Alba Conesa

Sóc becària de l'equip web del Centre de Cultura Contemporània. De formació, comunicadora social i cultural, cada cop més implicada en les converses 2.0. Vaig començar treballant a la ràdio. També he estat guionista de documentals i redactora de diaris on-line.

Miquel Dewever-Plana: «Internet will be the medium that will allow us, as photojournalists, to continue working and reporting»

October 30th, 2013 No Comments

Interview with the winner of the first prize in the Interactive Documentary category of the multimedia section at World Press Photo 13.

Pòster “Alma. Hija de la violencia”

Increasingly, photography tends to converge with other means of visual, textual and audiovisual expression; at the same time, on both a professional and an amateur level, photographic images are not impervious to the social importance of the Internet.

Within this context, two years ago the World Press Photo foundation launched the Multimedia Contest: a competition that it views as complementary to its original photo contest and which responds to its commitment to provide a platform for innovative practices in the field of visual journalism. According to the contest rules, the multimedia works submitted must be produced specifically for the web and have to include photography and/or video in combination (as a minimum) plus animations, graphics, illustrations, sound or text.

At the ninth edition of World Press Photo in Barcelona, the Catalan capital will be the only city in Spain (and almost in the world) to show the nine winning works of the third Multimedia Contest, which covers three categories (Online Shorts, Online Features and Interactive Documentaries), each of them with a first, second and third prize.

This year, two of the first prizes awarded by the jury of this contest went to Spanish photographers. The top award in the Online Shorts category went to Mallorcan photographer Pep Bonet for his work Into the shadows, and the highest distinction in the Interactive Documentaries category to Palafrugell photojournalist Miquel Dewever-Plana, who, together with French writer Isabelle Fougère, produced Alma. A tale of violence, the spine-chilling story of a young woman who is an ex-gang member in Guatemala.

Fotografia d’”Alma. Hija de la violencia”
© Miquel Dewever-Plana

As Dewever-Plana explains to us, the genre for which the prize was awarded consists of “a documentary conceived and designed for the web, where we ask the Internet user to be active, not passive, before the screen, and thus become, somehow, an indirect actor in the story.” “It’s a very recent tool,” he affirms, “where everything can still be and must be invented.”

Dewever-Plana details how production began when “Alma agreed to give us her account because she wanted to help other young people – no matter where they were from: Guatemala, France, Spain, the United States, etc. – to avoid ending up, at age fifteen or twenty, like all her friends from that era: in prison or in the cemetery.” To respond to the young woman’s wish, he and Isabelle Fougère chose to use multimedia tools.

“The story told to us by Alma is universal,” says Dewever-Plana. “We are all Alma. Or, rather, we all could be Alma. Only the environment in which a human being grows up will facilitate, or not, people falling into such extremes and using violence as a language to exist. The Internet enables us to go into people’s homes and, thus, to take this reflection everywhere.” In addition, the film’s author highlights the fact that another attraction of the web documentary is that it has no limit in terms of time or space. “In Alma,” he explains, “apart from forty minutes of confession by the protagonist, we included hundreds of informative pages to help people better understand the situation. No other medium could have offered us this freedom.”

The information pages and other more journalistic elements of Alma were produced under the direction of Isabelle Fougère, while Dewever-Plana took charge especially of the part relating to the production’s images and videos.

Alma, Isabelle Fougère i Miquel Dewever-Plana
© Miquel Dewever-Plana

“I don’t believe any standard team model exists for producing a web documentary,” the photojournalist affirms. “It all depends on the story.” In this case, Dewever-Plana maintains that, since this was a story of a men’s world told by a woman, “it was essential that it was another woman who interviewed Alma during the filming. That is why I asked Isabelle to form part of this adventure. She was the person who directed the interview and I think the fact that Alma was responding to another woman allowed her to be extremely honest when shedding light on the most painful part of her experiences.” Alma’s story is also the basis for the book ALMA (Blume, 2012), with a literary account by Fougère and images by Dewever-Plana.

