It was the first week in September and I was as excited and nervous as the little ones heading off to first grade and the freshman starting college. After picking up my name badge and schedule from the registry office, I headed to the dining tent to meet up with my fellow students taking a week-long workshop at Maine Media Workshops and College in remote, coastal Rockport, Maine.
I introduced myself to two friendly looking guys sitting at one of the picnic tables. One was a documentary film director from Brooklyn and after we chatted a bit, he asked, “are you here for still or motion?” He must have registered the confusion on my face as I tried to grasp the question. “Um, I’m here for Documentary Camera, so I guess that would be motion.” I realized then that I had reached a new level in my learning journey and was amongst like-minded souls deeply committed to the craft of image-making and storytelling.
My hobbies come and go, but the one that has never left me is photography. I reach a state of ‘flow’ where I become completely absorbed in seeing and capturing the beauty that surrounds me, whether that be a simple landscape, a thoughtful expression or the ordinary in everyday life. A photograph captures a fraction of a moment in time yet somehow remains eternal. It’s accessible but at the same time mysterious. Memory can be fickle, but like specific smells or songs can trigger memory, a photograph imprints memories and keeps them forever sharply in focus.
While still photography is nuanced and subjective, film is more visceral and action-based with the addition of motion and sound hitting more of the senses. It has the ability to be more direct. There are important stories that need to be told at this critical time in humanity. We cannot rely on mainstream media to bring us what is true, real and important. We need compelling stories about important topics and inspiring stories about real people and their everyday triumphs and struggles. I want to bring these stories to life. As an introvert, I can stumble verbally with self-expressing, but if given a camera and quiet space and time, my ideas crystallize and I can finely craft what needs to be said and find great satisfaction and peace in doing it.
So with deep faith and trust that things will work out if I follow my passions. I’m honing my photography skills and learning the craft of filmmaking with the hope I can eek out a living finding and telling inspirational tales that will inspire and move others.
I see my week at Maine Media as a transition point in my journey. For 12 hours a day, over five days, I was immersed with kindred spirits learning, looking, filming, discussing and crafting stories. At the student showcase on the final night, I was astounded at the variety of work produced over just five days. From nothing, and with technology, imagination and creativity, came works of art and media that were entertaining, educational, inspiring and thought-provoking.
There is a time for stillness and there is time for motion. Both are necessary. I’m transitioning from a time of contemplative stillness to active motion and looking forward to wherever it leads me.
P.S. I hope to share the short documentary piece I produced during the week soon. In the meantime, I’ve strung together some footage from our shooting exercises to give you a taste of my Maine Media experience.
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