CARGO was part of my bachelor thesis that I have finished in early 2018. Starting out I had the idea of creating a classic photo documentary about freight ship tourism. The end product turned out to be a little different. We all know working in the field of professional documentary photographers is becoming increasingly harder due to global digitization and easy access to photography equipment. As a result documentary photographers face off against an overwhelming amount of amateur photographers. During my project research, I got in contact with a content marketing agency. An eye-opening experience: I learned how much of a demand there is for content marketing and what is asked of content creators like photographers or media producers. Nowadays it is not enough to just take a good picture. Customers want to buy content for different kinds of media like images for print or web, animations for their social media channels, short films for web features or audio recordings to use in podcasts. In order to fulfill these requests, a content creator has to be more than just a photographer. You have to be skilled in several other disciplines like film, interactive design, language and media design, CGI or typography. The Institute of Technology in Nuremberg gives its students the opportunity to study these skills through their modular system and preparing them for the demands of the creative market, especially content marketing. As a result of my research and my acquired skills in new media the original idea of simply documenting freight ship tourism with photographs expanded into something bigger: I was able to create a wide range of media content that can directly be used in content marketing.
animated photos, 2.5D images and cinemagraphs for the social media area
images for corporate communications (company magazines, business reports, etc.)
trailer about the freighter cruise for YouTube containing an original soundtrack
virtual reality application for the PC and VR cardboard headsets to virtually step onto the ship
large format fine art prints for exhibitions that show my view of a fright ship journey
VR was the most challenging part of my work. Many of us have never used or created content for VR. The technology is still in its “infancy” but has huge potential. There a no established workflow and no industry standards. This makes the technical implementations partially quite difficult. More interesting and important however is the lack of an image frame. For over 150 years of photography and film creators have learned how to tell stories within a frame. So, how does storytelling work in VR when there is no set frame? After analyzing existing, award-winning films shot in 360° I created my own guide to storytelling in VR. Virtual reality has the potential to catapult documentaries onto a whole new level because the viewer, not the cameraman, can influence what they want to see and how they want to move around. Until now this has not been possible since the invention of photography and film.
To realize my project I applied for funding from both cities of Nuremberg and Erlangen. This enables me to exhibit my work in public (after completing my bachelor thesis). Furthermore, I had to attract sponsors to support me and my work with software licenses, equipment loans or order discounts.
My main goal for the thesis was to show that it is possible to use digitization and different skills to create a wide variety of content for different fields and uses. This content can be created by a single person and does not automatically have to be worked on by a team of people. I want to show photographers working in the documentary field a new approach and new possibilities in content marketing with the help of new media. My work should be understood as a tool and should show opportunities in digitization.
The links below are showing some of the content that I have created for this thesis.