Thursday, September 30, 2010

Talking Picture Postcard: Tango Dancing Ghosts

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Wandering the narrow alleyways between the mausoleums, I feel the cold winter breath of grieving stone statues blowing on my neck. I shiver as I look into the faces of those buried here, the bearded military man frozen in brass, the child’s youth photographed and trapped under porcelain.

Click here for an iPad friendly version of the above audio slide show.

Is there anything alive here ? In my imagination I hear the plaintive music of a bandoneon, the accordion-like instrument that’s the soul of Argentine tango, accompanied by a small music hall piano. Are the ghosts dancing, or are the tunes from last night’s bar still playing in my head ?

I’m exploring the famous Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aries, a city of 6,000 graves laid out along orderly streets and avenues. Since 1822  Argentina’s rich and famous have been buried here, including Evita Peron, wildly popular with the poor she championed and the beautiful wife of President Juan Peron. She died of cancer at age 33 nearly 60 years ago.

Her family crypt is often thronged by still worshipful admirers and tourists, yet it was decades before her remains were resting here safely under 27 feet of cement. With the winds of Argentine politics the corpses of  Evita and Juan traveled around the world, with Juan’s hands being stolen by politically motivated grave robbers.

No such drama today. Today the only serene living creature I encounter among the granite and marble monuments to the dead is a sleeping feral cat, curled up under the statue of a stately dog and it’s once young owner. I still hear the tango music in my head, blending with the quiet feline’s purr.

All photographs captured in the Recoleta Cemetery with Nikon P6000 “point-n-shoot” camera, with natural sound recorded in San Telmo neighborhood’s Club Sur, August 2010.

For more multimedia visit Miami Multimedia Photographer.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Multimedia Roots Sprouted Decades Ago

Multimedia story telling is a lot of fun. Simple as that. Why ?

It reawakens that excitement I had a a kid in the 1960s burying my nose in stacks of "Life" magazines over at my friend Mike’s house. Those double page black and white photos depicting a devastating Appalachian flood and solders dying in Viet Nam riveted my attention.

Story telling photography hooked me then and there, exposing the wider world to sheltered me living in a tiny Idaho town.

Click here for an iPad friendly version of the above audio slide show.

Multimedia rekindles the amazement I experienced on my first newspaper job in 1970s Seattle while photographing The Adventuress, a 1913 wooden schooner. My sailing companion, a television photojournalist, opened my ears by using his movie camera attached microphone to highlight wind in the sails, lines singing through pulleys, waves splashing and voices chanting.

Wow, a new way to tell stories other than with pictures. I thought back then that if for any reason I couldn’t continue working as a photographer, I would like to work with sound. It took a while, but here I am, having fun with sound ... and pictures.

Like with the fifth multimedia audio slide show from the “There’s A School For That” series commissioned by Archbishop Curley Notre Dame High School here in Miami. Senior class president Jessica tells why being a leader has helped her grow as a person and prepare for college. Photographs, audio interview and ambient sound allow you to see and feel her commitment in making ( while fasting for a weekend ) and delivering 3,000 peanut and butter sandwiches for the homeless.

Each of these two minute shows took between 40 and 50 hours, two in the field photographing and recording, and at least three more days on the computer cutting audio, editing and processing photos, assembling and tweaking the time line. A lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

I’m grateful those roots for exciting story telling have continued to grow in me all these years. Its fun, simple as that.

View more Miami multimedia photography here.