I have now lived by an ocean for 20 years and I am not sure I could live anywhere else except on a seashore. My entire childhood, though, was spent along river banks and I am eager to go back to the three rivers I grew up on and see them with these older and, arguably, better eyes. As much as I would like to just hop on a plane and wander about, documentary projects without a plan are disasters waiting to happen and a waste of time and money — both of which I am chronically short on. So… the stories here will be the plan and the ship’s log of sorts for the project I have in mind. They will be research laid bare, a look behind the scenes of what, at least in my case, it takes to pursue a complex documentary project that includes photography, maps, audio and who knows what elese.
What these stories and, indeed this project, definitely won’t be is some sort of a first person, confessional, self-centred trip down my own memory lane. I have zero interest in pursuing something that boring. The stories of that particular region are too interesting, too rich, and too important to wallow in my own nostalgia.
What I am hoping to create here on Medium is a series of stories exploring elements necessary to bring a project to life. I will be looking for patterns and tidbits of information that in some way connect with and shape the stories I want to tell. I will be looking at everything from better understanding of landscape photography, to how we build photographic stories and narratives, story and narrative structures in general, how to build a photographic language and style for a project, maps, memory, monuments and memorials, long-form documentary funding, photographic experiments towards figuring out “the look” that works with the stories that emerge, discussions on place and space, geography, history, and politics… There will be links to photography, academic articles, books, interviews, videos, and whatever else seems helpful. There will be unhelpful things, too, I am sure, but sifting through what’s out there is part of the process.
If this sounds like it might be just interesting enough and weird enough to follow along, come on board. And if you want to chime in and offer a perspective I haven’t thought of, an interesting source that furthers a discussion or, indeed, takes it into a whole new direction, I would be forever in your debt. So comment away or just read along… ✖︎