Seashore Digital Diaries, a fall semester course taught by visiting filmmaker and Coastal Studies Scholar David Conover ’83, P’17, and cross-listed in three departments — visual arts, environmental studies, and cinema studies — used video production as a tool of inquiry at the seashore.
View selected videos and read the accompanying commentary provided by Conover.
Alex Sutula ’13 offers a very creative riff on a simple question we explored in class, “What do we really hear inside a sea shell?” An amplification of the world around us? The pumping blood within our ear canals? Or perhaps something of the ocean itself? Donning a wondrous pair of headphones made from two seashells, Alex listens to and reflects upon a range of class experiences, as well as his own shooting. I love it! He draws upon his boat-to-boat camerawork of our trip to the Schooner Bowdoin in Castine, as well as the POV wearable camera phenomenon of the marvelous GoPro, high in the schooner’s rigging.
In pace with his own performance of an original guitar track, Alex’s camera also captures the graceful movements of Auburn Gonzales ’15 dancing on the sands of Popham, and the contemplations of Nick Benfey ’15 and others at the digital frontier, learning how to light and film aquaria in the Coastal Studies Center Marine Lab. Narration is provided by Stephen Kelley ’17. We are left amazed by all that can be heard within a shell.
When asked for an interpretation of the human shore in history — inspired by John Gillis’s new book The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History — Christina Sours ‘16 teamed up with Tim Hanley ‘15 and Lucy Green ‘15 to produce this short documentary about Fort Popham, constructed in the late 1800’s. In addition to the research and writing required, the crew experimented with techniques of time-lapse camerawork and dramatic re-enactment.
The students explored the larger question of what has been considered necessary to secure the Maine coast. From their work, I personally learned more about the mouth of the Kennebec River and particularly loved the student’s use of a “voice-of-god” style narrator, whom they located, auditioned, and recorded to great effect. Please congratulate the voice-over talent Randy Nichols, Director of Bowdoin Security.
A winter walk with her brother to the rocky shores of Penobscot Bay is the scene of this introspection by Tess Lameyer ’16. The destination is one special place on that shore; one of those natural places that the writer Richard Louv suggests we each hold dear from our childhood and very rarely have the chance to revisit.
Tess’s video is a portrait of her brother and his seastone sculpture (which builds right before our eyes in her well shot and tightly edited sequences). At the same time, with the simple evocative original music provided by another brother and the chosen words of the poet David Whyte, the video is clearly introspective, an expression of how an individual’s relationship to the Maine Coast is bound tightly with her relationship to others. I love it!
In the opening tracking shot of this short video, Lucy Green ’15 takes us to the edge of the Maine coast, just a few miles from the cabin where Rachel Carson once lived and wrote. Lucy then turns and follows the line between sea and shore, weaving the external landscape into her own interior observations, feelings, and thoughts. We cut from Reid State Park at dawn to a two-camera sequence her crew shot at Pemaquid Point with Marine Ecologist Bob Steneck, to the marine lab and shores of Bowdoin’s own Coastal Studies Center.
Along the way, Lucy shares a highly personal and compelling visual diary of eye-opening discovery, reflection, and insight. Whoever imagined that barnacle activity could respond so quickly to changing light? Her writing and voice-over is succinct and deliberate, allowing plenty of time for silence. I’m impressed by her consistent control of tone, by the cross-disciplinary awareness she exhibits, and by her own articulation of how her relationship with the sea evolved in the three short months of the fall semester. Kudos, Lucy! This is a wonderful expression of liberal arts coastal study on the coast of Maine.
Cundy’s Harbor Lobster Harvesters Rob and Karin Watson
A successful interview is part art, part science, and mostly connecting with the right people in the right moment. Dana White ’15 edits this four-minute-long sequence of an interview her crew conducts in Cundy’s Harbor with lobster harvesters Rob and Karin Watson. Ezra Duplissie-Cyr ‘15 is asking the questions, and Tim Hanley ’15 alternates as cameraman and audio recordist. The “Working Waterfront Interview” is one of the five shoots over the semester that involves a 5 a.m. crew call at the Edwards Digital Media Lab, then a short drive to the coast.
The low-angle dawn light casts a warm glow on the faces of Rob and Karin, as they set off to haul 400 traps. Rob and Karin will then do double-duty in the afternoon as the sixth generation of Watsons to run the General Store, which supplies the working waterfront with fuel and bait. I love how Dana’s perceptive edit conveys the core values of these two remarkable people — family, hard work, and living local. She builds the sequence with local sounds only — no music — and she finds a way to include a sequence of a rare blue lobster caught by a seven-year-old Watson grandson. An evocative portrait. Well done!