If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video essay is worth about a million.
Even though “video” and “essay” are easy words to explain, the video essay isn’t an easy craft to define. Some video essays are films with an essay structure. Others are essays aided by visual and sonic elements. In this case, “A Mother’s Love” is an essay in conversation with a visual image.
I took a course in Winter 2020 called “Video Essay” with Professor John Bresland in the Creative Writing Department of Northwestern University. This was the second sketch I created in that class. The prompt was to write an essay towards a still image. Immediately after receiving this prompt, I thought of this photograph. It’s the kind of photograph you can’t really forget. I think part of me chose this photo because I wanted it to haunt me less. In actuality, I now know exactly why it freaks me out- which makes it more bearable but with the same amount of creepiness.
As a creative writer, I began my artistic explorations text first. I find video essays stimulating, frustrating, and enriching. As many writers know, one of the hardest things about writing is knowing what text to cut. With video essays, you must learn to trust your visuals to fill the place of your words- which is relieving, but terrifying. When writers’ block comes in, I can find inspiration in the things I see. And as a Voice Performance/Opera student, I can satiate my musical ear with this medium.
-Kandise Le Blanc
Artwork: “USA. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1976. Klu Klux Klan Meeting” by Elliott Erwitt
What does family mean to you? What image can you not forget? Comment below?
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