FILMS

These are some of my films. When I call them films, they are really slide shows made primarily with still images. In 1970, when I was a freshman at Harvard, I started to create media that combined photographs with music. I loved the power of a still image to capture the essence of a person, place or moment. I also loved the sequencing of film and how music and narration could add other dimensions to the imagery. In the fifty years since, I have made a career creating slide-shows, or multi-image, or multi-media or films — call them what you will. 

My long association with National Geographic has allowed me to to explore using photography, music and words to tell stories. The Geographic gave me the creative freedom to explore and refine my still-image storytelling.

For decades, slide-shows needed multiple slide projectors, carousel slide trays, computer interfaces, tape decks or CDs to create a show. While some of my dozens of shows were videotaped to preserve them, and others scanned and re-created digitally, many of them have been lost to the march of technology. What you will see here are mostly films made in the digital era. A few were made from scanned images from slide-shows. Today, I use very sophisticated digital programs — Bridge, Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere — to create essentially the same simple shows I did a half century ago. 

I believe in simplicity. In the power of storytelling. In trying to make the media as invisible as possible. I want to transport viewers into the world of my story and not distract them with production techniques. 

I invite you to explore some of the many topics I have created media about. I hope you will find here "media with a message."

STATION

"Station" is the first slide-show I made in 1970. It is about the Union Railroad Station in New London, Connecticut.

ISRAEL: A LIVING PALIMPSEST

Impressions of a trip to Israel. I explored the complex layering of people, places, religions and history.

SIMPLER TIMES

A story about time-travel and the desire to return to simpler times.

FACE TO FACE

Portraits taken around the world of people who seem to reveal their souls to me as I photograph them.

ANTARCTIC IMPRESSIONS

In December of 2018, I worked on two Expeditions to Antarctica for National Geographic, aboard its ship the Explorer. My goal in this film is to give folks an impressionistic feel for what Antarctica is like, from its sweeping vistas to its small details, from its colonies of penguins to an old British research station. I hope viewers will get some sense for the humbling, magnificent desolation and remoteness of Antarctica.

INTERSECTION

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I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Where does the historic resonance of a place reside? In the place itself or our memories of what occurred there? This short piece examines a place in America where something happened and how we relate to the event and the place. Part of my "American Places" series.

 

Winner of a “Crystal AMI” the Association for Multi-Image International’s Grand Prize, and also the AMI's “Best Script” Award. Winner of Grand Prize in the International Film & Television Festival of New York

REFLECTIONS on the WALL

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a powerful and evocative reminder of the real price of war: dead soldiers. Thousands of them. This short film, part of my American Places series, explores the wall and our reflections upon it.

PALIMPSEST

For more than 40 years, on my travels, I have photographed the layering of torn posters on walls. They are everywhere. As new posters are layered on top of old ones and weather strips away the paper, the strange random compositions that arise are collages of culture. I find the fragmented and juxtaposed images, colors, textures and ideas fascinating. This short film sets some of my favorite "palimpsests" to music

MOMENTS

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I have spent a lifetime traveling the world, observing life, and taking photographs. I have come to see that life and history are made up of billions of tiny everyday moments.  In this film, I share some of these little dramas  as they unfolded in front of me and my camera. Unique as they are, as ephemeral as they may be, they help us see our lives in the lives of others. When we do that, we see that the differences of race, nationality, religion or politics are far less than the commonalities that unite us. We can celebrate our diversity while also embracing our shared humanity. I hope this gallery will help others come to this understanding. I encourage everyone to look for these little moments, these quiet dramas,  that are overshadowed by the more dramatic — if not always more meaningful — events of life. 

PERFECTION

What is perfection? Is it in the eye of the beholder? Indeed, who is the beholder? I explore these questions in a Twilight Zone-style short story.

X100: 1 Mile, 1 Year, 1 Lens

An experiment in limitations. I walked 1 mile for 1 year shooting with 1 lens. I wanted to break through the blindness of familiarity and explore my own neighborhood.

GALAPAGOS

A look at the unique flora and fauna of these magical islands, photographed on two National Geographic Expeditions.

NOWHERE

A remote British base in Antarctica is the setting for this story — an examination of isolation and madness.

DREAMS OF HARRY THE CAT

The Venice Biennale art exposition is full of unique and at times perplexing art. Or perhaps it's all just the dreams of my cat Harry?

ANTARCTIC DREAMS

In 2010-11, I made my first trip to Antarctica. It was an incredible experience. This film is my personal account of what we did and what we saw. I also tried to put my experience into a larger context of polar exploration and “filling in the white spaces of our maps.” I hope it will give viewers a feel for the geography, wildlife, history and otherworldly feel of Antarctica, a place where reality becomes a dream, and dreams become reality.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

MEMORIAL

Part of my “American Places” series, this film looks at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. One day when I was photographing it in a blizzard, I ran into William McSweeny, who spearheaded the building of the memorial. I later interviewed him. His recollections of the war and the statues, and my recollections of meeting him that snowy day form the storyline of this short film.

TOUCHSTONE

I met Peggy Steele Clay when she was a teacher in residence at National Geographic. We worked together on various Geography Education projects. She suggested I do a piece about the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama as part of my "American Places" series. In this film, Peggy shares her unscripted, cathartic story of her reactions to the memorial and her memories of racism and civil rights.

Winner of Grand Prize in the International Film & Television Festival of New York

The ART of NATURE

There is beauty everywhere. When I look closely at nature, I find fascinating details and patterns. Exploring the natural world with my camera, especially with a macro lens, I discover a world within our world. It is a world we often overlook. This brief film is a gallery of some of my discoveries.

THIEF of SOULS

Does a photograph capture someone’s soul? Some people believe so. In this short story, the gift of an antique camera triggers a new theft.

INTERMISSION

This is a brief tribute to the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT. closed since March 2020 because of the pandemic. I wanted to help the Garde remind people of how vibrant and vital a part of the local community the arts center is. And give some hope that the theater will once again come to life.

More films coming soon.

© 2020 Todd Gipstein      Todd@Gipstein.com    YouTube Channel "Todd Gipstein"     FaceBook/GipsteinBooks