Over 56 million acres of land in the United States is owned and controlled by approximately 500 Native American tribes that received federal recognition and sovereign land from the U.S. government. Living on this land, although a blessing, has made us invisible to the public eye. In addition to the geographical invisibility, our history, modern culture, and social issues have been swept under the rug for decades by mainstream media and the U.S. government. They typically stay out of the reservations altogether, but unfortunately, people can't fix a problem unless they view it with their own eyes, after all, "seeing is believing." This is the reason our own cameras are crucial to healing our indigenous communities.
Over twenty years ago Chuck O'Rear took a photo that soon became part billions of peoples everyday lives. He captured Bliss on his way to see his girlfriend, he pulled over when he spotted the perfect scene in Sonoma County California. On the side of the road with his medium format camera, he took what would soon become the most viewed image of all time as a staple of Microsoft. After twenty-one years of unimaginable fame, O'Rear is back with a tribute to the epic American nature and a reminder for us all to cherish our earth's beauties.
Short documentary films have the power to reveal a unique story, inspire with insights and even motivate change in the brief duration. How easy or difficult it is to make one? In this post, we will discuss the steps involved in making a short social documentary film.
"Instant Dreams" is a feature-length film about Polaroid that explores the magic of this defunct format, the pioneer of instant imagery, and documents the search for the lost chemical formula. Premiering at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam a few days ago, the film discusses what it meant to produce imagery that is physical, unique, and, as one of the subjects puts it, "an artifact of time."
The power of visual storytelling to create an impact in the real world is plentiful. Of late, there is this new format of social short films that are catching up and seeding change in its own ways. How strong is the impact that these short social documentary films make?
What we do in our free time is often connected to our innate passion. Such one random act of passion led us to launch a social documentary filmmaking brand. A lot of us, especially wedding photographers, have this bandwidth of free time where we are not shooting any weddings. In this off-season, do the things we do sum up to make a difference? This post is about how we chose to make short social documentary films and how transforming the experience was on the whole.
When I photograph events, I do my best to become a “fly on the wall.” I try to stay out of the way, to be unobtrusive, to not affect what’s happening around me and just document what I see. To be a photographer in the White House and be a fly on those walls — surrounded by high stress, classified this and that, diplomats, dignitaries, tragedies, and achievements, while being charged with capturing all of it, 24/7/365 — would obviously be a job that would take all you’ve got. And to do it for not one, but two presidents? That’s nuts. But there’s one guy who did it. His name is Pete Souza.