That “need” if you will or maybe “lack” is one of the myriad reasons I entered the Certificate program at the Center for Documentary Studies(CDS) at Duke University. This is an amazing facility that focuses on teaching people to make documentaries—they can be audio, video or still photography. Or combinations of all of the above. And it’s not journalists or people with a background in video; its regular people who have a story to tell, or a desire to tell stories, and want to tell them.
To finish up the certificate, I had to complete two classes this semester. One is the Final Project Seminar where we all bring in our nearly finished final projects and work together, critique and support each other and put together final versions of our projects for presentation at the graduation. The other class was the past weekend: a four day intensive Advanced Photography Workshop.
In both of these classes the instructors are/were tremendous; tops in their fields and professions. But I have been even more impressed by the quality of the other students in the program. It’s really exciting to sit and talk about photographic techniques, of course. But even more interesting and rewarding to talk about the why stuff. Why did you choose this angle? Why did you show this subject this way? Why did you choose to tell this story? As things are coming to an end in this program for me (although something tells me I will continue to be involved with the center), I realize that connection to my peers is the most important thing. I guess you could say it is one of the purposes for the adventure.
I enjoy telling stories with words, photographs and videos. Sometimes I have the happy opportunity to combine my day job with my hobby and other times the two are totally unrelated. But that need to connect with others while making a story, and to connect with others after the field work is done and seeking their help to refine it, is just as important.
If you’re in the Durham area on Friday evening, May 20th, 2011, plan to attend the Center for Documentary Studies Graduation andPresentations at the Nasher Museum. Reception begins at 6 pm and the presentations begin at 7 pm.
I am sure one or two of them will open your eyes. And maybe inspire you to start a conversation with a peer….