I've never done anything like this piece before. It's quiet, it's simple, it's intimate.
I have learned a great deal through working on this piece, and though it has some shortcomings, I think it tells a meaningful story. This is definitely something I hope to continue working on, in a more limited sense, because I feel like I've really only scratched the surface of larger issues - life after tragedy and how one person's choices has lasting affects.
In terms of photographing, I had an easy time with access into Heather and Jack's life. Heather has made the choice to be very open with her life and what happened. I had a much more difficult time figuring out how to photograph in a way that visually shows something that is missing. Two different types of images do this: 1 - the images of Heather showing things that tell the story, 2 - the images that visually have space that is empty. While I depend on the first type to move the story along, I think the second type of images are more meaningful and communicate the feeling that this piece needs.
In working on this project, I set out to do a multimedia piece. As I shot, I began to think that this story might better be told through a written story. So much needed to be communicated and some of the most important images needed background context to tell why they were so important. After two video interviews with Heather, I decided to make the final choice by seeing if I could edit together an interview that told what needed to be told.
I started writing but, in the end, I chose to have Heather tell her story instead of me. This was perhaps the most difficult multimedia piece I've ever made. First off, it is a dangerous thing for me to have an hour and a half of interview to work with. I had to loose huge chunks of story and skim over other parts to get this down to a workable size. I also let go of some images that I felt were strong and visually telling but did not work into the multimedia piece.
The piece is quiet and simple. I had natural sounds/video of interaction with Jack and story times, but it felt forced to me to work them into the direction of this piece. So in the end there is very little beyond Heather telling her story. The piece feels a bit static without any external sounds/video, but I felt like what Heather was sharing is captivating and holds attention by itself and the last thing I wanted to do was take away from that. I also tried a few simple pieces of music, but again I felt the need to keep this as simple as I could.
This piece tells their story and I hope it communicates to a larger audience. I hope to continue working with Heather and Jack and make a second part to this one that really focuses on their ongoing life. An additional part would be able to incorporate a lot more video and be a more engaging piece, but I felt like I needed this one to be simple an telling, which I believe it it does.