The Dying Art of Slideshows

| December 10, 2008

I had a great time last night showing some “slides” at the Mountain Hardwear store in Portland, Oregon.  A year ago, I told a skiing buddy I was giving a slideshow and he responded “Oh gawd – you still do those?  I haven’t given one for years.”  Truth be told, they take a lot of time and effort to put together, but I like doing them as it is a fun way to meet like-minded skiers in person and many of my adventures were born from seeing other people give slideshows and being inspired by their images and stories.

The Mother of All Slide-Show givers is Fred Becky.  If you have never seen one of his shows, it is the viewing equivalent of “War and Peace.”  Fred started putting together slideshows when he first started climbing 50+ years ago and just keeps adding to it.  I saw one of his shows a few years ago at Snowbird which I think was up to five or six trays of 144 slides and lasted about three hours.  It was epic.  Before the show I asked him what the show was on, and he just said “The same thing.”  As Fred continues on having adventures, he just adds the slides to the end of his show. Only Fred could get away with this.

Even if it has nothing to do with the show… save the best image for last. Killer pow at dawn in the central Wasatch Mountains – it’s going to be a good day of skiing.

Over the years, my shows have gone from about 90 minutes to 60, to 45+ and hopefully even less in accordance with the diminishing U.S. national attention span.  The shorter the better, which can be hard to do. One of the best slideshows I’ve ever seen had eight images and lasted about 20 minutes, but the guy was such a good story teller that it was enthralling.  The key to a good presentation is to love your audience (easy to do with a skiing crowd), edit images to those that tell the best story (which are often not the best images) and, save the best photo for last.

Category: Random

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (3)

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  1. g-money says:

    Hey Drew,
    I don’t think that slide shows are a dying breed I think that they are evolving into a stronger and more fit animal. Multi- media presentation.

    It’s no longer a slide to slide event, it can start with slides morph into a few movies, back to the slides, while all being accompanied by heart thumping music. The movies can also be silent with the presenter narrating along with the footage.

    Since I am doing more and more slide shows I hope that they are not dying.

    hey my first movie is up.

  2. Hart says:

    well timed. i’m working on my presentation for this weekend at the mwh store. it’s tedious work. i’ve decided to do a combo of pictures and lots of video with narrative along the way. the problem i’m running into is keeping it short. tough to do.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi Greg and Matt!
    “Changing art” of slideshows is a more apt title, but then again, as hardly anyone actually uses 35mm slides anymore (except Fred Becky), perhaps slideshows have already died.

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