Friday, September 4, 2009

I got back from a long trip to Portugal and Spain a few weeks ago, and I've been slowly re-integrating myself back into the whirlwind of wired life- no easy task coming from a part of the world where appointments and police are scarce phenomena.

2,198 digital pictures later, I have been wrestling with the impossibility of displaying my Iberian experience to friends and family. As a documentary film editor, I have experience telling visual stories and I am familiar with the concepts of story structure and the editorial processes. But for some reason, this time, it’s just so hard to convey to anyone the magnitude of the Alcobaça monastery, the manueline windows of Tomoar's Convento de Cristo, or the the euphoria of leaving the discoteca at 6am to watch the sun rise on the beach.

I uploaded the images to Picasa, but no one wants to listen to my awkward narration for 2 hours while I click through 400 pictures in a web browser. The aura of physical prints feels slightly more real, but flat images and all the adjectives in my head cannot convey how I felt when my eyes wove over Gaudí’s Sagrada Família- the organic curves, the deep physical and conceptual detail, the; there was something unexplainable or pre-lingual or, in a way, spiritual about standing underneath that anthropomorphic structure that simply cannot be accessed from a picture series.

The digital tools that we now have at our fingertips let us do amazing things. They are transforming how we experience our adventures, and how we remember them after they are over. (Imagine taking two thousand photos in the film era? It would have been impossible.) And yet I still think we are in a weird intermediate period where we’re not sure how to use them, and we cannot easily conceptualize their implications. (Tagging, arranging, uploading, sharing, 2,198 digital pictures is quite a time-consuming project).

With digital production methods, we are reaching a point where the magnitude of what we do can sometimes overpower the meaning of what we do. Yet if we can practice using our digital resources to dive deeper into contemporary life along with- or perhaps instead of- trying to represent more of it, the intrinsic worth of our content will flourish into something worth consuming.

From Portugal- Fatima, Tras-Os-Montes, and Braga

From Portugal- Estremadura & Ribatejo

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