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Portrait: A Documentary by Andy Newman

We Are Juxt Rewind: This Article was originally posted on October 31, 2012

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Portrait: A Documentary by Andy Newman


Introduction by Nicholas

As the Spring of 2012 began to manifest itself and a spirited sense of renewal spread through central Ohio, the progressive trend for people to connect and share their creative content, projects, and ideas throughout the community by way of innovative, new media platforms had reached a significant level. While I was personally becoming engrained in the mobile photography phenomena and preparing to take part in the first InstaColumbusGallery event, I stumbled upon a post in my Twitter account that grabbed my attention. Andy Newman (Twitter/IG: @andynewman), a Columbus-based filmmaker, freelance videographer, and blogger, was utilizing Kickstarter as a means to finance his documentary film and wanted every backer “to have a chance to be a part of it”. Andy’s presentation was impressive, and I was intrigued by the film’s concept to explore the question, “In the age of Instagram, what sets a professional photographer apart?” Within days of making a donation, I recognized other people in the Columbus community, including a co-worker of mine, who also had taken part in financing the project.

By the end of May, Andy reached his financial goal and (along with his contributors) set out to capture, produce, edit, and score the film in less than six months. It was during this time that I began to formulate questions for Andy regarding his experience, inspiration, and insight into the film and well as the dynamic world of photography.

Portrait: A Documentary by Andy Newman premiered on October 30, 2012.

N: Nicholas  A:  Andy

N: Can you please explain what inspired you to film a documentary that explores the question, “In the age of Instagram, what sets a professional photographer apart?”

A:  I put together a piece last year on Columbus photographer Nick Fancher about his day-to-day work. It really resonated with people. Everyone loved seeing what a successful photographer’s daily routine was like, and I wanted to expand on that idea.

I’ve always wanted to direct a documentary, and this was the perfect opportunity. Kickstarter made perfect sense, as I could connect with others interested in seeing more of this type of work. I couldn’t have made this without the team of backers that supported me.

Eventually, I ended up on the idea of following two photographers, but who had very different perspectives. They both lived in Seattle, but that’s where the similarities ended. Andria Lindquist is a professional photographer of over two years. She travels all over the world for photo shoots and is a highly regarded wedding photographer. On the other hand, Cory Staudacher, who goes by @withhearts on Instagram, has never touched a DSLR in his life. He posts on Instagram for fun and has amassed over 172,000 followers.

With Portrait, we don’t follow a particular story line, we just jump right in and let you get to know them. My goal was to show how they work and explore their ideas of photography. I just wanted to learn about who they are and some of the lessons they’ve learned, not trying to compare them or their choice of photographic expression.

I also wanted to show off Seattle. I had never been, and one of my favorite things about film is how it can put you in a place and time. If someone else watching this hasn’t been to Seattle, I hope they can feel like they’ve been there after watching Portrait. It’s an amazing city and I can’t wait to return.

 

Cinematographers Andy Newman and Zach Frankart

Andy Newman and Zach Frankart. Photo by Cory Staudacher (IG: @withhearts)

Portrait Team

Portrait Contributors. Photo by Andy Newman (IG: @andynewman)

 

N: From the film’s conception to its release, mobile photography and the Instagram platform have exploded in popularity. How did the rapid evolution of both the medium and the photo sharing service impact the film’s production? In your opinion, is mobile photography too closely identified with Instagram, and what does the future hold for both?

A:  The rise in popularity of Instagram was definitely a blessing. It was actually during fundraising of our initial campaign when Instagram sold to Facebook for $1 billion. I’ve been a big fan of Instagram for a long time, and when I learned about Cory and Andria’s connections it only made sense.

Since we were such a small operation (production involved only myself and Zach Frankart), Instagram was the perfect way to document our trip and provide a behind the scenes look.

Instagram is the perfect leader for mobile photography. Even if there are other ways people choose to capture and share their photos, Instagram remains a pure social network. It’s not about advertising or revenue. Its sole purpose is to connect people that like to share photographs. The fact that the iPhone is the most popular camera on flickr is a sign that this is only the beginning. DSLRs will always remain for the professional, but phones have otherwise taken over photography. Instagram’s existence is critical to that success.

 

American Flag

Photo by Andy Newman (IG: @andynewman)

Portrait On location

Photo by Andy Newman (IG: @andynewman)

 

N: Can you explain the strategy behind financing the project, the pros and cons of crowd sourcing, and how it impacted the outcome?

A: Kickstarter makes so much sense for independent artists, but it isn’t easy. There’s no way this film would have happened without Kickstarter.

In the simplest terms, it allows artists to connect directly with people interested in supporting them and their work. I’m not going to get an individual to fund this kind of project. But a bunch of $5 donations from people who want to see this film is how it can happen. And that’s important, because people do want to see this. Those who aren’t aware of it will be glad that it exists once they see it. All thanks to the support of a group of people that wanted to see this through.

But it’s a tremendous responsibility. People are now watching and supporting you with real money. For some, that pressure puts them at their best. For others, it could be a recipe for disaster.

The money we raised just barely covered plane tickets and hotel, meaning I had cover the remaining expenses and everyone connected with the project has donated their time to make it happen. I’m not sure you can ever be totally prepared for the total cost of expenses for a project like this. But you have to deliver (including backer rewards!). I would certainly use Kickstarter again in the future.

 

editing screen shot

 

N: Factoring what you have learned from project, would you write, produce, and deploy a film in the future?

A: Already in progress. :)

The music for the film has been the last big piece of the puzzle, so as I’ve waited for that over the last couple weeks, I’ve been hard at work writing an original story. I hope to produce a narrative film next year.

*****

Portrait: A Documentary by Andy Newman

Featuring Andria Lindquist and Cory Staudacher
Directed by Andy Newman
Cinematography by Andy Newman and Zach Frankart
Original music written and produced by Jonathan Haidle
portraitdocumentary.com

 

Portrait Poster

 

3 Comments

  1. Oh gosh… I love seeing my city represented so beautifully. Andy, you’ve made something wonderful! I hope I’ll get the opportunity to meet you at one of our Juxt Seattle events soon.

    Thank you for turning me on to this project, Nicholas! I really appreciate it.

    Cheers,
    - r

    • Thank you Rachel, I really appreciate the kind words. Glad you enjoy!

  2. This is absolutely amazing. I love to see/hear the people behind the photos and the process. Thanks for sharing!!!

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