You may have noticed that I launched my new website this week. All the galleries and the design have been overhauled. This redesign came on the heels of a recent business decision to join forces with Wonderful Machine and Offset for help with production, stock promotion, and other areas of my business. Take a look around the new website and pass along any feedback you may have. Here is a small sampling of what you'll find at the new and improved www.neilkrauss.com.
Arguably one of the best visual storytellers of our time is Renan Ozturk of Camp4Collective. His collaborative film Meru made the top 15 documentary films for the Academy Awards. He has won several other film awards for his work.
Renan recently posted a behind the scenes video from a trip to Burma for National Geographic and The North Face. At the workshop I attended in September, National Geographic editor Sadie Quarrier spoke about this expedition and the difficulties encountered along the way. In this clip Renan talks about the importance of good visual storytelling because his equipment broke. Not having the ability to check focus and exposure made for a lot of trial and error on his part. My favorite part is near the end when he talks about the importance of the story and the unimportance of gear. Enjoy!
TOOLS OF THE CARFT
Last week, David DuChemin wrote several blog posts about the art of photography, as is his habit, and he mentioned a "...tool of the craft..." that I hadn't considered before. I previously regarded shutter speed, aperture, focal length, film or sensor format (crop), distance to subject, etc., as tools at my disposal for making pictures and telling stories. I can manipulate any one of these items to achieve a different end result or convey a different message. The one that I think we should add to that list, and possibly think about far more often is focus.
Having had a few days to think about it, focus is a huge part of storytelling. Shifting focus in a scene from foreground to background, blurred action with a key focal point, all techniques key to storytelling. As I sat and thought through this, the first scene that popped into my head was the final scene of Inception. A key scene with complimentary background action but a main focus on the spinning dradle.
Here are a few examples from my online portfolios that utilize selective focus (or selective bokeh) to help tell more of a story.
What are some of your favorite scenes or photographs that use selective focus as a key point in telling a story?
I've watched a couple of very visually compelling movies in the last couple of months and I wanted to mention them here. Both films have amazing cinematography and both movies seem to have a wonderful mix of shots that combine to tell their strong story. If you haven;t seen either of these films, you should. I could watch both films on mute, thoroughly enjoying the framing and color of each shot.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty visually captured me from the opening credits. Great shot choices and well executed.
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
When I watched this movie, it was as if I could see the thought that went into every shot and every layout. I loved the symmetry and the wonderful color, all easily understood just from watching the trailer.