One of my students is making a film about traditional Samoan tatau – tatoo. The man pictured is her central subject. She traveled to Samoa to document the process of the tatau.
I have been thinking about this film today and considering the multiple themes of this piece. PattyBoy was severely bullied at school. It is an insistent problem that rises up and creates havoc and constant anguish for so many. For some, bullying leads to extreme measure – for those on the receiving end. I too have experienced it during my school years and of course kept it secret. My wonderful mother noticed the changes in my behavior overtime and managed to get me talking about it. She, bless the woman took it in hand. She was supportive, continually spoke to the school and it was slowly dealt with. I was still aware of those girls whilst at school but her support gave me strength. I just wanted to be different from everybody else, I could not help myself. I dressed differently and immersed myself in creativity – that seemed to effect the bullies and they wanted to grind me into the ground. It was small town New Zealand – standing out was not always the best place to stand! So in describing this experience of over 30 years ago I feel great empathy for Patrick. We have been discussing this issue in our interviews and want to explore it further. He was also really supported by him Mum – what would be do without tor Mothers ?
Patrick felt isolated and his method of finding a community was to embrace the internet. He created an online community. He began vlogging in 2008 and slowly but surely built up a following. from here he made numerous friends – many of which moved from the online environment to the offline environment. Kiwi YouTubers and Twitter users would meet up at various venues and in other cities to meet There he found support and understanding and great friendship. For some it has been a lifeline – a way to find acceptance amongst peers and I want to look at this in the film. But the cruelty still exists. Online bullying and cruel criticism and threats of violence has been posted. This is frighteningly common. Another issue we want to look at. Patrick remains so positive and continues to create music, create accompanying videos and post vlogs. He responds to his critics in such a cheerful way. I am amazed and inspired by this!
We will be setting up a crowd fund over the next months and continuing to document our progress and post words, images and video. I am starting to review the footage we have shot thus far and begin transcribing the first interviews this week. There is a great deal to do – we are at the beginning . With more shooting, looking at hours of archive material, After Effects work and animation to get started – well it will take me a while. Ah so happy to do it….
Spread the word.
Earlier this year one of my students interviewed an internet performer – a young man who embraced the web as his tool for communication five years ago.He began by making video posts on YouTube. As he developed his ideas and his skills, he made a ten part parody of a soap opera – he played all four characters, wrote it, shot it and edited it. Called Oh The Drama - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBDdzKisCOM – it is witty and illustrates his innate ability to use image making as his creative form. With no formal training he began to make many videos and vlog posts and used YouTube as a place to express himself and talk to an audience. At this point he has had 5 million views. He joined Twitter very soon after it was established and has 10 thousand followers. His name is Patrick, but he posts and performs and is PattyBoy. After meeting him and seeing my student interview him for her assignment I realised what an incredible person he was and wrote a treatment to apply for funding. The treatment and the ideas has had positive responses – but my first attempt at funding has been declined. I have received funding before, I have been declined before. After being declined three times in a row over 8 years ago I gave up. Over those 8 years it has become easier to be independent in terms of the means of production. With Final Cut Pro on my computers and a dslr, access to some other cameras, mics and mixers, and the use of social media I have begun shooting this film and documenting the process via the web.
I have been trying some approaches that I had only dabbled in before. The first interview was shot in a studio and with the assistance my colleagues, an interrotron was set up. What is it? http://errolmorris.com/content/eyecontact/inter527.html Two cameras each with an autocue. It works by reflecting my face in the interviewees camera and the interviewee’s face reflected in mine. This enabled the interviewee – PattyBoy to look down the barrel of the lens. I am hoping this will create an intimacy with the audience and is also and become an approximation of PattyBoy’s use of the internet – he speaks directly to his audience.
I walked around the streets towards the end of the day. In a new place, I wanted to photograph everything, everything. So much to look at, sometimes it was better to put the camera down and just look. But not for long…. I looked through the viewfinder. Ah.
As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure.
Susan Sontag On Photography
green – how do you describe colour?
Green is a color, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 520–570 nanometres. In the subtractive color system, it is not a primary color, but is created out of a mixture of yellow and blue, or yellow and cyan; it is considered one of the additive primary colors.
Oh my. The digital slr is is need of a service, and sadly over the last few weeks I have been only able to take (mostly) images on my phone. And yet, this has been a charming and delightful experience. And there have been many times that I am pleased with the results, kinda reminds me of the old Instamatic days. I have been given a large box of film, so I am starting on a film journey, with my old faithful canon AE1 – it is many a year since we took photographs together….
I have been cruising my hard-drives. It is possible. At times like this, perusing old images, the expression memory lane comes to mind. These images, concrete now in my mind - and for me there are emotional responses to the pictures. How pictures can catalyse. Least said. Need to take some new shots…..
I was lucky enough to work on a documentary in a place of great beauty in Western Australia – the place Wittenoom, the filmmaker Caro MacDonald. Looking back at these images, I feel the sense of excitement I experienced the day we arrived. The landscape is extra-ordinary. It is a town of ghosts, closed due to asbestos, there were 8 residents whilst we were there in 2006. I wept when I left. http://wittenoom.net/