Observing and participating

After attending the MediaStorm Methodology workshop in Brooklyn, NY I came home extremely inspired. I had seen many stories while there. I had also watched as those beautifully crafted stories were deconstructed; the hood lifted on the MediaStorm engine. The way chose, tell and consume stories will be forever changed. My brain, swirling in a perfect storm of inspiration, bounced from idea to idea. I considered how I could revisit previous projects and make them stronger. I also thought of concepts for future stories. As the storm calmed my mind rested on a story that involved two people. An Academy of Art University documentary photography student and his brother who has Cerebral Palsy.

Dino has been working on telling the story of his brother, his family and how they all live with this debilitating disease on a daily basis. I met Dino and his brother the day he walked into my office asking me questions about my friend Garret who has EB. Garret was the subject of my thesis work while I was working on my MFA. Dino felt his story was very similar to mine that I could help him by answering questions relating to his brother’s story. I was fascinated by the Dino’s drive to tell his family’s story. It is a difficult task to for us as storytellers to work from an outsiders perspective, yet remain intimately connected with your family. One of the biggest challenges we face is how to include ourselves in our frames without feeling like we’re posing or setting something up, setting the timer and running into the frame.

Upon returning home from New York, I new I had to tell Dino and Aldo’s story. There were two thoughts in my head for wanting to tell their story. I’ll explain each.

1. I wanted to give Dino the opportunity to be an active participator in his own story, not just an observer.When I discussed the idea with Dino he voiced how he really liked the idea of being photographed with his brother. He explained that in the past while working his brother would often ask him to put the camera down so they could enjoy the moment together. This would lead to much frustration. A frustration that I could easily relate to from working on family related stories of my own. My goal was to show how these two brothers interact with one another but also focus on how one brother struggles with the question of him, not me? A question that Dino admits to entertaining on occasion?

2. Raise awareness for another misunderstood disease, Cerebral Palsy (CP), a disease that effects 1 to 4 children out of every 1000 born. CP effects children in the early stages of life ranging from from very mild effects to extreme.
Dino, Aldo and their family agreed to let me work with them to tell the brother’s story. To break the ice I went to a basketball game with Dino, his girl friend, Jessie and Aldo, Warriors vs 76ers . Rather than bring my big camera I brought a small Nikon P310. I didn’t want to be obtrusive. I really wanted to take the opportunity to warm up to Aldo. When I met them at the BART station I was met by a very bright smiling Aldo. I could already tell this guy was going to be a character, beyond what Dino had already warned me of. We bought tickets, got situated and enjoyed the game. I fired off a few images during the game, posted here in the blog. I was truly amazed by the bond that these two brothers share. I am really looking forward to working with these to guys and their family. I will be shooting still, and will also be shooting video to complete the story.


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