Oral Histories

I am so excited to share this project with you! It is a collection of recorded interviews, oral histories if you will, with members of our church. They are raw conversations, edited only for the sake of time. Though unscripted they are yet substantive, and will hopefully serve not only as a way to get know our people a little bit better, but also as an educational moment about history itself and the power of vulnerability. The project is called “There’s silver in those pockets” — a quote from our first conversation with Antonia Kok when describing the value of interpersonal interactions. The recordings will be released over a series of Thursdays, and as the project expands, will continue to do so in bursts of three-four at a time.

Some background: I was with Jill Bown and her family when her father died. The night before, Jill and her brother shared stories with me about his life, and I was blessed with a composite of a beautiful man who achieved a great many things. We gathered again shortly thereafter, and Jill wondered aloud about applying what happened with her father and me to the rest of our community. As in, maybe let’s not wait until our loved ones die before we share their stories (or better yet, listen to them share it), but let’s do it now! Well, immediately my soul soared, as for years I’ve wanted to do something combining my interests in photo/video and the lives of our seniors, but I could never quite articulate a proper vision for it. Well, here it is, all thanks to Jill.

Each conversation was recorded in the participant’s respective home and living room, using only the available lighting, utilizing my three-camera setup. Each conversation lasted about an hour and a half, which I then edited down to about 12-14 minutes. As stated, none of these conversations were scripted. And honestly, I think it turns out for the better; for the end-product is not a rehearsed documentary, but an authentic and somewhat surprising window into the more significant moments of the lives of our dear ones.

If you would like to share and record your own story, just let me know.

Thanks everyone,

-Brian Russo