the best of qualities is dispassion

Digital Story Response No. 5: “Josef”

In my search for a digital story for this week’s critique, I finally realized that digital storytelling has become an important outlet for people who feel the need to share their pain. I encountered so many tragic stories of violence, including war, child abuse, sexual assault, racism, neglect and more. Some of which were so painful and filled with emotion that I couldn’t finish them. I can only hope that those sharing their tragic stories are able to use digital storytelling as part of their healing process. I also hope that those of us who inflict such pain on others learn from them.

Although these are crucially important stories, how could I possibly critique them, hence I settled on a more pleasant story, Josef. The digital story Josef was produced by Brad Johnson, it tells a compelling story of appreciation for what is, while also reminding us of the importance of perspective. Josef is the narrator’s maternal grandfather who came from the old country and lived through very hard times in the United States. Josef appreciates what he has, most importantly family and abundant food. The discussions at family gatherings are centered on food, which was difficult for the narrator to comprehend when he was a child.

This digital story is artfully crafted and really works, as it engaged me and held my attention until the end. The way in which the narrator slowly reveals the identity of Josef is very interesting, as he had me asking, who is Josef, which kept me focused on his story. The still images intermixed with the framed video elements was very impressive and encouraged me to investigate the technique.  The black and white videos and photos floating across the screen mixed with dated color videos effectively provide the mood for the story. The audio was crisp and clear and the narrator’s voice and pace were well matched to the images. The background music was pleasant and helped sustain the pace of the story and at the correct level. This digital storyteller had command of the media and created a very successful digital story. Thanks for sharing!



2 thoughts on “Digital Story Response No. 5: “Josef””

  • Hi Robert,
    “I finally realized that digital storytelling has become an important outlet for people who feel the need to share their pain. I encountered so many tragic stories of violence, including war, child abuse, sexual assault, racism, neglect and more. Some of which were so painful and filled with emotion that I couldn’t finish them.”
    I will never forget seeing a guest speaker come to my middle school, he was a survivor of the holocaust and started his horrific experiences. There are not many survivors left and having individuals share their experiences through digital storytelling allows history to become and feel more real. —NG

  • It was a joy to watch the story of Josef. And in light of your analysis I can say that digital stories can be a vehicle through which people can convey all types of experiences. People can talk about their successes, their failures, they moments of joy or sadness, their struggles, etc. Moreover to me the story of Josef can be seen as a reminder of the importance of the elderly people in the upbringing of younger generations as they usually have the best stories in the family. For instance Alex Haley was able to write his masterpiece “Roots” thanks to the stories told by Cousin Georgia, the only member of the older generation still alive when Alex Haley gets to work on the book. That’s why Haley later say that anytime he saw or heard that someone was a grandfather he wanted to hug him.
    Thanks Robert for sharing the story.

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