Mia Kirshner on Successful Field Work

Question: How did you get your subjects to write?

Kirshner: So, what I would do is I would go into these places, I would collect the writing which was really a process and sort of it was like mining for something. They, the subjects, would write and I would go back and I would say, well, what about this sort of can you try this or maybe think about this. Just to get it into a place where it felt like we could actually put the writing in the book and it was of a high standard. And then, I would’ve collected the ephemera from the environment that I was in. Like in Juarez, I had hundreds of lottery tickets that I found on the side of the road, like old notebooks and flower sacks donated by a… like the world food program or you know, like the Danish Refugee Council or something like that. So, all of this ephemera would come back.

Mia Kirshner had to elicit good writing from her subjects and shoot video for http://www.i-live-here.com

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