Sunday Focus: Una Pura Verdad – A Simple Truth
We are all inundated with images so much now. From billboards to magazines to newspapers to the ever present electronic devices. We see so much it’s hard to process it all.
For me, it’s even greater. I’m continually searching out photographers and image makers – their books and websites – because I feel that I’m learning all the time from others. When I wrote for a living, I read a lot. I felt that reading made me a better writer. I still believe that.
Since my passion for photography has taken hold, it’s become clear to me that only be shoot – a lot – do you get better in the this craft. Not spray-and-pray type shooting, but you still have to raise that machine to your eye to get to the point you want to be at. And, just as I read a lot to be a better writer, I do view a lot of photographs as I believe that will help me get better at this craft too.
But because we see so much, there’s a continual wash over us. White noise almost. What do we remember? What stands out? Who stands out?
I’ll tell who stands out for me: Daniel Milnor.
I don’t know Dan, never met him (though, nearly two years ago now, via email I asked him for an interview for this blog and he graciously accepted. Read it here.)
Dan is a very intelligent gent. His photography, like the photo books he puts together, are well-thoughtout and almost calculated (though he does calculations like Einstein.) If they ever make a movie about Dan, I think they’ll pull in Rob Lowe to play him (to me, there’s a resemblance – somewhere between the Saint Elmo’s Fire and West Wing character time periods.)
I like how he sees the world, how he frames his shots, how he tells stories. You can tell he has a background in journalism.
Another photographer who I’ve just found recently, maybe in the last year or so, and also stands out is Flemming Bo Jensen. I think I found Flemming online, through mutal photographic acquaitances at Rear Curtain – Ray, Sabrina, Matthew and Stuart. (I’ll tell you, if it weren’t for Al Gore’s Internet, my photographic education would be so much more far behind)
Flemming Bo is another visual storyteller I greatly admire. He too knows how to tell story with his camera, and he tells stories very, very well.
He lives, in his own words, as a nomad, traveling the world taking photos and telling stories. He’s a Star Wars freak, too, though I think by his word and actions, he’s more like Cain with a camera. OK, maybe a Jedi Cain.
The two have come together to produce Una Para Verda – A Simple Truth, a short documentary about Daniel’s photo project centering New Mexico and the people who live there, directed and shot by Flemming Bo.
Have a watch:
I came across this film on Flemming’s blog a couple of weeks ago. First, I enjoyed the subject matter. As I said, I’m a big fan of Dan’s work, and knew of this project. But to see it in moving pictures, with his narration, images of him at work really helped pull it together for me.
Daniel’s New Mexico Project is a multi-year project. He knows when it started, but isn’t sure if it will ever be completed. Still, his goals are defined: From his The New Mexico Project website:
“I guess you could call this an old school way of working. People still do it, luckily, but the numbers seem to be shrinking. I have the luxury of not being in a hurry, nor do I have a commercial goal in mind. I’m not interested in publications or gallery shows. What I am interested in is getting this work archived in one of the New Mexico museums. I’m not concerned with whether or not they choose to exhibit this work, if and when it’s completed, but I just want to know this work has a home.”
I also enjoyed was what Flemming did here. He’s a super creative guy. I’ve seen his photos, a photo book – Diario del Peru – he put together is a work of art.
But to invest the time and engery into this type project shows me a few things: He too loves the work Dan does. He understands the committment Dan has to this project and wanted to portray this.
It also showed me that Flemming knows how to tell a story in a variety of medium: Still. Video. Narration. A true piece of multimedia. I first noticed this with his short piece, Where Cover Is.
Both of these visual storytellers are doing the work, putting the time in, creating. That’s what compelling and motivating to me. Watching what they produce makes me want to get better in my photography.
This documentary is special. I hope Flemming Bo and Daniel consider submitting Una Pura Verdad to photo festivals and such. I expect it would do quite well.
I also look foward to seeing more work by Flemming Bo Jensen and Daniel Milnor. Who knows, maybe another collaboration as well.
Read more, on Flemming Bo’s blog: The Making of Una Pura Verda.
Read more, on Daniel’s Blog: Una Pura Verda
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