Depth of Field: Timothy Allen

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Timothy Allen

I am starting a new “season” of the Depth of Field Podcast with the impressive work of Timothy Allen.  As I start this new season, I’m not able to promise any frequency of releases or number of episodes, but I don’t want to let it go by the wayside.  Thank you to all of you who reached out and asked for new material.  I will to continue with the quality of guests and interviews that you’ve come to expect, so let’s get started.

In case you somehow haven’t seen his inspirational work, Timothy Allen is an English photographer and filmmaker best known for his work with isolated cultures and people around the world. He shot into the public light with his work on the BBC documentary series, Human Planet. Timothy was the stills photographer for the series and traveled with the crew all around the world. He was put in charge of the Human Planet blog by the BBC where you can see many of his fantastic images. They later did a Human Planet book with all of Timothy’s images. Continue reading

Ken Burns, “All story is manipulation”

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

This is a short, but challenging film with Ken Burns, one of the premier documentary film maker of today. In it Burns says, “All story is manipulation”. As a visual storyteller is this something I can buy into? Do I believe this? When it comes down to it and I am honest with myself, I think I agree with him. Continue reading

Depth of Field: Michael Yamashita

Mike Yamashita

I have been looking forward to talking with Michael Yamashita for years. Yamashita is a National Geographic icon. He has shot more than 30 stories with the magazine, many of which became cover stories. Specializing in Asia, he has shot stories on Marco Polo’s journey to China, the Great Wall, The Age of the Samurai, Korea’s DMZ and much, much more. Many of his stories have been turned into a National Geographic Channel documentary, The Ghost Fleet, won Best Historical Documentary at the 2006 New York International Film Festival.

Yamashita’s prior book, Marco Polo: A Photographer’s Journey , sold over 200,000 copies worldwide in its initial printing .  Marco Polo is also the subject of his award-winning National Geographic Channel documentaries, Marco Polo: The China Mystery Revealed, in which Yamashita retraces the 13th-century Venetian’s epic excursion to China.  His other books include The Great Wall: From Beginning to EndZheng He (Discovery), In the Japanese Garden, New York from Above and Mekong (River): A Journey on the Mother of Waters.

In this interview Mike Yamashita gives us a wonderful look into what it is like to have been a National Geographic photographer for 30+ year. We also talk about what does it take to make a great photo and so much more. Mike is easy going and open. No pretense with this man. By the end of this interview you will believe Mike Yamashita is they guy that lives next door, only with a much cooler job.

Visit Mike’s Website HERE

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You can listen to more Depth of Field podcasts HERE.

A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan

It may seem strange to you, but Afghanistan is one of the places I have always longed to visit. I’ve talked to several journalists who have worked there and they all say I’m crazy. But there’s something about Afghanistan that draws me. Perhaps it is because I lived in Kashmir, India for thirteen years and there seems to be an affinity with the Gujjars shepherds I grew so close to with many of the Pashtun’s of Afghanistan. They share much the same culture, they dressed the same, they have certainly shared the same kind of struggles.

Brian Storm and his team at mediastorm.com have done it again. They’ve knocked another one right out of the ballpark – a home run, to use an American euphemism. Photojournalist Seamus Murphy has put together one of the best, well-rounded and unbiased reports of Afghanistan’s recent history that I’ve ever come across. He chronicles the lives of the family he met in 1994 up till today. The photography is unmatched and the story is heart-wrenching. This is another example of how strong the blend of motion image, still images  and well-crafted audio can be. To me, this is one of the best short documentaries I have ever seen, bar none. I admit, I might be biased as it is a subject that is dear to my heart. Murphy covers it with a heart for this family and through his images and audio he pulls us in. From a photographic stand point, he is amazing. His images are strong and full of emotion. The story line is well thought out and pulls you along. This is a great example of a story arc, a perfect bell curve of tension. If Murphy doesn’t received numerous awards for this documentary than there is something seriously wrong with the system.

On a side note, this fourteen year story was funded in part through Kickstarter. The wave of the future?

Based on 14 trips to Afghanistan between 1994 and 2010, A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan is the work of photojournalist Seamus Murphy. His work chronicles a people caught time and again in political turmoil, struggling to find their way. See the project at http://mediastorm.com/publication/a-darkness-visible-afghanistan