Ken Burns On Story

“I think that we coalesce around stories that seem transcendent.” -Ken Burns

Filmmaker Ken Burns has become one of the great story tellers of the 20th and now 21st centuries. For more than 25 years, Burns has created fascinating films built around wonderful narrative. Much of his narrative is told through the use of historical still photographs (and the aptly named “Ken Burns Effect”). Through stills, he has told  stories behind the stories on subjects including Thomas Jefferson, Baseball, Frank Lloyd Wright and The Civil War among others. “All story is manipulation,” Burns says, which is a genuine part of story telling. Burns is a believer in the emotional power of stories, saying “we tell stories to continue ourselves.” One of the more interesting points in the video is Burns talking about the illness and eventual death of his mother and how many of his stories are somehow related to it, saying, “I try to make Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson and Louis Armstrong come alive and it may be very obvious and very close to home who I am actually  trying to wake up.” Perhaps 1+1 really does equal three after all.

What’s your story? What stories do you try to tell in your photography, your art or your life? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.


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