One in 8 Million – New York Times

Usually I become more engaged with small scale projects, but One in 8 Million caught my eye due to its perfect sequence that has a harmonious balance throughout every individual story. Though all the stories are targeted differently at people in New York, the project seems to bring them together through its style and easy access when flowing through them.

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One in 8 Million, homepage. http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/

Straight away the project tells you about the diverse selection of subjects that are involved, using simple facts to engage but not overwhelm the reader. It describes the projects as showing stories of ‘passions and problems, relationships and routines, vocations and obsessions.’ Although this suggests the wide subject matter, they are all subjects that people tend to indulge into on a daily basis through newspapers, magazines and TV, which sparks an immediate interest.

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http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/

The design makes it very easy to flow through the individual projects, with the lower bar presenting the titles from each rectangle, allowing the viewer to select projects. The dark theme presents a sense of concern and depth to the projects, whilst the titles stay factual including all dates that the project was added, Names and facts. I feel it is important to allow a viewer to glide through this at ease, as many projects towards the end may be lost from a lack of attention if the navigation is too complex.


 

Mark Mocha: The Ex-Bank Robber

A father of three, Mr. Mocha, 51, served 12 years in prison after robbing nine banks on Long Island.

That’s all the viewer is told as they enter the documentary on Mr. Mocha. We are told nothing about his personal life, which doesn’t allow the viewer to make a pre-opinion on the man, allowing them to watch and listen in a factual manner.

I was surprised to find that the story was made up of still images instead of videoed scene’s from the interviews with Mocha, although I found them affective as the narrative flows along side the speech. I would’ve liked to see some moving films of Mocha to see his interaction with the world, the interviewer, as I feel that still images sometimes arise more questions as one can not view the story behind them unless told through text.

It consists of 2.44 minutes of Mocha talking about the robberies, which usually I would find very intense but the way the interviewer lets him describe the events in his own way, through his eyes and why he was doing it, making links to his family and mindset, creates a sense of connection with the viewer. We see many pictures of Mocha’s face, in which soft lighting is used along side a short depth of field which forces us to look into his face whilst he tells us about the robberies.

The video looks only at the situation being addressed, not until after are we provided information on Mr. Mocha now. We are told about how he now helps people through work and his aspirations, which changes the mind-set of the viewer. Finishing on a positive note tends to warp the previous information which could possibly be seen as an influence from the producer.

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/#/mark_mocha


Omika Jikaria: The Type A Teenager

A sophomore at Stuyvesant High School, Omika, 15, has been competing in beauty pageants for 10 years.

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/#/omika_jikaria

I wanted to watch a video documenting a girl to see how the interaction  between the subject and viewer would change. I found this video a lot less engaging, but this may of been down to the more bland subject matter of a young girl who does well in school and competes in beauty pagents. I feel this is a subject that repeatedly gets reported on and doesn’t necessarily fit in the narivate of the other videos which mainly address serious subjects. This would fall into the ‘passion’ section of the introuductory paragraph, but personally I would’ve assumed it would of been addressing a more intense passion.

May be due her age, the speech was less fluent. At one point around 40seconds in, Jikaria says,

Do I call myself a beauty queen?,

Which is obviously a question prompted by the interviewer, which breaks the intereaction between her and the viewer.

Overall I feel this documentary is a lot less relevant and interesting than the others, which has made me question how important subject matter is to a story. People say, ‘you can make anything interesting’, but you still have to draw in the attention of the viewer.


What I find particularly interesting about this 54 subject project, is that although the interviewer changed depending on the person, I assume due to location, the photographer, Todd Heisler, stays the same. This presents the theme in how all the projects can seamlessly sit next to each other in the documentary body, but almost fills the void of the vast change in subject matters. I feel it works as a trick to make a viewer see the videos as more of a project than individual studies.

 

 

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