Asked about the potential of multimedia tools in the world of professional photography, Dewever-Plana asserts that, in the face of the economic crisis affecting the traditional media, “Internet will undoubtedly be the medium that will allow us [photojournalists] to continue working and reporting.” By way of example, the photographer explains to us that, to date, Alma has registered over a million connections (via the Internet and a free app for tablets). “It’s an unprecedented result that means that our work could reach a much larger audience by using the Internet,” says Dewever-Plana. Even so, the co-director of Alma confesses that this web documentary has not generated any kind of economic benefit for its creators and that in the field of photojournalism it will be necessary to “create a viable economic model that doesn’t yet exist.”

World Press Photo: exhibition and parallel activities

Fotografia d’”Alma. Hija de la violencia”
© Miquel Dewever-Plana

The World Press Photo Barcelona exhibition can be visited from 6 November to 8 December 2013 at the CCCB, with opening times from Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Coinciding with the exhibition, on 6 November at 12 noon, Miquel Dewever-Plana will be offering a Masterclass in Hall -1 of the CCCB. The photographer will share his experience in the creation, development and dissemination of the web documentary Alma, which was also the winner of the Web Documentary Visa d’Or Award at the Visa pour l’Image Festival 2013, in Perpignan.

In addition to this Masterclass, World Press Photo will also include other parallel activities.

+ info:

Twitter: #WPP13BCN

A Journey to Pasolini’s Rome: online itineraries covering the Italian author’s life and work

July 15th, 2013 No Comments

In the last letter that he wrote from his home village of Casarsa, Pier Paolo Pasolini said, “I’ve decided to take my mother to Rome as of tomorrow, at my father’s instigation, and entrust her to my uncle; I’ll be unable to stay in Rome, because my uncle made it clear that he cannot put me up.”

Finally, however, Pasolini did stay in Rome. At the age of 27, after an episode at the centre of a homosexual scandal and his subsequent expulsion from the Italian Communist Party (PCI), on 28 January 1950 the artist began his relationship with the capital.

To his eyes, the city appeared as a place full of contrasts that quickly became a major source of inspiration and that can now be rediscovered by following the writer and filmmaker’s biography on the website of the exhibition “Pasolini Roma”, from the suburbs of Ponte Mammolo to the residential neighbourhood of the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma).

Web Pasolini Roma, a project developed by the website team of La Cinemàteque Française.

By either using the timeline or alternatively by following any of the ten colour itineraries offered, on the website you will find 50 addresses of places and emblematic periods of Pasolini’s Rome, that include the houses where he lived (green), details of his social and intellectual life (ochre) and spots that inspired his literature (orange).

In the decade of the 1960s and marked in blue, the exhibition website also offers the opportunity to view the sets of the films Accattone, Mamma Roma, Uccellacci e uccellini and La Ricotta.

The website lets visitors browse through ten chronological itineraries of the life of Pasolini. The contents can be viewed in Catalan, Spanish, English, French and soon Italian.

Specifically, the La Ricotta trial, for which Pasolini was initially given a four-month suspended prison sentence, marks the starting point of the red itinerary which follows the author’s political life and covers, for example, the breakdown of relations between Pasolini and the city’ students following the demonstrations of 1968.

Following the timeline, the last itinerary included on the website is the pink itinerary, which tells of the discovery of Pasolini’s body on the beach at Ostia and his funeral at the Campo de’ Fiori, where the people of Rome responded emotionally, eventually turning the funeral into a political demonstration.

French Street Artist Žilda evokes Pasolini

The website also invites its visitors to immerse themselves in another route: the black itinerary. It follows the works of French street artist Žilda, who, to coincide with the exhibition, has painted graffiti in the corners and streets of Rome that evoke the ghosts of Pasolini.

Scenes from the films Porcile (“Pigsty”, 1969), Il fiore delle Mille i una Notte (“Arabian Nights”, 1974) and Saló (“Salo”, 1975) attract the attention of passers-by from walls, columns and half-hidden nooks of the Italian capital, where some people stop to interact and have their photograph taken with the work.

An artist who resorts to numerous references (such as the Renaissance, Greek mythology and Italian neo-Realism) Žilda has papered with walls of Rome with life-size figures that reproduce and at the same time reinterpret Pasolini’s filmography, but that above all call passers-by to form part of the relationship that was established sixty years ago between Pasolini and the city.