The Single Story

When the professor asked us to tell a story with five images. I first wondered what story did I want to tell. I struggled between empty thoughts and lost inspiration. So I turned and asked myself, How do I feel? And the answer was simple. I felt classified, labeled…like a single story.

I decided that I wanted to tell the story of how a person is more things than one and often times a million more the person we expect, especially if they are of color.  Too often we classify a person based on something that is unchangeable like the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, gender, sexuality, etc. Too few do we actually start to explore a person before their possibilities as a direct result of stereotypes. Through the series of photos I wanted to start  exploring the subject and who she was and end with how she is classified to signify that although we are so many things, we are often classified by the single story.

In the first photo the model stands still. Her eyes weary as if to look lost or misunderstood, yet confident. This picture is meant to signify how someone feels when entering in a room full of strangers and trying to identify what everyone else is thinking of you and somehow already knowing the answer,

The second photo she is looking out into different cultures and trying to compare their stories. This photo is meant to represent how although we may come from different cultures and different beliefs, at some point in the day we seem to all be more similar than different. This is also a yearning to be of a different culture where she will not feel antagonized as much.

In the third photo she is sitting in a room with a lot of objects surrounding her. To signify objects that make her who she is.

The fourth photo she is putting up post its. Each one begins with “I am” which for the most part are elements of her personality that are very general to all or things people would rarely expect from her. Although she is in fact Dominican she often feels more American (as well as myself), One of my favorite post it from this wall is the one that says “I am American-ized.” The exit sign featured, leads into the next photo A.K.A how she feels in the real world.

The last photo is her entire body being covered with the Dominican flag in an enclosed space. Here, this symbolizes that although she is everything and more from the previous photo, she is classified into the single story of what people think it means to be Dominican.

The problem with single stories is not that they are untrue, they are just incomplete and too many people forget that. One of my biggest pet peeve is when people say, “well you don’t act like it” or “you’re not a real Dominican” (because of the way I say my name in spanish).

I hope that this story came across. But most importantly I hope that each and every one of you were able to interpret the pictures in your own way based on past experiences or knowledge. If nothing else, I hope you allowed yourself to think and imagine.


Photo Stories – What Am I Saying?

Last year I was given the task to tell a story through five photos. I thought there is no one else who I would rather work with then the wonderful woman in these photos. During the process she was just so awesome and sweet. She had no problem in helping me create my vision. But of course I wanted her input on what pictures to use and if she agreed about the way she was being portrayed in the final product (like any good documentarian should). I am so glad we worked together and would not hesitate to work with her again.

I would hope for you guys to see the photos and interpret the story I was trying to tell. If you would like, you could comment what you think the story is. Tomorrow I will create a blog on the story I was trying to tell and why. As well as the creative process.

Here she is!!!

Fingers Crossed

Fixing and organizing my blog today I had the amazing thought. I saw the word project for the first time in the customize page (which I still don’t understand its use) but it reminded me of projects that I worked on as a progressing documentarian. SO I DECIDED TO SHARE MY DOCUMENTARY WORK. I do not know why I never thought of this before.

I have read and seen that some of the most successful blogs have a singular theme, but I always thought that it couldn’t be me. I didn’t see how all of my experiences in life that I shared on my blog fit into one category. I never want to constrain my life experiences into one bubble.

Documenting is something I recently got into in my previous year at college. I remember getting a new program added to my college curriculum called MDOCS (John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative) where I was told the purpose of the program was to present stories of human experience through documentary media and technologies. That is so me! One of my dreams is to share inspirational stories of others. There is just too much negativity in media (I mean just look at the news). People should hear about powerful stories that would motivate them to do better, not horrifying stories that enables fear to live within human beings.

I decided to take a course called Principles of Documentary where I learned that documenting was not just film. There are NPR’S, photographs, music, museums, maps, and mixtures of them too!! Through this course I realized that we document our stories and experiences everyday through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, blogging, vlogging, etc. Since that moment of realization I viewed posting a picture or a blog very differently. It was no longer about how many likes I got but what story I am telling with my visuals and my words.

I discovered I had a large passion for documenting and it quickly became my favorite course. One of my favorite thing was when we all received the same assignment and yet each executed it differently as well as interpreted each others differently of course based on our cultures (something else I really love!) and previous experiences.

I also took the opportunity to do a one week course during spring break to help start a documentary about the opportunity program (an extremely selective program that helps students from low income backgrounds to reach their full potential by supporting academic and financial support) along with five other students. There I learned all the technical information about cameras and how to use the cameras angle to contribute to the story. We also learned about interview questions and the general respect and natural culture that goes into being part of a film crew.

I am so thankful for these experiences and taking the opportunity to do something that I never knew existed. I have finally found a way to collaborate every single goal and dream into one thing. With documentary work I plan to travel the world and document how education is achieved in other countries (hence my interest in majoring in education and anthropology with a minor in documentary film). Will I be okay? I surely think so. Fingers crossed.