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Video: California Is A Place

A still from

Above: A still from "El Rey" the documentary from "California is a Place."

I love good storytelling - it's why I'm in this business. But what gets me even more excited is good photography and when the two forms meet, well, I'm giddy. This is how experienced the work of filmmaker Drea Cooper and photographer Zackary Canepari, the two artists behind the short documentary series "California is a Place." In 7-8 minute documentaries, Cooper and Canepari focus on individuals who rarely have their stories told, and by doing so, they sharpen the edges of one's sense of California. On their website they write:

California is humanity run amuck and then packaged, branded and sold. California Cuisine, California Love, California Casual, California Gold, California Girls, and of course, California Dreams. If it exists in the world, it exists here and it does so with pizzaz.

I've included two of their videos here (though I encourage you to go to the website and look at the others). Notice how beautifully they are shot - the ultra-wide shots, the angles, the details they zoom in on, completely unafraid to thwart documentary conventions. Cooper and Canepari have a style that fosters intimacy with their subjects.

The first video is about a Mariachi player in East Los Angeles. The second is about young kids outfitting their bikes in style in Oakland, CA.

"El Rey" from California is a Place

The story of a Mariachi player Saul Ezqueda, who lives and works in East Los Angeles.

"Scrapertown" from California is a Place

The trend to adorn one's bike and ride around Oakland is documented in "Scrapertown" from the artists behind "California is a Place."

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