Raymond McCrea Jones – Damian’s Ride

Raymond McCrea Jones worked as a journalist with the NY Times after finishing up his journalism degree at UNC. While at the NY Times, Jones did a number of very, very powerful multimedia projects, including “Damian’s Ride” which in my book is just flat-out magnificent.

Click image below for short film on NY Times site.

What struck me most about this project was Jones’ pacing and suspense. Jones begins with close-ups of Damian pedalling, but with sub-titles we quickly learn that something may not be right. “When I’m riding a bike I feel like a normal person….” we read — so why wouldn’t this guy feel like a normal person when he’s off a bike. Boom – in the first 12 seconds I’m hooked. At 0:36 seconds we learn more: Damian is training to compete in the Paralympics. Okay, but from the images at this point you don’t see what’s wrong. We’re 1:10 into this film before we see Damian’s face. By then we know his backstory, how as a boy he was electrocuted while trying to recover his kite, leading to his disfigurement.

Also striking is the transposition of beauty and, hmmm, how do I say this?: awful. Jones’ records richly colored images of Damian’s action and bike, especially in the early portions of the film. Then Jones gives us Damian’s face. Wow. Those two components placed so closely together is really emotionally charged.

Wonderful angles. Wonderful story. Wonderful resolution. This is just…wonderful.

Raymond McCrea Jones now works as a commercial photographer in Atlanta, GA.

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