Canon’s Ron Howard-led Project Imaginat10n combines industry experts with amateur photographers to create short films inspired by stills. The idea is to inspire some of the best and brightest minds at our disposal with photography and to see where it takes us. It’s creativity and art for the sake of creativity and art, and the contest-entered images and resulting films have been nothing short of impressive.
This year, the celebrity directors include Twitter and Obvious Corp co-founder Biz Stone, who we caught up with recently to talk about Project Imaginat10on (among other things). Today, Canon and Stone are releasing the 10 photographs he’s picked to inspire and lead his film, which you can see in the gallery below.
The process of choosing photographs took about an hour and a half – and if you noticed one that stands out among the rest, you aren’t alone. “All of these photos kind of go together in a lot of ways, but it’s this one that’s either going to make us or break us,” Stone says, referencing the last of the bunch (above).
As to his involvement with Project Imaginat10n, Stone was clearly chosen to represent the tech and startup world, although he also muses a run-in with Ron Howard didn’t hurt his selection either. “I’m probably making this up, but I have a feeling that Ron remembered me from a party we met at a few years ago,” he says. “I told him that I’d given a speech to Twitter in the early days. I told him: ‘About two years ago, I told my team at Twitter that we’re a very, very young company, yet we’re getting an incredible amount of attention, so in many ways we’re like a young child actor, and in many ways we have the opportunity to grow into a troubled adult. If we do things right, and form the right company culture, we’re may be able to grow up like Ron Howard.’”
Whether or not this actually was part of Stone’s inclusion in the project, he’s thrilled to be a part of it. “I actually started out as an artist, so for me this is such a joy because I get to take a break from over a decade of developing large scale communication systems and dig into something that for me is, on one level, purely creative, and on another level exploring a medium that’s still hugely important in terms of transmitting ideas,” Stone says. “So I hope to be able to do something that’s fictional and fun but still aspirational.”
Stone, who began his career with a background in graphic design and is also familiar with photo research, says his relationship with photography for the most part is one of “purely joy and fun.”
“I take pictures all the time, and I’ve always had Canon point-and-shoots,” says Stone. “I’m mostly a point-and-shoot person because I like to do things quickly and easily and the lightweight nature lets me hold up the camera or throw it up in the air with a two-second timer on it.” While his current experience level might be entry-level, he wants to be a part of the filmmaking experience he’s beginning on every level.
“What I want to do is play. One of the ideas I have is to tell a story within a story, and this will allow me to experiment with certain capabilities, and I want to be able to push creatively and technically,” he says. “I want to work with the cinematographer and the director of photography and ask a lot of questions … ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?’ Hopefully at the end of this, I’ll be able to do more.”
Details about Stone and his team’s story are still under wraps, though he did mention he’s interested in the story focusing on “a young girl learning to be strong and realizing she’s important — something fantastical, playful, and yet aspirational.”