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Documenting Ourselves

Documenting Ourselves

Film, Video, and Culture

by Sharon R. Sherman

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

336 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, illus

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780813109343
  • Published: December 1997

$45.00

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Since Robert Flaherty's landmark film Nanook of the North (1922) arguments have raged over whether or not film records of people and traditions can ever be "authentic." And yet never before has a single volume combined documentary, ethnographic, and folkloristic filmmaking to explore this controversy.

What happens when we turn the camera on ourselves? This question has long plagued documentary filmmakers concerned with issues of reflexivity, subject participation, and self-consciousness. Documenting Ourselves includes interviews with filmmakers Les Blank, Pat Ferrero, Jorge Preloran, Bill Ferris, and others, who discuss the ways their own productions and subjects have influenced them. Sharon Sherman examines the history of documentary films and discusses current theiroeis and techniques of folklore and fieldwork.

But Sharon Sherman does not limit herself to the problems faced by filmmakers today. She examines the history of documentary films, tracing them from their origins as a means of capturing human motion through the emergence of various film styles. She also discusses current theories and techniques of folklore and fieldwork, concluding that advances in video technology have made the camcorder an essential tool that has the potential to redefine the nature of the documentary itself.