Continuing my series of video clips. Here a short, still rather experimental one I shot in Bangkok two years ago on the iPhone and edited on the go with the iMovie app. I did two other such clips but that’ll be it – it’s too cumbersome and the results are… oh well, not phenomenal. Still, I like that I was able to use the footage I took in the Muay Thai training camp.
Last October, I was lucky enough to visit Uzbekistan again. This was my fourth time to the country. During these stays, which were always in the context of one or another contract for the OSCE, I was able to see a good deal more there than the average visitor. Sure, Samarkand and Bukhara were also on my route, even several times. But I also made it to Khiva, which is a bit more off the beaten track, and to the shores of what-was-once-the Aral Sea.
Uzbekistan is an extremely picturesque place to visit. It is filled up to the brim with ancient history and amazing landscapes. It features deserts, mountains and ancient towns (several of which feel like open-air museums). It is so attractive to the casual visitor that it is very hard to see beyond the easy beauty and spot a bit of real life.
During my latest visit, I was determined to peel off this superficial layer, at least photographically. As much as possible, I tried to stay clear of the tourist locations and concentrate on the people I would encounter. I ventured out into the darker alleys and entered small shops, internet cafés and backyards. Even though the result is still meagre in comparison to what dedicated documentary photographers can portray, I feel I was able to catch a glimpse of real Uzbek lives. This was worth the effort.
Am finally getting round to editing the footage I took over the years. The process of putting together a more or less meaningful video is considerably more involved than editing a set of photographs, but in many ways it is the same experience, plus audio. The question I regularly face is: where to start? How to connect the pictures to create a coherent piece that isn’t contrived and perhaps even conveys a certain emotional quality. As with everything, one gets better at it the more one does it, but the beginning is like staring at a blank piece of paper, not sure about the first word.
One clip I wanted to put together for a long time is a short portrait of the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. During the two weeks I spent there – in spring 2012 – I used to walk the city regularly and photograph and film everything that went on around me. I had no particular plan what I wanted to convey with the pictures, or how I wanted them to be assembled. Only in the editing suite was I able to finally establish some sense of order.