Wasted film can save a life. In the moving short documentary “Waste of Film” by Kansas City agency Barkley, photographer Travis Young recounts the story of his unimaginably grim youth and attempts on his own life—and how he ultimately reclaimed his life through the lens of a camera.
In “Waste of Film”, we meet 28-year-old Young three years after a second failed suicide attempt. After going to therapy, Young came to the realization that an abusive childhood left him unable to process even simple emotions. So he started using a film camera to journal these incomprehensible emotions. “Whether I was upset or happy, the fact that I couldn't see what I was making was appropriate because I couldn’t understand what was going on internally,” Young says. As he developed the film in his Kansas City apartment, he discovered that he was taking more than just pictures. “I was taking care of my emotions, I was taking care of these thoughts, these memories, these points in time,” he says.
Young’s story is brought to life by Josh Dubois, a director and editor at Barkley. Dubois is spearheading a documentary series produced by Barkley, KC Loves, which celebrates creativity in art, business and life within Kansas City. In the fall of 2017, Young told his story publicly to an audience at Barkley headquarters. His highly personal account of abuse, depression, suicide and resilience, deeply touched Dubois and inspired him to tell Young’s story on camera.
“I think most photographers consider 90% of what they shoot to be a waste of film and 10% to be where a simple image becomes something powerful,” says Dubois, “It’s in that margin where Travis lives daily and why he encourages all photographers to keep wasting film.”
KC Loves features a collection of fearless creators who are special enough to do what they do anywhere in the world, but choose to do so in Kansas City.
“Waste of Film” makes its debut during Suicide Prevention month and provides the toll free number to the national suicide prevention hotline at the end of the film.