Tag: multimedia

professional project: on the other side

Two weeks ago, I finally received an answer from Jacqueline Lapine at the Missouri Department of Corrections regarding my request for an interview with Deandra Buchanan. She asked me to send sample questions, so I sent her a list with questions and a personal letter in which I introduced myself and my project. Ms. Lapine forwarded both to Buchanan and he agreed to speak to me on camera.

Yesterday I went to Jefferson City Correctional Center to finally meet Buchanan. Escorted by the activity director of the facility and D.O.C. staffer Jeananne Markway I went through the security check and set up my camera in the visitors’ room. Buchanan was supposed to arrive a few minutes later, but someone in the chain of command had not been informed about the interview and so we had to wait for about half an hour until they brought him from his cell. Unfortunately for me, this meant that my time with him was cut short significantly because he had to be back in his cell block for the next count.

For the first fifteen minutes, Deandra was negotiating the terms of the interview with me and by the time we got started talking, I had only about half an hour left. Thankfully, the prison staff was quite generous and gave me another ten minutes or so to finish up the interview. I did have to leave out a few questions, but I think the material I have is good enough to add another dimension to the project.

Here are some raw edits of the audio footage:

Buchanan recounts the night of the crime:

On his reaction to the death sentence:

On dealing with guilt and remorse:

On his reaction to Valeria Brown’s visit and forgiveness:

On his outlook on life:

Buchanan’s advice to someone in his situation:

About the criminal justice system:

June 19, 2010

the lamprey’s brain

For our Electronic Photojournalism Class, we had to do another video assignment. I used this opportunity to experiment for the first time with a D-SLR as a video camera instead of a regular camcorder and shot my room mate Tim (a Ph. D. student in neuro sciences) while he was dissecting one of his lampreys in his lab. To get really close to the specimen on the microscope stage, I used a 60mm macro lens, which made holding the camera still quite difficult as I could not shoot from a tripod most of the time. Nevertheless, I really like the quality and the look of the result. Granted, I screwed up majorly because most of the takes are shaky, but nevertheless I just love the shallow depth of field and the feeling of the images. And a small table tripod next time will take care of the camera movement. I guess I will do more video with D-SLRs in future…

November 17, 2009

The Mozzarella Maker

For our Picture Story and Photographic Essay class, we were asked to find a job profile that inspired us. I looked around a lot, and found a lot of stuff, some better and some not so good. Yet the one that I picked stood out in many ways. First of all, it was beautifully photographed – no surprise, however, as it was done by Todd Heisler, who is one of the best contemporary photographers in my eyes. I also love the story of this fragile, old woman, who at the same time has so much stamina and power – plus, she’s really into cheese, which is always a bonus for me… Anyway, here’s the Mozzarella Maker! Enjoy it!


Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

October 21, 2009

AIDS Orphans

For our Electronic Photojournalism course, we had to critique a multimedia piece on a news organization’s website. I chose the project AIDS Orphans on the website of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., based newspaper Sun Sentinel. It is a comprehensive piece in several chapters dealing on the AIDS epidemic in Haiti and its consequences for the entire society of the small Caribbean island state.


Copyright 2006 Sun Sentinel

AIDS Orphans is a piece of epic dimensions. After the pre-loader with a short introductory text, the viewer is taken to the main menu where he can choose between four chapters. The first three chapters each explore one aspect of the AIDS epidemic in Haiti while the fourth one tells the story of a Haiti native who died of AIDS at age 18 in Florida. Each chapter is again divided up in several parts, consisting of audio slideshows, interactive info graphics and links to related articles in the Sun Sentinel. At the bottom of each chapter’s submenu is a scrollbar with portraits that introduce on click the featured children with a short audio track.

The audio slideshows are very comprehensive in nature and provide rich explanations of the issues addressed in light of the social and cultural context. Detailed, interactive info graphics provide further information related to the topic and each chapter contains a link list to related articles in the Sun Sentinel. In two chapters (Houses of Hope and A Future With HIV), 360 degree panoramics introduce the viewer to the places featured in the slideshows and the people living in these places. The producers of this project did a great job in creating a multi-layered, interactive and comprehensive piece of journalism.

On a technical level, there is little to criticize. The menus are well thought of and intuitive, and the design is plain, simple and beautiful, without any distracting and unnecessary elements. The only thing that disturbed me while I was working my way through this piece was the music that accompanies the menus. It is the generic, depressive piano music that is featured in almost every other multimedia piece on difficult issues nowadays. I think that the piece could easily do without it. Also, it is very difficult to navigate to the piece from the main website of the newspaper, and even though I knew that it was there, it took me about ten minutes to find it. For someone who doesn’t know that it’s there, it is pretty much impossible to find. Apart from these two issues however, I think that AIDS Orphans is an outstanding piece of journalism that pushes the limits of multimedia.

October 18, 2009

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