Jake R. Rutherford - Visual Storyteller
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NYC Salt

When I walked into a minefield on day 1 of a week long assignment with Bittersweet Monthly in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), I received a modicum of insight into what life must be living among the explosive vestiges of the decades ago war. We were there to understand and convey this reality while highlight the work Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) and their local partners are doing in the region to remediate this issue.

Project Scope: Story Research & Development, Photography, Photo Editing

Publication: A Land of Honey, Plums and Landmines • Bittersweet Monthly, October 2018

Organization: Marshall Legacy Institute

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The Eyes for Those to See

Some sort of on the ground insight, practice a hook. Allude to the context of why I was there, for BS and NYC Salt.

Project Scope:
Story Research & Development, Photography, Photo Editing, Reporting & Writing

Publication:
NYC Youth, Cameras and a New Way of Seeing • Bittersweet Monthly, September 2019

Organization:
NYC Salt

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NYC Salt invites high school students into a two-and-a-half-year photography program. The students hail from neighborhoods that don’t typically get an artistic hearing: Hell’s Kitchen and parts of Queens, the south Bronx and Brownsville.

CHALLENGE

Collaborating with Bittersweet Monthly, we sought to highlight the process, outcomes and impact that NYC Salt was having on its students and alumni throughout the core components of the story (text, photo, and video).

Organizations like salt are often focuses on their process and outcomes. Measurable impact can be much more difficult to explain, especially as it grows beyond the field of photography. Another core obstacle is that with so many assets and characters, and new reporting photography, how do you align on a mechanism of visual navigation?

We crafted our photographic challenge statement: How could we demonstrate the diversity of impact that _____ and cover the breadth of ______, while maintaining the visual thread that ties the story together in a way that enables audience navigation.

STRATEGY

In story planning, we determined the written story would be program context and deep dives on a handful of personal stories, while the video would focus on the photographic process itself on an individual basis. The photography would take a broader approach.

Our Photographic Theme: More than just photographic skills and educational support, NYC Salt provides the process for art to be a mechanism of change to how a student sees themselves, the world, and how they engage with it. Photography can facilitate Personal Discovery, Community Discovery and Context / Environment Discovery.

We decided that the photographic portion of the story would be three threads.
- Portraits with artist profiles from reporting
- Portfolio photos selected by the portrait subject with artist reflections
- Interstitial general work of scene setters from students

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The lives behind
the photographs

We first focused on those who were directly and physically impacted by the issue and the relationships that are developed surrounding their injuries. The majority of landmine victims are civilians, therefore we sought the balance between those who were injured in battle or in the post-conflict years.

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The images itself

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Left: Image by Stella Estrella

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— Somebody, VP of Something, NYC Salt