Mittwoch, 5. Oktober 2011

Interview mit Dan Archer

Vor einigen Wochen hatte ich eine sehr interessante email-Konversation mit dem Comiczeichner Dan Archer. Er ist Stipendiat des Knight-Project in Stanford und forscht dort gerade an Möglichkeiten, wie Reportagecomics im Internet mit interaktiven, multimedialen Inhalten angereichert werden.
Hier ein Auszug aus unserer Korrespondenz (meine Fragen sind fett ausgezeichnet):

People often ask me why i’m drawing pictures instead of taking photos. I’m sure you are familiar with that question. What’s your take on this?

People often forget that photos can be editorialized just as much as drawn images. Personally, I think a drawing is all the more sincere in explicitly revealing that the object depicted has been run through a subjective filter. All too often do readers forget that even a photographer has to crop in/out the elements they don’t want in a frame, and that’s before the editor has their say. Not to mention the possibility of it being tampered with in photoshop. To me, drawn images are the most accurate way of translating what’s in our heads onto paper – crystallizing our subjective experience. Provided a journalist is up front about that, I don’t see what the problem is, beyond the traditional aversion to what’s innovative versus something that’s been traditionally accepted. [Perfect example: Newsweek’s cropping of a Dick Cheney photo in 2009, prompting the longest comment thread ever on the NYTimes Lens blog -]

Without doubt drawings provide a very subjective view of the subject. So, how do you create authenticity? One answer to that question can be found in your hypercomic: By clicking on a panel the reader gets access to supporting documents. Thats a great way to prove your assertions. But are there other possibilities to convince the reader that you are telling the truth?

Sources are always going to be the key to authenticity, and linking is certainly one of the best ways around that. Incorporating more multimedia, housing multiple, corroborative views together could be another. I don’t think one single “truth” exists – even if you and I experienced the same event next to each other, we’d record and report it differently.

What do you think are the advantages of a digital reportage over a printed one? Does interactivity really help to tell good and authentic stories? Couldn’t it be to complicated and confusing?

I think interactivity is one of the few ways of demanding a reader’s engagement and involvement – readers/viewers get let off too easily these days in the era of clicking off youtube videos or channel surfing. Only by forcing the reader to drive the story can we be sure they are fully committed to the narrative – much like the way agency works in between comics panels to make sequential images seem like they’re part of the same story. It could well be complicated – the key is marrying a compelling story with an intuitive interface – no mean feat! (Not to mention being paid well enough to make it in the first place).