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Living in the Story: A New Documentary Film by Lynn Estomin

Living in the Story: A New Documentary Film by Lynn Estomin

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Lycoming College is hosting the premiere screening of Lynn Estomin’s new documentary, “Living in the Story,” on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall, located on the corner of Fourth and Basin streets, in Williamsport. The event is open and free to the public.

“Living in the Story” documents thirty-five years of art making by the distinguished photographic artist Patrick Ryoichi Nagatani, one of the most brilliant photographic artists of our era. A third-generation Japanese American, he pioneered the Contemporary Constructed Photographic Movement in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Deeply concerned and well informed about world history and events, the artist has since the 1980s completed several projects addressing modern day’s anxieties, with particular emphasis on the threat of nuclear technology.

Nagatani is well-known for his unorthodox techniques of constructing tableau photographs from sets, sculptures, models and paintings, as well as for his subtle weaving of fact and fiction. He believes that there is no truth in a photograph, claiming it is “merely a reproduction of a moment,” and concerns himself rather with the narrative aspect. The “magic” in a work, as he said, is “living in the story.”

The documentary is directed by Lynn Estomin, a video and interactive media artist, as well as professor of digital art and design at Lycoming College. Her works deal with political subjects and reflect a strong interest in human stories and what they tell us about society. Prior to “Living in the Story,” Estomin had directed nine other documentaries on a variety of human rights issues, including domestic violence, women in the military, racial profiling, teenage pregnancy, etc.

Estomin’s award-winning documentaries have been exhibited at film festivals internationally and broadcasted nationally on PBS. Her web art won awards from Adobe Corporation and The Webby Awards. Estomin has also received grants and fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Art Matters Inc., Cincinnati Commission on the Arts, Kodak Corporation, Ilford Corporation, Sony Corporation, SIGGRAPH, the Luce Foundation, and the Women's Film Project. This project was made possible by a sabbatical and a professional development grant from Lycoming College. Commenting on her latest work, she said, “I was honored and humbled to collaborate on creating ‘Living in the Story,’ a documentary about [Nagatani’s] life and work […] the film is driven by his personality, storytelling and art.”

In spite of their serious content, Patrick Nagatani’s innovative images are compelling and (darkly) entertaining. One of his work, for instance, portrays people watching a nuclear bomb go off and taking photographs in a cinema-like setting. Such juxtapositions have distinguished Nagatani as an engaging artist, raconteur and activist. Senior Curator of Photographs at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX, John Rohrbach remarked, “I love it – I love that Patrick tells the tale entirely himself; that he steps beyond the front world of the filming to take me into his looping mind. The fun of the journey comes across beautifully, yet also the political pointedness, punctuated by curt phrases – like about becoming Catholic to fit in ‘but that didn't work.’ "

“Living in the Story” will also screen in March at the SPE (Society for Photographic Education) National Conference in Philadelphia and at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. In June, it will screen as the opening event of a retrospective exhibition of Nagatani's work at the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe.

‘Living in the Story’ trailer:

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