Buckle up Photoshop CC users, this is going to be a bumpy ride.Read More
“I can’t even count the number of times I was about to wrap a rope around my neck, and I called the VA and I got help.”
That's the kind of shit that sticks with you long after you stop rolling on your interview or shoot your last portrait of the day.
I had the incredible opportunity to visit and document the Tomah VA's efforts to refocus their mission and vision for the future as a hospital, while battling the ongoing stigma of the 2016 opioid and staffing crisis at the facility. As a part of that investigative assignment, Capital Times reporter Katelyn Ferral and myself sat down with both VAMC Medical Director Victoria Brahm as well as two Army veterans, Sam and Kris, who spoke honestly about their experiences at the facility.
It was during our second day, sitting down with Sam and Kris, that it struck me how immensely interconnected politics and the VA truly are. While it may just seem like a political ad invoking a crisis stays in the political realm, this intimate talk with Sam and Kris definitively proves otherwise. Political mudslinging can and does affect the work that the VA is trying to accomplish for our most in-need veterans in the wake of the opioid and staffing crisis at the facility.
During the assignment, I was also tasked with shooting still photos for use on the print and online versions of the article. Without a doubt, there are some quirks and pitfalls to shooting both formats on the same assignment, but I'll dive in deep on my thoughts about multitasking on assignment as the subject of a future blog post here on Photo Forward Media.
I can hands-down say this is one of my proudest projects I've worked on in recent memory and certainly one of the most emotionally impactful edits I've put together.
So, Photo Forward readers, what's the most emotionally-resonant documentary or editorial video content you've seen recently?
I've been to and photographed a lot of graduation ceremonies over the years. High school, college, graduate school, etc. And nine times out of ten, you know what you're getting into — the standard fare of optimistic speeches, "grip and grin" diploma photos, and posing in the cap and gown for family — But earlier this month, my photography brought me to a special graduation unlike any I've attended.
I was contracted by the UW-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) to help document the graduation recognition ceremony for a unique group of students, participants in pipeline and recruitment programs such as Posse, First Wave, CEO, PEOPLE, and more. Many of these students are the first in their family to attend or graduate from college. Some never even thought of gaining a college degree as an option. And, to put it simply, the energy, emotion, and positivity at the ceremony was truly something special to be a part of.
As the college had already hired photographers to capture the granting of diplomas and other necessary (but inspiring) imagery, I was free to move throughout Shannon Hall and find moments of happiness and emotion from graduates, parents, speakers, and more. Here are just some of those photos:
After experiencing this ceremony, I've got some much deeper thoughts about mindset and thought process going into assignments. But that's an important topic for another day, another post... Stay tuned.
This may well be my favorite picture I've taken all year — as decidedly unremarkable as it may look. Let me explain.Read More
This has been a long time coming, but I'm finally able to share an ongoing collaboration with a truly unique space here in Madison — 100state — an innovative, creative coworking community smack in the middle of the city.
It was such a blast to connect with these inspiring entrepreneurs, fellow freelancers, and...well... "doers". Not only in the course of interviewing Jason Tham, Olivia Barrow, and Robert Chappell, but in attending the public events, town hall meetings, and health-focused yoga nights — I felt such a part of this diverse community.
Now, I wouldn't call this "documentary" work, but the ongoing nature of the shoot necessitated some long-term thinking on the part of shooting video. It was way, way, way important to ensure that the shots (sometimes weeks or months apart) needed to look and feel consistent. That meant specific white balancing and toning all of the footage (using my favorite tool ColorFinale) to look consistent.
[And for all you tech-heads out there, here's a quick list of all the gear I used to shoot with]
Anyways, thanks for taking a look at one of (in my opinion) my best video projects I've had the pleasure to work on to date. Time to get back in the edit suite to start some serious multi-cam editing on a forthcoming video series I shot earlier this month.
Any questions about visual storytelling? DSLR filmmaking? Color grading? Drop me a comment down below and I'll give my best!