Jeff Zimmermann: a collaborative portrait

I recently worked again on a Flashback Color project with my brother Reid documenting Chicago muralist Jeff Zimmermann in conversation with the incomparable Faiz Razi over Jeff’s new piece in the Merchandise Mart.

With Faiz, we’re working on a doc series called TourismTV in which links to the videos are distributed via QR codes displayed around the city.  Keep an eye out for this one in the 1871 hallway of the Merch Mart.  Near future collaborations are already underway…

Either Side of a Second (short documentary)

I recently had the privilege of working this summer with Edinburgh photographer Peter Dibdin on an extensive portrait series, Southsiders: Portrait of a Community, which launched this past week.  In addition to recording and editing audio interviews of the 38 portrait sitters, I made this short documentary. I hope the film creates an extended context around the photos and allows the viewer to see each as the result of a personal exchange between Peter and his subjects.

Cramond Island, Scotland

Cramond Island isn’t entirely an island when the tide rolls out each day, allowing you to walk the causeway from the mainland.  But as the tide rolls back in, the island is cut off once again—and it’s fairly common for people to turn around and find themselves stranded, if they aren’t watching the time.

Walking the perimeter along the shoreline, I crossed this pair of kayakers.  I asked, “You gentlemen mind if I get a photo of you enjoying your lunch?”

“Only if you think you’ll want to look at it later,” the neon-green beanied fellow laughs.


Visual Economy

Another useless receipt for a cup of coffee, manicured middle-aged men in three-piece suits, and green wallet-sized pictures of former presidents — these all, unfortunately, come to mind when I think “economy.”  But the economy isn’t any one image.  In fact, it isn’t necessarily an image at all.  It’s a belief.

The economy is a belief in a system — a system that ultimately depends on our societal consent for it to exist at all.  I have to believe that if I have enough of these wrinkled pictures of presidents — or queens, or national birds — that they are worth a cup of coffee or a two bedroom flat.  Or, on a slightly larger scale, a country’s national identity and reputation.

So we “believe” it into existence, but who keeps the economy alive?

This gentleman working in a field struck me.  He looks well beyond the age that he should be performing such demanding physical labor.  Yet in 2012, and less than two hours from London — a capital of world economy — here he is, bent achingly over his shovel — a sobering image of a life source for the British economy.    GJM IV 

Image and content © GJM IV 2012