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Spotlight: Highlights from October

By David Schonauer   Wednesday November 8, 2017


Photography healed Jared Moossy’s broken mind.

The Austin-based filmmaker, then 35, was critically injured in a motorcycle crash about two years ago. He was riding at about 70 mph before a head-on collision with a sedan steered by a drunk-driver. He can’t really remember the first three months after he emerged from a coma — just certain instances, like walking without a cane for the first time and the color and texture of the ground. He can remember his wife-turned-caretaker, Claudia Billy Baca, packing his lunch and helping him walk, pushing him to go to rehab classes and driving him there.

The key to unlocking his memory were photographs, noted Time LightBox, which featured a short film from director Shaul Schwarz and cinematographer Christina Clusiau in which Moossy reflects on his recovery. It was among the motion work featured at Pro Photo Daily in October, and today we include it in our monthly roundup of top motion art, along with  a drone thrill ride, an award-winning microscopic view of our beautiful world, a look at the last trap fishers of Rhode Island, a 360-degree view of surfing legend Laird Hamilton mastering a very long wave in Peru, and some GIFs made with sex toys.


1. How Photography Healed a Mind


Jared Moossy can’t remember the first three months after he emerged from the coma. The Austin-based filmmaker, then 35, was critically injured in a motorcycle crash about two years ago. Photographs were the key that unlocked his memory, noted Time LightBox, which featured a short film by Shaul Schwarz and cinematographer Christina Clusiau that tells Moosy’s tale of loss and recovery and his realization that “I am not who I was.” Go here  to see it.


2. 3,000 Miles of Life, Told in Voicemails

On July 5th, 2016, filmmaker Sean Wang moved across the country to work and live in New York City for one year. His short film 3,000 Miles tells the story of that year using a simple narrative device: Voicemails from his mother. The film is comprised entirely of footage that Yang shot with his Sony A7S II as he walked around the streets for NYC. He edited it himself in Premiere and After Effects. Short of the Week  called the film “incredibly moving.”


3. Laird Hamilton Takes Waves in VR

See surfing legend Laird Hamilton chasing perfection in the form of 10-foot waves stretching over a mile near Chicama, Peru, where rides up to six minutes become the norm aboard hydrofoil surfboard design! To appreciate what a mile-long wave is like, the four-minute film Take Every Wave: Laird in VR, from Ryot, lets you scan through 360 degrees. Sports Illustrated  was one of the websites ecstatic about the film.


4. A Controversial Drone Thrill Ride

Speaking of thrill rides: Paul Nurkkala, a very skilled drone pilot, used a custom-built drone equipped with a GoPro Hero5 Session camera to create a viral video that takes viewers around, inside, onto, and under a moving train. The video has split the internet into two camps: One that thinks the footage is cool, and the other infuriated that Nurkkala has received praised for doing something so illegal. We featured  the video, along with other breaking drone news.


5. Asking Big Questions On a Mountain

Some summits are metaphoric. Some summits are actually summits. And some are both. The short film Life Coach  follows two mountain climbers, Renan Ozturk (see our Profile) and Alex Honnold, as they attempt a first ascent of Alaska’s Ruth Gorge. As conditions become unfavorable, Honnold turns the camera on Ozturk for a “strangely beautiful discussion of life’s big questions.” The film comes from The North Face, with Ozturk directing.


6. The Nihang Warriors of India

Director Erik Morales’s short documentary The Nihang Warriors of India  focuses on the Sikh order of Nihang — an ancient armed warrior order known as the Akalis, or, Immortals. Shot in black and white, the film follows a group of wandering Nihang as they traverse the landscape of northern India on horseback. Recalling the English myth of King Arthur, the film reflects on the past and future of the mystery-shrouded order, noted Nowness.


7. The Last of the Trap Fishers in Rhode Island

Corey Wheeler Forrest is a third-generation fish trapper and fish dealer from Sakonnet Point, Rhode Island, working alongside her brother and father on their trap boat, the Maria Mendonsa. Sometimes, she notes, when she delivers fish to the Fulton Fish Market in New York, they're still alive. "You can't get fresher than that," she says in a short documentary film from Rhode Island-based photographer and filmmaker David Wells, who, we noted, has also produced films about a small Rhode Island farming operation and a local granola maker.


8. Faces from the Frontline Against ISIS

As a followup to the 2015 film Guerrilla Fighters of Kurdistan, independent photographer and director Joey L. embedded himself with Kurdish guerrilla organizations in the front lines of the fight against ISIS. The result is his new documentary Born From Urgency. The film opens with a drone’s-eye view of Shengal, a city reduced to rubble after a bitter battle. “This is what victory looks like,” says the filmmaker in a voiceover narration.


9. Nikon's Small World Contest Gets in Motion

Nikon’s Small World competition, which celebrates photographs captured with microscopes, is a yearly highlight blending science and art. In recent years Nikon has added video  to the Small World contest, and the winners of the 2017 were recently announced. Taking first place is cell biologist Daniel von Wangenheim,  who captured a growing root tip of Arabidopsis thaliana — a flowering weed native to Eurasia — over a period of 17 hours


10. Turning Sex Toys Into GIF Art


Photographer and MAP reader Jesse Untracht-Oakner recently teamed with designer Jenna Josepher to create a motion-art experiment called "SFW" (as in "safe for work"), featuring sex toys. "SFW" is indeed safe for work, we noted, because the toys have been recontextualized and desexualized in a series of playful GIFs. The idea came about after the producer on the project received a box of dildos from an old high school friend who is one of the owners of the Doc Johnson sex toy company.

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