I’m not going to lie, I found out about Canon’s documentary series, “Tales by Light,” from a Facebook ad for the stock music site, MusicBed. I’m glad I did because the documentary series, which is gearing up for its second season, looks terrific. The the trailer brings to mind the kind of cinematography you might see on Planet Earth. You can see some of the content from Season 1 on Canon’s website. It’s also on its way to Netflix.
The series follows some of the world’s top photographers into the field to show how they practice their art. You’ll end up envious, both of their adventurous lifestyles and of their gear, of course.
There’s a great tidbit MusicBed has in its interview with filmmaker Abraham Joffe, the show’s creator, on how he came up with the idea for the series. Canon originally had asked him to do a standard head-and-shoulders interview with one of their Canon Ambassadors in Australia. It would have had the photographer doing the talking while viewers looked at his work on the screen. Instead, Joffe persuaded Canon to take a different tack:
“I said, ‘Well, guys, we can do that. But I reckon if you cover my flights, I’ll go to Tonga and film him diving with humpbacks.’ So we ended up shooting for nine days and came away with this six- or seven-minute piece that was one of the most successful bits of content they’d ever made. I think people were inspired by actually seeing this guy in the water. So after that, I went to the big boss at Canon and pitched the idea of turning this into a series. Showing what it takes for photographers to get the shot. He goes, ‘What if we took that idea but made it for TV?’ So basically he was on board immediately.”
It’s the most basic rule of storytelling and something marketers are finding out is the best way to inspire their target audience: Show us, don’t tell us.