Friday, February 22, 2013

Telling stories with Bob Sacha

Bob Sacha is in love with telling stories, and he does it very well.

How he tells these stories will no doubt change in the future, so I called him the other day to get his take on where the photo industry is heading. "How we're wired may change but people still want to hear stories," Sacha said, and he has the stories to prove it. You can find his video stories here.

One of the interesting things about Sacha, and the reason I called him, is that he started shooting still images years ago and has developed into an award winning multimedia producer, who has been nominated for two Emmy Awards. 

Sacha worked for years as a contract photographer for National Geographic, Life, and Fortune Magazine, his work moved away from the magazines into "new media" and new ways to tell stories. He's still shooting with a Digital SLR only now it's moving images... and great sound. One thing that Sacha preaches is how great audio helps create great video.

Sacha says, "the web is so suited to video. Now we can show the characters, hear the sounds and tell the story in a film that's two or three minutes long, and showing video on mobile devices will continue to grow into the next big thing."

"I love still photography and always will, but I'd be starving if that's what I was still doing. I know photographers with more talent than I ever had who aren't working much anymore because they stayed in still images," Sacha said. "There's more life in video than in still photography, more future."

The type of stories Sacha likes to work on cover some of the universal issues; heart, health, and wealth are the big three. He works for NGO's, international health care providers, and tells stories for some commercial clients as well.

He says, "my video work is similar to the work I did in stills, the story I'm telling has to be compelling and tell me something about the people."

You might also want to check out the story, "50 milligrams", because Sacha considers it his best. "50 milligrams", is one of my best stories because one of the proudest moments of my life was when I found out that the Ukraine changed its policy on pain medication for dying people. This campaign has a small part in that. The lion's share of the credit goes to the folks at OSI. But to understand that a film I created with Scott Anger had a part in changing health care policy and making sure that people don't needlessly suffer, well, that's pretty much all that I've ever dreamed my work could do."

What will the up-coming years bring? No one knows for sure, but Bob Sacha is counting on great video and strong story telling to be as big in the future as they are now. Maybe the future is here already and Sacha's move into multimedia is something more photographers should pay attention to.

If you want to join Sacha in a workshop this summer, he's teaching the Multimedia Master Class at the Maine Media Workshops, starting July 7th.

You can see some of his great still work for National Geographic in this short video.

-Rob Skeoch

Although I've worked as a photographer all my life, I'm currently back at school trying to finish my Masters of Fine Arts Degree at the Maine Media Workshops.

Jan Rosenbaum is one of my mentors this semester and the project I'm working on is a paper on social media and future revenue streams for photography.

My retail store for rangefinder gear and Zeiss lenses is

My retail store for large format photo supplies is

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