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A Life Alone

A Life Alone

Video by Maisie Crow

A Life Alone is a beautifully poignant video by New York-based photographer Maisie Crow. It tells the story of Tom Rose, who after 63 years of marriage finds himself living on his own, forced to reengage with his community and battle with his bittersweet memories. Tom is unflinchingly honest in his expressions of love and fear, and his willingness to share his perspectives on life, and Maisie treats this honesty with the respect it deserves. The film is a compassionate look at life-long love and companionship, and the vacuum that it can leave. It's honesty gives it a universality, reminding us of ourselves and our loved ones, while touching on the danger in contemporary western societies of old age becoming solitary.

Produced in 2009, while Crow was working toward her master's degree, the piece is one of the best recent examples of a multimedia film created by an independent journalist, made more impressive by the fact that stills, audio, video and production were produced by the photographer herself. Visually and sonically innovative, it is a stunning piece of personal multimedia storytelling and a significant example of how powerful this new medium can be. — Anna Stevens

This Must Be the Place: COFFER

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Video by Lost & Found Films

"We look at working in documentaries almost like a passport that allows us to see how different people live, across cultural, class, socioeconomic and racial lines. And what better way to sum up that idea than explore people's spaces: their home, their place of work, their hangout spot — to really examine, both visually and emotionally, the places that people LIVE. So we decided to make that the focus of our series, This Must Be The Place." — Ben Wu

Filmmakers Ben Wu and David Usui's This Must Be the Place is a series of short films that explores the idea of home; what makes them, how they represent us, and why we need them. Their most recent installment, Coffer is a meditative portrayal of tintype photographer John Coffer's rural home and workspace in upstate New York. Living off the grid, in a cabin he built by hand more than two decades years ago, the artists explains the philosophy behind his way of life, and his thoughts on the nature of home, while the camera drifts through his space, capturing glimpses of him at work and at rest.

At the Hour of Our Death

Video by Mark & Angela Walley, Photographs by Sarah Sudhoff

One of photography’s distinctive qualities is its ability to reveal subjects that are invisible to the eye. But carefully considered images can also make visible ideas that we find difficult to think about or discuss. Dying, for example, is an act that is frequently shielded from view, presumably to protect the living from facing fears of what happens when life ceases to be. Sarah Sudhoff’s At the Hour of Our Death, takes as its starting point writer Phillipe Aries’ observation that “death’s invisibility enhances its terror”.

Like most of her work, these pictures are inspired by personal experience. As a teenager Sudhoff lost a friend to suicide. While visiting his home after learning of the tragedy, she witnessed a clean up crew efficiently removing all physical traces of his final moments—the stuff of death we prefer to quietly avoid. Brightly illuminated and full of vibrant color, Sudhoff’s large-scale photos present swatches of bedding, carpet and upholstery marked with the signs of a passing life. Seemingly grim at first blush, the series is a fascinating and beautiful work of conceptual art. By making abstract the thing we fear most, Sudhoff brings it into stark focus.