Elections and Remebering


My Spanish teacher told me that someone had presented one of the presidential candidates here with a great bag of raisins.  According to Chilean lore, they are supposed to help you remember.

I’ve been working freelance for La Tercera, one of the major Chilean newspapers.  They brought me in especially to produce multimedia projects.  My first project was to explore some of the major themes of the presidential elections here.  I looked at education, health, crime and social protections, with short videos meant to demonstrate just a sliver of each problem.  Listed too, are the proposals the candidates have for each challenge.   Los Desafíos que Deberán Enfrentar los Candidatos

One story I would like to point out is the health story – Salud.  There is a great deal of talk about the problems and inefficiencies with the public health care system in Chile.  I went to two different public hospitals for this story.  They are dirty and spare.  The patients had to wait for hours and hours sometimes to be seen.  The chairs are plastic, the soda machines don’t work.  Everything seems worn.  Last week, with a cold, I went to a private hospital.  (They are called clinics when they are private, hospitals when they are public.)  The place was impeccable, easily rivaling the appearance of any US hospital.  The doctor was standing outside his office waiting for us.  His office was immaculate with all of the latest technology.  He was efficient and personable.  He was also very expensive.  The hospitals, on the other hand, are free.  The patient that I followed had a cleft palate.  He had incredible reconstructive surgery and an wonderfully attentive physician to care for him and who will continue to care for him until he is nearly 18.  My point in this: when people complain about the health care system here, I defend it, to an extent, because there are many in the US who would love to have any level of free care.  At the same time, I cannot imagine how the US will ever create a health care system that will maintain the same level of service and aesthetics that the US is accustomed too. If you watch it, I recommend you think about this system in terms of the US system.

There are, naturally, parts of this project with which I am not satisfied.  When you show your portfolio, you are constantly warned not to make excuses.  Is this the same?  Is an honest public criticism of your work a disservice to yourself?  I suppose one would then ask, why didn’t you make it better?  In which case the excuses enter, and I don’t believe in excuses.   For now, this will be treated as a portfolio work in which I acknowledge that there are flaws, but that it is what I am doing and what I could do with the tools and time I had.  I will not, however, be pointing out those flaws.  By the way, I did find and edit down those candidate proposals all by myself.

I need to post this tonight because tomorrow I start another, again, exploring the themes of the elections.  It goes without saying but should be mentioned that Nacho was a huge help to me with the language and with visual advice.

Had this blog been up earlier, I suspect I would have had discussions on each day of shooting, along with some of my favorite images from the day.  Now, I conceive of it as a whole, and I don’t feel that I can return, nor do I have time to return and review each of the 8 or more days of shooting this project took because tomorrow I begin anew, this time looking at lack of housing, the difficulties faced by people with handicaps, and the public transportation system.

As I noted in an earlier comment response, I am exploring the possibility of entering the stock (video/photo) market.  This thought has occurred to me before.  However, it is like the entering of contests.  Everything is buried in hard drive upon drive, and I do not know how to begin to return to find those things that I need now months or years later.  It’s like what happens to the memory of a day’s shoot.  Somehow, most of it fades, and all that remains is maybe some stills or a video.  I guess that’s why this blog is good – it allows for those days to be recorded in a place with permanence, the internet.