Behind the Lens with Jym

A Word from the Carbon Trace Productions Leadership Team Member Jym Wilson:

Jym Wilson comes to Carbon Trace Productions following a 38-year career in photojournalism, the last 18 as a Senior Photo Editor at USA Today focusing on entertainment coverage.

Jym brings expertise in planning coverage of large events, (including fifteen Academy Awards shows); in-depth, long-form story planning and journalism ethics.
With a deep background in still photography, he approaches video production with an eye for compelling visuals.
A new resident of Missouri he finds great pleasure in seeing the region with a fresh eye.

Springfield MO — Springfield Street Choir 
© 2020 Photo by Jym Wilson
EXIF , NIKON D750 #3121015; 2/11/20 @4:10:01 PM; 360mm, 1/200@f6; 10000asa; Manual;AUTO2

Working with the crew producing “Songs from the Street” was my first experience working with Carbon Trace Productions. It has also been my first up-close exposure to some of Springfield’s homeless people since moving here from Washington DC in the summer of 2019.

“I was struck by how the members of the Springfield Street Choir respond to the opportunity for socialization that their rehearsals and performances offer. The isolation of homelessness is lifted for a time as rehearsals create a common goal and a meal offers sustenance and community.

Springfield MO — Springfield Street Choir
© 2020 Photo by Jym Wilson
EXIF , NIKON D750 #3121015; 2/11/20 @4:41:56 PM; 600mm, 1/200@f6.3; 10000asa; Manual;AUTO2

Rather than looking past them, as so many of us tend to do with homeless people, being with them gives me the chance to say hello, show interest in their individual lives or compliment them on the afternoon’s rehearsal.

Those quick interactions are a subtext for part of the very reason for the documentary. To help introduce these folks as disparate personalities who like to gather and sing rather than as people to fear or repulsed by.

That’s not saying there aren’t people who put off an angry vibe or who would really appreciate some new clothes and a long hot shower. But then who hasn’t gone home from work upset or angry and who hasn’t come in from a long day working outside needing to get cleaned up?

MO — Springfield Street Choir
© 2020 Photo by Jym Wilson
EXIF , NIKON D750 #3121015; 2/11/20 @4:08:39 PM; 600mm, 1/100@f6.3; 10000asa; Manual;AUTO2

My role in the production team is a supporting one. I light interviews, film b-roll, maybe ask a follow-up question here and there. But sometimes my background in photojournalism pushes forward and I just have to make still photographs. It’s usually when the choir members are so in the moment that their cares really do seem to have left them for a few minutes. I can see it in their eyes and smiles when they enjoy singing a song particularly well or when they are concentrating on a difficult piece of music and want to get it right.

Photojournalists call it “being a fly on the wall.” It’s that moment when for the most part your subjects forget you’re there or chose to ignore your presence. In no small part, it’s based on trust and understanding. It’s something that’s earned not deserved or expected. The Springfield Street Choir gave the Carbon Trace Productions team a gift in trusting us to tell its story.”

Carbon Trace can provide significant guidance in developing, funding, producing, and distributing a documentary film. For high school students wishing to learn more about documentary filmmaking, Missouri State University offers degrees in digital filmmaking, media production, journalism, and other associated areas.

To take part in the documentary education provided through the Carbon Trace Team we encourage you to apply for a filmmaking internship, submit a documentary idea, or apply to become a volunteer using the forms below.

Join Carbon Trace as a student volunteer

Apply for an internship

Submit a documentary idea

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Check out our Patreon memberships. At the $5 per month level of support, you get free VIP codes for all Carbon Trace pay-per-view movies, including the right to download a copy to keep! It’s a great way to watch our documentary films while supporting our nonprofit mission of documentary education and humanitarian service.