The PechaKucha Teaches Entrepreneurs the Art of Storytelling


I have always admired theart of photography. The photograph has a single opportunity to magically capture that one moment in time that will never come around again. A couple of years ago I attended a Chicago Tribune hosted eventcalled the PechaKucha at Chicago’s House of Blues. PechaKucha, is a Japanese word for the ‘sound of conversation’, an event that brought together several award-winning photographers, videographers and editors as they presented their unique take on the world and told compelling stories through journalism. Since that evening, I have been learningthe importance of and putting more of a focus on telling my own unique story and that of The Entrepreneur Café, LLC. The following are stories from some of the evening’s presenters.

Chris Walker, Tribune Photographer. Chris was among a handful of reporters covering Somalia during the early days of civil unrest. There Chris met Daniel, a talented, young reporter whose work helped shed some light on the Somali crisis. Chris’s journalistic enthusiasm went dim as he described the last time he saw Daniel. During a time of intense U.S. and Somali relations (in the wake of the Blackhawk down incident) Daniel and several other journalists were dragged away by a mob and never seen again. Chris painted a vivid picture of Daniel’s life a stranger to most of us in the room and wondered what his remaining days would have been like if he had lived. He concluded that in life, “The journey is the destination.”

Rob Hart, Freelance Photographer. Rob used photographs to tell stories and encouraged photographers to a find a hook, and ways to leverage and share content. He posed the question, “What is your plan for keeping the story front and center in the mind of the general public?” After losing his job at the Chicago Sun-Times, Rob realized that he could now live life on his own terms. At one point Rob mocks his former employer producing a gallery event called ‘See What You Missed’. Reflecting on his life after the Sun-Times Rob delivered one of the more memorable quotes of the night, “Talents unused get lost.”

Alex Garcia, Tribune Photographer. Alex’s photo presentation was entitled, “20 Things I Never Thought I’d See”. 1. I never thought Obama would become President-recalling a time the young political hopeful hosted an event with hardly anyone in attendance. 2. The time he captured a room full of women washing their armpits. 3. A jetliner sitting in the middle of the street. 4. Capturing some of the filming for the movie Transformers as they blew things up. 5. Taking a ride on a fighter plane. 6. Photographing an astronaut’s shoe from the destroyed Columbia Shuttle that landed in someone’s backyard. 7. Having the opportunity to be on a journalism assignment to his homeland of Cuba.

Terrance Antonio James, Tribune Photographer Covering Chicago’s crime scene. In an evening filled with amazing stories, the seemed to belong to Mr. James who provided a glimpse into the Windy City that few ever hear about and rarely ever see. Choking back tears, Terrance describes the events that lead up to the blood stained ground and the image we were all looking at. Terrance’s stories felt like a revolving door of heartbreakyet through his narratives he found a way to humanize the tragedy. He discussed making sure that his photos could pass the “breakfast test” or the ability of the reader to view the image in question over their morning coffee or breakfast. Terrance described the discretion used in how the images are presented and even how he approaches friends and family connected to the incident. “Whenever I see a body I can’t help but wonder what the rest of their day would have been like.”

Other presenters giving their unique stories included:Scott Strazzante, whose photography documented a 20 year farm to commercial land project. Michael Wilkinson, a 24 year Architect at Cordwell Buenz discussed a book he published on design. Meg Theno, Senior Photo Editor at The Chicago Tribune, led the charge to get cameras in Illinois trial courts. Zbigniew Bzdak, Tribune photographer, developed street galleries with friends. Scott Rapp, Architect, presented on how pictures connect us with the past. Erin Mystiwski, Tribune Photo Editor discussed the progression of ethical standards in photojournalism and made The Chicago Tribune visual archives accessible.
Today an overwhelming number are using technology to tell their own stories as visual arts, images and pictures play anincreased role in howwe communicate our own unique brands. Regardless, of your chosen form of communique the following are5 Tips for Incorporating Imagery Into Your Brand.

  • Be passionate about what you cover as it translates in your images.
  • Without words would your image still tell a story?
  • Look to capture one-of-a-kind moments.
  • Photographs should look to capture real life.
  • Let others in to see a more personal side of you.
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