Last Tuesday, I released a 25 minute documentary online. Portrait is about exploring the approach and mindset of a professional photographer and an avid Instagram user. I was so lucky to be able to follow Andria and Cory, to share their feelings, and connect with a lot of people. A lot of people.
I've been blown away by the response. It's risky to release a video that is 25 minutes long and expect people to sit at their computers and watch it. But if it's good enough, engaging enough, and people care about it, they will watch it. And they have.
As I write this, halfway through the sixth day after Portrait's premiere, over 27,000 people have watched it. That's amazing.
As I was planning and making Portrait, I had a few objectives. I approached the topic because I was truly interested in it. I'm fascinated by the creative process, and if I can uncover bits and pieces of different people's creative process through filmmaking, I will continue to do so. I also knew a lot of people would be interested in something like this. But I didn't want to just use this as a teaching tool or to prove some type of point like many documentaries. More than anything, I just wanted to show that normal people with drive and passion can follow their dreams. They can do whatever they want if they channel that passion into the energy they put into their work.
One of the most amazing feelings is hearing someone say you or your work has inspired them. Inspired them to follow their dreams, to make their own movie, or to become a better photographer. Those are the types of comments that have been directed towards Portrait and the people that put their time and energy into making this film (thank you Andria, Cory, Zach, Jonathan, all who made appearances in Portrait, and my awesome Kickstarter backers).
I've linked to a number of blogs that have mentioned or featured Portrait over the last six days, including Instagram, Photojojo ("Fantastic"), PetaPixel, FStoppers ("Intriguing"), ISO 1200 ("Amazing"), Columbus Alive, Filmmaker IQ, Digital Photography Review, and many more. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and below are some of my favorite comments, including some taken from Portrait's comments on Vimeo.
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"...a beautifully shot documentary that may remind many of you of why you fell in love with the art in the first place."
"...a lesson in inspiration and how to find it, when to say no to certain projects, and how to define your art in a world of artists."
"...a beautiful story showing Instagramers and Photographers are not living in two different worlds and really just share the same feelings and passion."
“Thank you for the coolest 25 minutes of my day!”
"Love this! So interesting and very inspiring."
"Highlighted all the reasons I love photography"
"I love this documentary, out of all the ones I've seen this one I could watch over and over."
"It was personally exactly what I needed to see right now."
"Beautiful shots, incredible story--was engaged, inspired & blown away. Thank you for this--what a life this universe has born..."
"I want to thank you for making such an inspiring film, it answers some of my question regarding to my photography path as I've been stuck for quite a while."
"The stories being told are so genuine and true."
"Pictures from her are a speciality, something you can't get everyday, pictures from him are the everyday that everyone else can join in on and be a part of. Neither are better over the other, but compliment each other in the field of photography, one is more specialized while the other is 'connected' and with less of an emphasis on photography itself. But, both are still focused on people and their lives, the human factor will always be the most important."
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From San Francisco to Hong Kong, from Honduras to New Zealand, from Germany to Spain. This is what people are saying about Portrait.
I'm blown away.
All I can ask of you is this: Go inspire someone today.