some meaningful b-roll.
It's always nice when a student embraces the food culture of New Orleans as a topic, because we get to try some truly wonderful food. Little Dizzy's was epic in this regard. It was a buffer of friend chicken, red beans and rice, gumbo, potatoes, and everything in between!
Three words: Best gumbo ever.
After lunch, I left Devin and Megan to their work, and took Mataya to her location-St. Katerine's Drexel. She was setting up for an interview with the choir master, followed by a choir rehearsal.
Devin texted that Megan was done and they were ready to be picked up. So I hopped in the van and made my way back over there, picked them up, dropped them at the church with Mataya, and zoomed back to the hotel to pick up my laptop, so I could work while waiting for choir practice to end. But we all sort of ended up shooting, and it turned out to be a good think I'd cleared my cards. Mataya shot a combined 68GB of footage in one hour.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Tony is also working there tonight with the chef's husband who is a musician! Becky and I are really looking forward to the dailies on folks' blogs!
Arrive at airport
Find out we could have slept later
Arrive in Memphis and discover the gate at which we were deposited, a half hour later than anticipated, is two airport lengths from our already-boarding flight.
12:30pm Arrive at the hotel with Jorah, Mataya, Devin, and Tony, and some of their luggage. We decided to leave the rental car place with Becky behind us, otherwise the students would miss the tour--a very important overview of the city.
We boarded the tour bus, and had a great tour. Everyone was relieved we would be stopping for some quick takeout, as it had been some time since we'd eaten!
Arrived back at the hotel, and had a much needed break to unpack!
We went to Tippitina's Uptown for the weekly Fe Do-do. Bruce Daigrepont's Cajun beats filled the hall, and the 50 or so people who weekly arrive at 5pm to dance were already reeling around the dance floor!
Junior-High-dance-style, we all sat along one side of the dance floor in folding chairs. Everybody danced eventually, and Tony even discovered his true calling: washboard musician!
We left for our second musical epiphany of this loonnnnnng first day: to see tue Hot 8 Brass Band at Wolf's Den.
By now, dear reader, you may be questioning the pedagogy behind the music, but the first venue was to bathe in real local culture--one where cake and ice water are the prevailing vices, contrary to the NOLA first-timer's view that there is nothing beyond Bourbon Street. But the Wolf's Den was so our student Tony could meet up with one of his desired subjects for his documentary film on Brass. By this last late, but incredibly rewarding, musical wonderment, our numbers had dwindled to two students, Becky, and me. Becky and I were exhausted. But I'll tell you, there's a reason there's a brass band at every funeral. That music lifts you up.
Some late-night blogging and catching up via email with our mortal lives, we all probably had the most restful and sound sleep we can remember in recent history!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Visual Narrative
When photographing a picture story, there are several important elements that you need to be looking for while shooting. These will help you to build a coherent story as you edit.
The Lead Picture:
All stories need a picture that sums up the essence of the message you are trying to communicate about your subjects. Keep asking yourself, while you spend time with your subjects, what is the story here? What, in a few short sentences, describes the arc of these people’s lives and how can I show that? Give your story a title, this will help you sum up what your story is about.
The Scene Setter:
We need to have a sense of place in every story. Where are we? Where is this story taking place? A farm, hospital room, a street a kitchen?
If your story is about people, as most of them will be, we need to get a good look at their faces. A portrait can be something captured in the course of covering their daily lives or it could be something more formal with or without eye contact.
This is the meat and potatoes of most picture stories. We need to see spontaneous moments where your subjects are interacting with their families, friends, environments, pets, or even themselves. These should be telling moments that give further information supporting what you are trying to say about your subjects.
In all of your pictures look for moments. A moment is a place in time when the action in a photograph reaches some kind of resolution or peak. All the elements in the frame converge for a split second to reveal the essence of that particular situation. Look for moments that reveal the inner story of our subjects. How do they feel about their lives, their partners, friends and their situation.
You can add texture and visual variety to a story with a telling detail of personal objects, a pair of shoes, an old wedding photo, dirty hands, a tattered hem, a treasured toy, etc.
Shooting any idea or assignment as a picture story will give you an organized way to cover any subject. Even if ultimately only one photograph will be used from your take you will know your subject better and give editors more options which may lead them to run more of your pictures.
This technique is also useful if you aspire to do longer projects for magazines or books. Working to create visual narratives will help you organize your approach to a subject and you will begin to create a body of work that is about something and goes beyond a collection of unrelated single images.