My father was a preacher who yoked from time to time at small-town churches, and this story really captured something for me. Being very familiar with the subject helps me understand the motivation behind the organization and emotional intent of the piece. Lately, as I listen to radio, I try to understand piece-by-piece why every element – voice-over, soundbytes and nat. sound – is used at the time it is. I obviously need a lot more practice in radio editing to make something with the power and impact of this KBIA story, but it’s an art form I want to learn and learn well.
I’d been skeptical of audio slideshows as a method of storytelling. Not because they didn’t look cool, which they do, and not because they’re not fun to play with and make, which they are. Something about the juxtaposition of still photographs with audio seems unnatural, like a powerpoint presentation.
But after watching these, I realize I might have judged them unfairly. Like any good sequential art (comics, for example), what seems like an unnatural combination can be powerful and moving in the hands of someone who uses it for that single effect.
Having read David LaBelle’s “The Great Picture Hunt,”
I’ve tried to learn to take good pictures many times in my life. As a staff writer for a small paper, I would occasionally end up with the chance to add a photo to the story, and I tried to do the best I could with no training whatsoever. They weren’t awful, and one ended up as a finalist for an award, but only after some pretty heavy Photoshop fixing-up and a lot of assistance from the full-time photo editors. I did once have a brief career as a visual artist, non-photography division, though, and LaBelle speaks to me about visual storytelling – the simplicity, the emotion, the connection – in a way I understand and appreciate.
His list of good traits for a photo seems obvious on one hand – humor, personality, composition, interaction – but on those times I’ve tried to take a picture, I see how hard they are to capture if you lose focus or allow yourself to be sidetracked.