“We have the impression that
we are entering a revolutionary era of documentary”
The pretty little fishing port of Kroo Bay in the heart of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has been transformed into a shanty town and has disappeared under rubbish. Its inhabitants are fighting to survive in this unhealthy environment.
How long did it take you to make Kroo Bay, including the reports and production?
Anna Kari: We spent ten months in Sierra Leone, where the web documentary kept us busy for some of the time, and one year in Freetown for research, photo tests and video production. After this first trip, we went back there twice to be with the people.
How did you finance this project?
A. K.: We didn’t produce this project on our own, it was too expensive. Part of it was financed by the NGO ‘Save the Children’. But we had developed the concept before presenting it to them. We filmed both for us and for them. Developing the interface cost us the most. For the really interactive work, there isn’t a lot of software available on the market. We had to have ours made specially.
As a photographer, what is the advantage in making a report in the form
of a web documentary?
A. K.: For a photojournalist, working on a web documentary is really exciting, you explore a new territory, prepare the ground for what is possible today and what will be conceivable in the future. The Kroo Bay project has enabled us to approach the shanty town community from many angles. Internet surfers can make several ‘journeys’, where they can immerse themselves in a different world and create their own narratives.
In this kind of work, ‘good’ or ‘bad’ writing doesn’t exist. You really have the impression of entering a revolutionary era of documentary, journalism and reporting.
Is it a new way of taking photos?
A.K.: Yes and no. No, because it is just a way of publishing photographs and associating them with sound. And yes, because it requires taking photos with the final result in mind. The process is very different. For us it also meant making an effort to work as a team, as opposed to a traditional photo report which is usually made on your own.
In your point of view, what is the future of the web documentary?
A. K.: Over these last ten years, technology has evolved very quickly. Sound and video have become more advanced and more affordable. But what have changed especially are the press sites which are more inclined to publish web documentaries. Another interesting aspect is that the press, radio and TV are gradually joining together on the same platform: Internet. Today, everyone is making slide-shows with sound and calling this multimedia. Of course it’s interesting, but as technology becomes more accessible and photographers enrich their technological knowledge, we are going to see more amazing projects that will come and break the established formats.