I had the pleasure of shooting and editing this recent profile piece on Canadian radio personality Stuart Maclean while he was performing in Seattle last month. Stuart is more than just a fellow Canadian and magnificent storyteller – he was my first-year journalism professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. The esteemed reputation of Ryerson’s Journalism school is lost on Americans – so it was a delightful experience to see Stuart again and re-live a little piece of my Alma mater. He’s just as warm and friendly as ever – but aren’t most of us Canadians? :)
(Myself, Molly Moon and videographer extraordinaire Aileen Imperial)
I’ve had the good fortune to produce some segments for KCTS 9′s Arts and Culture show PIE. It’s been a great experience and I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with some great people. The picture above is for a segment on Seattle-style ice-cream that will air Thursday July 25th on KCTS 9. You can also watch it online at http://kcts9.org/pie. If you like it, be a fan of their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/PieOnKcts9!
I edited a little “Behind the Scenes”video for my work – KCTS 9 Cooks. It was a blast to edit partly because the show was so much fun and the shooting was so good. There were a lot of different angles, movements, and short interviews to edit together – makes editing so much easier!
Visit http://kcts9.org/kcts-9-cooks to watch the video now!
I recently looked through a photo series profiling the city and faces of Detroit in Wired.com. (see it HERE) The photos are hauntingly beautiful, yet also exude horrific sadness, despair and decay. It’s not exactly news the city isn’t doing well, but I wasn’t prepared for the bitter faces of citizens that seem resigned to limbo – no where to go, yet no reason to stay.
Detroit isn’t a stranger to me. I have family there. When I was younger, I would often visit my uncle and aunt who live in Allen Park - a bedroom city that resembles any other postwar bedroom city in America. Driving through Detroit as a kid, I remember being at a stop light and the driver next to us honking his horn and flipping us his middle finger. When I asked what we did wrong my uncle sighed “We drive a Honda.” Walking through the streets, I was told not to make eye contact or talk to anyone – a little unnerving to a girl who grew up in rural Canada on a tiny island that was very “Shire-like”. I remember riding the monorail in Greektown, visiting the Chrysler Building and looking out at the burned out lots scattered like patchwork throughout the downtown core. Back then in the early 90′s, there was optimism the lots would soon be filled, the economy would gow and Detroit would regain its momentun as a major player in America.
That did not happen, unfortunately. I wrote to my cousin Rich, who still lives in Allen Park, and asked if the entire city was really as bad as the photographs. He wrote back ”The photos in this slide show actually seem relatively benign compared to some of the ruins. Pictures of the ruins are common enough that people have taken to labeling them “ruin porn”.
He goes on to give 3 anecdotes:
1. “There was a documentary crew filming in the ruins of the old Packard Auto Plant which has been abandoned, stripped of copper and now houses addicts and criminals. The documentary crew was mugged while filming in the plant and their equipment was taken (I believe this was during the day). 2. Tim Heatherington who is a war correspondent who has covered conflicts from bosnia to africa to afghanistan, did a piece for GQ and said Detroit reminded him very much of cities in Africa. 3. I read a national magazine that used the term “Detroit poor” as an adjective.”
What can be done? Unfortunately Detroit isn’t the only place in America in ruins. It is up to visual storytellers - photographers, videographers, filmmakers, to bring a voice to the unheard. To showcase the hidden. No sensationalism or ratings-driven agenda. Just document it and show it.
A few examples:
I recently watched an incredible short film entitled “Honor The Treaties” that examines the impact documenting life on the Pine Ridge Reservation has had on photographer Eric Becker. Take 10 minutes to watch the film. It will stay with you for months. http://video.kcts9.org/video/2283530017
Lost and Found Films tells an engaging story of an elderly man squatting in detroit’s abandoned Packard Plant (yes, the same one my cousin Rich recounted about the mugging). The story is told from the old man’s POV and his resilience and contentment at living among squalor is mystifying, yet endearing. He has found his sense of place in an environment unsuitable for most of the rest of us. It’s one of a series of videos that examine how “home” means different things for each of us. Watch HILL at https://vimeo.com/39346092
Some filmmakers take ruins and repurpose them into art. Famed filmmaker / Director Brett Novak takes famed freestyle skateboarder Kilian Martin out of the skate video comfort zone and into the ruins of an abandoned water park. Martin is seen skating amongst abandoned concession stands, dried up wading pools and water towers on the verge of collapse. Archived footage of the park at its primie is intercut to show the glamor and beauty of what once was. It completely transforms our traditional views of what a skate video should look like, and how it should feel. Watch it at https://vimeo.com/43044223
Lastly is another slideshow on the “beauty” of Detroit ruins at slate.com
Recent Web promo video I produced for Dexter + Chaney to announce their 2013 User Conference here in Seattle.
This past summer has been busy. Traveling, working, editing, and buying/ renovating a new house! We found a real gem (albeit hidden under a layer of dirty carpet) in Green Lake, the Seattle neighborhood we’ve been living in but renting for the past 2 years. Our neighbors are wonderful, the kids all play together and basically it’s a Norman Rockwell-esque dream come true. After spending the past 2 months in a haze and alternating between working, pulling up carpets, and running to Home Depot, it was nice to spend a weekend simply hanging out. We raked, built a leaf pile, and the kids had a ball. For the sake of prosperity, I grabbed the camera and captured the moment on
film SD card.