Native American Storyteller
Some Native American cultures saved storytelling for the winter months when people had time to gather together, repeat myths, share histories and create a common cultural bond. It was an event; something to look forward to. In my town, the only thing that comes close is when children gather for Story Hour at the public library or when Irish storyteller, Liz Weir, makes her annual appearance in Boulder.
Aditi Worcester, a video biographer, makes a similar observation about photographs in her blog http://savetheirstory.blogspot.com.
“My favorite picture is of my mother in Kashmir. It’s black and white… though everything looks rather white because of the snow. She’s wearing an oversized, black trenchcoat sort of thing… and smiling, well, half-smiling into the camera. Or rather at my father, who was taking the picture. It had been so cold that day that the guide who was taking my parents on a tour of the city offered his jacket to my mother to keep her warm. This demonstrated two things to me.
A). Locals don’t feel cold. And
B). Chivalry wasn’t dead 25 years ago.
But it’s my favorite picture. Whether it’s because of the story behind it, or because it was taken in a place I haven’t been to, or because it was a snapshot of my parents, young and in love… I don’t know.
My parents tell me that when they were growing up, taking pictures was an event. One you made appointments for, dressed up, and posed for, with your eyes deliberately looking elsewhere… for the effect of seriousness perhaps? Or gravity?”
Do we take too many photos today? I took seven hundred photos on a recent week vacation. These days, that’s not hard to do. The problem is editing them into something meaningful. That’s also the problem with video. My phone will capture the action, but, with rare exceptions, that’s not enough. The action needs to be shaped into something worthwhile–the work Aditi Worcester has taken on with her video biography project.
Stories need a storyteller.
And when we meet a master, we pause, we listen, we make it an event. Try Scott Hicks understated documentary, Glass: A Portrait in Twelve Parts