About: Take A Picture, Tell A Story
I’ve always loved the interplay between words and photos. Together they can be more than the sum of their parts.
In a sense I’ve been working on “Take A Picture, Tell A Story” my whole career. During the summer of 1974, I went to Appalachia on my first photo project, spending three months documenting the coal miners’ strike in Harlan County, Kentucky. Along with a meagre amount of photo gear, I took a tape recorder and mic.
In 1996, two years into “Lost Promise: the Criminal Justice System,” I recorded stories for the text for the project. Since then I have done extensive audio recording for projects on emergency health care and the Pacific Exchange.
“Take a Picture, Tell A Story” is a continuation of “Lost Promise.” While working on a short project documenting the closing of San Francisco County Jail 3, then the state’s oldest county jail, a simple idea and phrase kept nagging at me. The phrase, “I take your photo, you tell me a story” sums up the idea. It was 2006 and San Francisco Sheriff Hennessey said yes.
Now this ongoing project has a name and a place to be seen and heard.
Robert Gumpert, November 2009