I’ve been thinking a lot in the last months about video – as an art form, and as a potential for storytelling.
I’ve never been that interested in video before, really. I’m not sure why exactly. I certainly consume video as much as the average person, I guess.
Maybe a little less – as it’s been a long time since I’ve watched much in the way of, say, television shows. But I do watch movies (though I’ve never been a movie buff particularly), and occasionally some t.v., or music videos/performances. I watch the random news-ish thing – though I usually prefer to read news. I’ll also watch clips of things that I run across via Twitter (like this very funny Jimmy Fallon segment that I came across right before I started writing this!) But I just historically have never really been that interested in video – not as an art form, not as a communication medium.
It’s not that I’m disinterested in it or shy away from it exactly. It’s more that video just never seems to be my first choice for anything – not for entertainment, not for communication. When I want to veg out, say, I’m much more inclined to grab a book or listen to music than I am to watch t.v. or a movie. Not that I never veg out in front of a t.v. show; it’s just not typically my first choice. Similarly, when I want information, I tend to be too impatient to wait for it to be told to me by someone speaking. I’d rather just read it. So, not that I never watch a news segment – but I’m vastly more likely to skip the video portion and just read the text. (And I almost never watch CNN or anything like that, where there’s no “read” option.)
I’ve just never quite managed to feel drawn to video/film/etc as a medium. I use it when it’s convenient…that’s it.
The reason I’m writing this post (and inaugurating a new post series) is because that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore – and I’ve been trying to figure out how that came about. I want to think about it a little bit (and one of the ways I think best is through blogging!)
I do think it’s directly an offshoot of my interest in photography – an interest which really gripped me about a year-and-a-half ago now. I think that makes sense. I didn’t expect it and I wasn’t consciously thinking about it (until now!), but I think it probably stands to reason: because both mediums (video and still photography) employ a lot of the same elements. I’m not sure you can have an awareness (the kind of deep awareness I have now of photography) of one without the other.
For example: I find that it’s impossible for me to watch video anymore, any kind of video, without being conscious of, say, the photographic angles that are being employed, or the way light and color is being utilized. The fact that it was a conscious, artistic choice of someone to capture that particular scene in that particular manner, to use light and color and texture and things of that nature to produce a particular visual quality and feel – I can’t not notice that now (and think critically about how they did it, too.)
So, I don’t just mindlessly consume video anymore – at least, not completely. I analyze…I think…I feel. And I can’t seem to help it! It’s just the way I relate to that medium now. I’m too curious now, I guess, not to observe and think on the deeper levels – and I guess I just wasn’t ever curious enough before. It’s like now that photography has opened that door…it’s open! And it’s not closing again!
I guess the parallel would be the novelist who is taking a day off from writing and goes out somewhere where they hear snippets of strangers’ conversations – and finds themselves writing a story in their head as a result. The tendency to think in terms of fictional stories isn’t, I think, something that only comes when you sit down to a computer or typewriter. It doesn’t turn on and off like that.
And I think photography is the same. I think I’ve been immersing in it – allowing myself to – for long enough now that it’s changed the way I interact with the world around me.
Actually, maybe it’s not accurate to say it changed it. More, it’s that I think I’ve always seen the world differently than a lot of people. I’ve seen and been affected by color and texture and light and so on in ways most people are not. That’s what drew me to Art History when I was in college. That’s what made it possible for photography to grab me like a magnet as soon as I gave it half a chance to do so and wrap itself around me the way it has.
And now that I’ve embraced photography, and allowed it to become such a large part of my world, that side of me that has always been there has grown and expanded – to the point that it feeds itself now!!
I say that because I’m not consciously framing shots and so on when I don’t have my camera in hand (though sometimes I am). But I’m definitely absorbing visuals in a completely different way these days – and it’s all the time. It’s just naturally the way I look at things now. I feel visual elements more than I ever did before (and that’s saying a lot). And I also simultaneously look at them more critically than I ever did, even when I was studying such things in school. I’m analyzing and admiring and critiquing and questioning. All the time.
So, here’s why I’m thinking about a whole post series (a related group of blog posts on this) :
As I said above, I’ve been feeling this new interest in video coming on for a while – and, with that, I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to talk here about some of the particular videos (or movies or t.v. shows) that have particularly struck me.
I thought at first that I would talk just kind of generally about them; I thought I’d just make one video-related post and leave it at that. But a monkey wrench to that plan has emerged.
What’s happened is that I’ve encountered a handful of videos, just in the last two weeks or so, that, for one reason or another, have all really affected me. Affected me to the point that I’ve found myself watching each of them more than once (and in the case of one, like a dozen times!), and they linger in me in between watches. I think about them in odd moments. They’re hanging around inside of my psyche.
So I find that I have a little more to say than I’d expected – about each of these, certainly (because I like to dig in to things that hit me like that). But then there are also the other videos that I had originally wanted to talk about in a video-related post. So basically, I’m realizing that there’s way too much I want to say now to cram into one post!
There’s the additional issue too that each of the videos I want to talk about is just so completely different from the others – if not in form, then in content…and if not in content, then in artistry. It’s hard to lump them all together without being too broad or too general. And what’s the point of being over-broad or over-generalized? It’s much more interesting (and fun!) to have room to muse and ponder…to think out loud, essentially.
So, in the interest of giving myself that room, I’ve decided to make a post series about this whole video topic. So this post you’re reading right now is the first in that!
Unlike other post-series I’ve done in the past (like this one and this one,) I’m not going to confine myself with this to doing these video posts one after another with nothing different, topic-wise, in between. I’m going to be a little more fluid about it and just add posts to the series as I feel moved to finish each one. But I will link them all to each other by their titles – and (more importantly) I’ll tag them all “Video Thoughts” – so if anybody lands on one and finds it interesting, they can click on the tag and get all of them together in a group for an easy read-through.
Okay, end of introduction!
I’ll publish the post about the first video I want to talk about shortly.