The Importance of Documenting
Documentary as a form is a powerful tool that we as humans, have been using for an extremely long time. I recently became passionately-obsessive with documenting moments that would serve others and by extension my self. Allow me to become self indulgent for a moment:- for the past few months my photography has moved away from planned captures to more of a impromptu reportage-stance. I take pictures because I want to remind my self what it felt like to see that moment, that frame, that smile, that argument, that light. In the hopes that I would be able to capture the essence and allow others to feel-see, albeit never 1 to 1.
As much as it may bring me fulfillment, my hope is that what I document is paid forward, for others to see and experience now and later. Not everything but the select few I choose to display. Which brings me to my next point, the quality of documentation. I have no set bar or standard to give you, nor do I have a rule book to have you reference. You should document to your highest standard. At the point at which you feel your findings are a suitable level for others to peruse, release them. Do not compare nor hesitate, just put forward your findings and rest is to the ether.
Above (and below) are previews from a journal which took place during the filming of Are We Dead Yet. At that time I was a camera trainee on the main camera department. I would spend my time hanging back on set during downtime (whenever I could really) and observe, wishing I had my camera on hand to capture what I would now call the Frames of Life. Luckily the DIT (Data Imaging Technician) Simon Van Parjis, had his FUJI Xt20 at hand and let me use it here and there during the shoot. For me, being able to capture each persona on set was new and breath taking, spending up to 3 weeks with most of them - seeing them when tired, hungry, happy, energetic, moody, calm, focused and ready to do what they love - was nothing short of pulling the heart strings in my eye.
The more the time spent with them, the more the natural their Frames of Life came to be. I would eventually learn to capture them in their "Habitual Frames" in hopes that I would be able to convey them, to others, onlookers. As the more time would progress I took less and less pictures, learning to filter out other frames but their habitual frame.
However that is my terminolgy and my approach to documenting, I would urge you to go out and try your own language an genreate an approach and in time you will further our ability as human beings to convey and communicate.
Lastly, documentation is as good as the horse it came riding in on. For a long time I have pushing my efforts to document across social media platforms such as Instagram, which would have me believe that I was achieving the goal of, documenting frames that I felt were worthy of public viewing for now and near future. However after a conversation with a Cinematographer by the name of Hunter Daly - On metrification of work posted online, among other things - the one thing that stuck out to me was the point on tangibility. I had never thought of making my documentation tangible, something to hold, a tactile representation of my thoughts and process.
I can proudly say that I'm an advocate for tangibility in the real world - this is not to say that social platforms are no good, it is just that I would now not put too much stock into using it as my sole device of documenting.
Even if one person were to see what I have offered unto the collective pot that is the ether, my mission would be accomplished. Go out there and document. Be it pictures, literature or music. Do so.