I’ve talked before about how important it is for photographers to be flexible. Flexible in planning, flexible in shooting, and flexible too in business. In recent years I’ve expanded my offerings from still photography to the addition of videography. It’s a complimentary skill set and something my clients want and need.
I did my formal education in videography and production during my career at the St. Petersburg Times, taking classes there and at the Poynter Institute. But it really goes back much further. As with my still photography, I was always intrigued with video. When I first started with the family 8 mm camera, there was no sound but when I look back at the reels and reels of video I shot, I realize that the foundation for what I do now and how I do it, took its roots in those early experiments with video.
I wish I still had access to some of the documentary videos. There were several that came to mind while writing this blog.
Like me, Jim Bede was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1969, Bede tried his hand at a record-breaking around-the-world flight in a modified Schweizer 2-32 powered glider he called the BD-2. I got up early the morning of the flight and was at the perimeter of Cleveland Hopkins Airport with my 8 mm video camera. After several hours of delays, the plane started a slow roll and then takeoff from the runway. The flight I videoed was his second test flight and lasted 33 hrs. It was a flight leading up to his attempt to go around the world ( which he never did ). I probably have more footage of the takeoff than the news media that were there.
When I was 18, Richard Nixon made a campaign stop in Akron, Ohio. In what would be my second documentary video (I call it now), I was at the airport when he arrived and then along the route he took to give his campaign speech.
So fast forward to the present. The events I shoot are different, less political but more life changing.
One of my first shoots was for Culver Academies, a college preparatory boarding school in Culver, Indiana. I went there, my children went there and it is a special place to us – and one where I cut my teeth on video projects. Today, I’ve continued to grow and learn and now hang my hat on those special moments in life like weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s, family history interviews and more.
One of the things I have embraced over my career is the excitement of learning new and relevant technology – again, it’s about flexibility. That knowledge has been and is the reason for some of my successes in the documentary field of photography that I have embraced. Had I not moved forward I never would have learned the tools and fine-tuned the new technologies available today.
Have I learned it all? Not yet – who has? But I am striving to learn all I can and incorporate it into what I do now. And that is, tell stories in the best visual way now available to documentary journalists like me.
That being said, I have never been so excited and energized to add the video arena to ways that I can document my story telling abilities.
Whether it is a documentary video of a senior citizen reminiscing about their life or the joys of a special wedding day, a graduation, a sporting event by a family member or even an anniversary, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah or just a family reunion or gathering, I have the passion and the experience to make it a special video for you.