November 21, 2013

November 21: The Day Before

Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination,
a day when the world as we knew it irrevocably changed...

Talking Eyes Media presents our experimental short TOMORROW: The upturn still will be sizable (but not as exuberant as otherwise).  Our video -- which riffs on the snappy tone of advertising from the era -- draws from archival imagery and audio to explore the incongruity between the popular notion of Camelot and the crises that were brewing the day before Kennedy was assassinated.

This piece was commissioned by the Hermitage Artist Retreat and was created in collaboration with composer Daniel Levy.  It premiered at Symphony Space in New York as part of a group show titled The Day Before, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Kennedy's assassination.

Watch It Now:

November 14, 2013

Do We Value Documentary Work?

As documentarians, we are constantly grappling with our own identity. Are we journalists? Are we artists? Are we just fatally earnest people, so consumed with capturing our subjects’ stories that we confuse merit for worth? Wherever we fall in the universe of visual media, we increasingly feel undervalued and under siege.

(top: Francis Bacon; bottom: Ed Kashi)

As the art world celebrates the highest sale ever for a painting (Francis Bacon’s study of Lucien Freud sold for $142 million this week), every photojournalist I know has the sinking feeling that he/she won’t be able to survive in this profession. Day rates plateaued years ago, and image resale rates are so low that they occupy a level near plastic jewelry from a vending machine. It seems the value of photography has eroded with every instagram image and snapchat, making a profession that requires tremendous skill, maturity and courage seem as simple as point and shoot.

On that note, I want to share an eloquent quote from Klaus Honnef, head of the jury for UNICEF’s Picture of the Year. He reminds us of the integrity and worth of documentary work. This passage should be circulated as a mantra for dedicated documentarians who take great pains so the rest of us can witness the human condition.
While art photography seems to become ever more boring, oscillating somewhere between worthless securities and wall decoration, another genre often declared dead is at least aesthetically on the rise: reportage photography. Nowadays, the best photojournalists no longer content themselves with only describing what they see but often manage to condense the facts and analyze the situation. They use the extraordinary to identify the underlying general conditions. The documentary becomes a photographic essay. I rarely saw so many compelling photo sequences as during this year’s jury session for UNICEF’s photo of the year 2013. A dozen of them would deserve to win the award and they are all more sophisticated, visually more original, thematically more illustrative and also more moving and reflecting than most of the art photography on display at galleries and museums today.

November 11, 2013

Meet the 2013 Purpose Prize Winners

Since 2009, Talking Eyes Media has had the honor of filming/photographing's Purpose Prize, and we are excited to once again introduce you to its newest winners....

Meet the 2013 Purpose Prize winners! These seven individuals may all have different stories and causes but they all hold one thing in common: each is using his/her second act for the greater good and changing the world.

Although the winners' videos will not be released until's Purpose Prize Gala on December 5, you can learn about the winners by clicking on the links below. Get ready to be inspired!

This year's winners:

Ysabel Duron, 66, taps into her own experience as a cancer survivor to shine a spotlight on cancer for Latino communities across the United States. ($100,000)

Vicki Thomas, 67, rallies communities around wounded soldiers, providing them with adapted foreclosed homes that improve quality of life for veterans and whole communities alike. ($100,000)

Carol Fennelly, 64, runs a unique summer camp behind bars that is transforming federal prisoners into involved parents. ($25,000)

Elizabeth Huttinger, 63, is on a path to eradicate human schistosomiasis, a disease infecting millions of the world's poorest. ($25,000)

Reverend Violet Little, 61, is redefining the concept of "church" as she pastors Philadelphia's homeless in a church without walls. ($25,000)

Edwin P. Nicholson, 71, mentors disabled veterans, healing emotional wounds through the power of relationships and the great outdoors. ($25,000)

Barbara Young, 66, went from immigrant nanny to passionate advocate, giving her a powerful voice in the fight for domestic workers' rights across the United States. ($25,000)

"The Purpose Prize, now in its eighth year, is the nation's only large-scale investment in people over 60 who are combining their passion and experience for social good. The Prize awards $100,000 to at least one individual in his or her encore career creating new ways to solve tough social problems."  

To learn more about the Purpose Prize: