The Picture Story

Two years ago I created a storytelling form that I somewhat understand.

A Picture Story is a very rapid slideshow of still photographs, set to audio. The photography is grueling. It requires the image-maker to fire each frame manually in response to the tempo of the surroundings (and FPS desired) while maintaining an acute awareness of everything underfoot and likely to come in the near future. The editing process is even more demanding. It requires the sorting, renaming, processing, cropping, sequencing and understanding of tens of thousands of photographs.

But it’s worth it. The balance of energy and depth possible in a Picture Story surprises me still, and I think a key component of what works is that it actively recruits the viewer’s imagination. Straight video spoonfeeds and stills can be grazed with inattentive eyes. This has a funky flow, and I like it.

The fiber of the format is something that I’m still learning how to weave, and it spurs much creative growth. Because: in the editing room, I have to unravel the unstructured/prescient storylines that my shutter snaps commit me to… Without a map. And even if there was a map, the map isn’t the territory: intellectualization fails to finish the job that heart starts (I’ve tried).

Call it heart, guts, spirit or soul; this is what starts the ball rolling in the first place. So, when editing, the game is to retrieve that state of being, open and synchronized to causes and probabilities.

The piece I’m working on now, for The Posse Foundation, will be done soon. The past 32 hours have been trancelike and productive, and I’m feeling that mix of anxiety and clarity that comes when I have it by the tail — a good high.

I’m liking where this is taking me. Especially given the long-range of my dreams. Picture Stories are particularly impressive when projected, and they present many pathways for interaction.

2 February 2012, 16:40

Your Turn