In the Abraham Lake area for our fall photo workshops, Darwin and I came away with an image each of the effects of the high water from the June 2013 floods. This summer the reservoir was the highest we’ve ever seen it: the retreating water left a clear warning on the shoreline vegetation. Coincidentally, last night we also went and saw the thought-provoking film, Watermark co-directed by Edward Burtynsky. I would like to believe otherwise, but I’m afraid human memory is short, and short-term solutions tend to take priority over long-term issues. Maybe films like Watermark will help keep evidence of a possible future in our present memory.
In November, I attended an interesting seminar on filmmaking by the folks of stillmotion. The presenters asked the attendees to share by show of hands how many of those present considered themselves photographers as opposed to cinematographers or videographers (yes, there’s a difference says stillmotion). I was surprised to find myself not surprised by how many photographers were present. If you pause and think about it for a second, why would photographers be at such an event? Don’t you need fancy gear with names suggestive of secret sports-moves like ‘sliders’, ‘pocket dollies’ and ‘T-mounts’? I mean, we photographers deal with stills for heaven’s sake, discrete moments in time that, even when you string several together in a row, still reveal small gaps just like pearls on a string.
So why was I surprised to not be surprised? Because when you think about it, actually photographers are perfectly poised to delve into the world of motion pictures. The best photographers capture stories in the sparest way possible — nothing is in that single frame that doesn’t add to the idea we’re trying to convey. We can’t rely on fancy movements to keep the viewer interested; we have to use our knowledge of light and composition to get to the heart of the story every time we click the shutter. All this means we should be able to take what we know about light, composition, point-of-view, sense of place, mastery of time and working in colour and tone and take the step from one still to the thousands that make up a motion picture.
Technology has made a potential videographer out of almost every photographer. But I think photographers can do more than just video-record a bunch of stills in succession: I think we can use our cameras to tell powerful stories, to be cinematographers. The talent at stillmotion are versatile story-tellers, but they never lose focus of their goal of creating great stories.
I think here at oopoomoo we’ll be turning our cameras toward moving stories more and more in the coming months. (Now if only I can get Darwin to memorize his lines! Any suggestions…??)
First of all, thanks so much to everyone who came out to our photography talks this spring in the big metropolis of Cochrane, Alberta. We’ve had many positive comments not only on the content of the talks but also on how refreshing not to have to fight Calgary traffic and pay Calgary’s crazy parking fees! Out here in Cochrane, traffic is thin, parking is free and beer is cheap — if you know where to go!
We are taking the summer off but starting in the fall we’ll be at it again with fresh new topics. Check out our two offerings and be sure to sign up for our newsletter because our next Twoonie Talk ($2) will be opened up to newsletter subscribers first before we go public. It’s a great topic that will sell out fast (hint hint – subscribe!)
Also, if you have an idea for a talk, or a person you want to hear speak let us know.
Below are our latest offerings (remember, there is always a door prize for the first person to sign up!)
The High Art of Lo-fi Film Photography with Jim Slobodian
October 27, 2012
Pro shooter and acclaimed photography instructor Jim Slobodian explores the wonderful world of low-fi film photography in this fun talk. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the creative power of toy cameras like Holgas, Dianas , Sprocket Rockets, pinhole cameras and more. After hearing Jim, we bet you’re hooked!
The Art and Craft of the Photography eBook
November 3, 2012
Join Samantha and Darwin as they discuss the pros and cons, the nuts and bolts and the finer points of making your own photography eBooks. Benefit by learning from their mistakes and their successes. Whether your project is a wedding album, travel retrospective, or instructional eBook you plan to market and sell, shortcut the process and get on track to make a great eBook the first time out!