In Living in the Shadows: China’s Internal Migrants, producer David Campbell and photographer Sharron Lovell document three impoverished families in Shanghai China. The piece is largely made up of photos and includes a translating voice over for almost all of the video. Where China is known for its large population and its metropolis cities, this 15 minute photo piece shows the challenges and poverty that millions of undocumented immigrants face on a daily basis.
With the excellent use of voice overs, the video is able to masterfully tell a very intimate and unknown story. While initially the story begins with text providing background information, the story then unfolds with a bit of Chinese, and then the rest in voice over. For pieces that have foreign language, much of the emotion and feeling of the speaker can be lost in the translation to English. However, the speaker in this story was very engaging and made the viewer feel as if they were having a conversation with the immigrant. On the other hand, the one issue that the voice over caused was a lack of natural sound. There were many pictures of people working on construction sites or going to markets to sell things. If these pictures were accompanied by natural sound, it would have better brought the viewer into the scene and also would have broken up the story.
When covering a broad topic such as immigrants and poverty, it is important to focus the topic and make it more personal. This piece centers on three families, thus allowing the viewer to make a connection with them and genuinely care about the story they are telling. There was also a diversity in the subjects, both including men and women. In centering the topics, this allowed for a large variety of photos and scenarios of the subjects. The photographer allows the viewer to see both the person’s work life, as well as where they sleep and their family life. This diversity adds depth to the piece and makes the viewer feel like they better know the subject.