using still images

In this project, I’ve come up against the challenge of how to use still images in a film. So many of the beautiful archival imagery of Homestead, PA is in the form of still photographs. In the beginning, I thought that using still imagery would make a film look “flat” or, even worse, like a power point presentation. But I had fallen in love with so many of these old photographs during my research, and I was determined to use them somehow.

Still photos also held a certain importance in the film because so many of my interviewees brought along old photographs to show me, and used them almost like memory references throughout our interviews. They would leaf through old photographs and smile, listing the names of old friends or co-workers or parts or pieces or tools in the mill.

In a lot of my film I wanted new and old imagery to interact. I wanted the idea of ghosts to also be present in my film. And so I’ve been experimenting with layering still archival images and video that I shot. There’s a nice “lulling” feel to how these scenes slip between old and new, black & white and color, motion and stillness.

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