Tag Archives: Audio

Don’t stop creating

Posted by on February 1st, 2014

How do you land photography jobs? How do you get good enough to become a professional photographer? If you’re starting out in this industry or even if you’ve been in it for a few years but feel like your creative wheels are stuck in the mud, these are the kinds of questions that lodge themselves in the front of your mind. Even if you are well into your career, there’s always a haunting feeling that one day people are going to figure out you’re a fraud, that the majority of the images you take are garbage and sometimes you feel more lucky than talented.

If you are anything like me, you struggle with the gap between your creation and your vision — between the work you do produce and the work you want to produce. In my career there have been times when I wanted to (and at least one time where I actually did) put down the camera and stop creating because I couldn’t stand the images I captured. During those times, everything I made repulsed me. My photographs were cliche, shallow, and uninspired. I felt like a climber who has given his best and just wants to lay down in the snow to rest a while. But just like that climber, giving up would be dangerous. If you want to get better, you have to keep pushing forward. It’s true in life and it’s true in art.

The video in the top of this post is a great reminder that pushing forward and creating new work is the best way to improve your craft. It’s from a longer series of talks by Ira Glass about storytelling which I highly recommend to anyone who does creative work, even if journalism or radio isn’t your thing. There’s some deep stuff in there and great reminders about the work that goes into making something meaningful.

Survivors of a sunken landing craft are helped ashore on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion. Photo via U.S. Military, Public Domain

Stories More Powerful than Morphine

Posted by on April 21st, 2012

Survivors of a sunken landing craft are helped ashore on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion. (Photo via U.S. Military, Public Domain)

Before my wife and I left on this trip, we downloaded a ton of Radiolab episodes to my laptop and our iPods. If you’re not familiar with Radiolab, I’d encourage you to check them out. As far as I’m concerned the people behind the show are some of our best modern storytellers. In the few months that I’ve listened to them, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about what makes a good story, both on the radio and in general.

I recently stumbled upon an episode from way back in 2007 about the placebo effect. The episode is about an hour-long and you can listen to it here. But what I want to talk about is a particular segment that begins 13 minutes into the program, it’s a story about stories and how they can actually change the way we feel, even take away pain.

This segment highlights the work of Dr. Henry Beecher who discovered something amazing in the middle of battle during World War II. Cut off from resupply, without enough morphine to treat all the wounded soldiers, Beecher found that many of them didn’t actually need the drug. Men with serious wounds seemed to have a higher pain tolerance in the heat of battle than those with similar injuries back in the States.

It’s worth your time to listen to the segment and their explanation of the hows and whys, but the gist of it is this: wounded soldiers had higher pain tolerances because they were telling themselves a better story. They were alive, their wounds were for a cause, they might get sent home and even awarded a medal. Provided they survived there was a good chance that these soldiers’ lives were going to get better.

The effect of this story was so profound it did more than give them a positive outlook, it actually changed the way they felt, sometimes it even took away the pain from horrible injuries.

Now you might think this has more to do with medical science than it does with the art of storytelling, but I think it illustrates something incredibly important about stories. Stories are hardwired into us. From the time we can comprehend language (and possibly before) we are fascinated by stories. There is a deep power in narrative that has the ability to change us in both mind and body.

Reminders like this, about how important stories are to us as humans, motivate me to make sure the stories I’m telling are good ones.

Seeds of Hope Video

Posted by on July 4th, 2011

Seeds of Hope has an amazing mission and sees results that are truly astounding, sometimes their community-level efforts surpass even those of major well-established NGOs. This video took almost two months of work to complete. I was responsible for everything from narration and editing to animation and securing soundtrack rights.

Seeds of Hope International Partnerships Info Video from Seeds of Hope on Vimeo.

To find out more about Seeds of Hope visit their website at www.sohip.org