The Shock of Recognition, 3 out of 5 stars

For today’s blog, I am going to offer a personal critique of this multimedia piece, The Shock of Recognition. I am subscribed to New York Times’ tweets and when I read the tweet about this story I decided to give it a look. I first read the accompanying article, then the multimedia piece.

I am no expert on the good and bad of multimedia, so this opinion is completely based on my own feelings and taste.

At first, I really enjoyed the photography. I got a sense that the photos were arranged to suggest emotions, and a change of emotions in Joey Paulk (the subject). The viewer doesn’t get to Paulk’s face, disfigured from the war, until 1:12 minutes into the video. The first three photographs are all of Paulk with his back to the camera, alone, and in darkness. Those elements really helped me feel his initial depression. At 1:12 the video begins to show pictures with Paulk’s face; but in almost all of them, he is alone or at least you get the feeling of solitude, lonliness, and sadness. By 3:15 more photos of Paulk interacting with other people filter in, especially photos of him and his wife, or him at a formal party having a good time. His audio also follows along the same sort of trend– he talks about his internal feelings at first, and gradually expresses that he is not as depressed now and that he has a lot to be thankful for.

The subject was a great one, and the topic was very special. I feel like I don’t hear much about our service men/women who come back from the war and I thought the story was relevant, useful, relatable, and interesting. The audio was a good story. My initial reaction to the photography was good, but as I watched my opinion fell. Here’s why: the story was touching, very much so. But I didn’t feel like the photos were helping the audio. I didn’t feel compelled after I saw them. I found many of the angles and the shots to be drab, and boring. Some of the shots had too much angle, giving me that tipsy feeling of looking at a tilted plain. I wanted more pictures too- I felt like I kept seeing the same thing over and over.

I actually enjoyed the article more than the multimedia, which is not usual for me. The writing captured my attention and I found out more details- suck as the Operation Mend project at the UCLA Medical Center. I’d never heard of it, and I honestly wanted to know more! It sounds like an amazing organization!

The piece had some great highlights, and was very commendable. Bottom line- the story, the article, the audio all captured my interest. The photography, however, not so much.

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