How do we use visual ethnography to represent places? Landscape images alone often render a place somewhat opaque – capturing a static moment, leaving out the dynamism of country, weather, sensory experience, encounters, people and their lived stories. For me some of the most successful uses of the visual in telling stories of place rely on layering, building up pictures over time or from different points of view.
Following on from the National Film Board of Canada’s desire to continue participatory film making into the digital age they have produced an ambitious participatory digital ethnography project called High Rise.
NFB calls High Rise a 360 degree documentary – by which they mean it is an interactive documentary – a field growing in popularity as the wonders of web design improve day by day. High Rise profiles high rise living in a number of places around the world using photography, edited extracts from interviews and oral histories and a very cool panorama web design that allows you to virtually look around the spaces in which the stories take place and dive into different elements of the stories with audio, visual and text based stories on tap.
click here to see a trailer on the project or just go to the High Rise site and explore.
(Check out previous posts on interesting work from the Canadian National Film Board here)