Capturing the Art of Storytelling in Music Videos & More: An Interview with Ian Glass

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Ian Glass has an eye for storytelling.

When local artist, photographer, videographer, and creative intellectual Ian Glass told me he started photo and video work just a couple of years ago when his dad handed him a 35mm Fujica film camera as a college graduation gift, I was baffled. After working with him on the set of Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 music video, I assumed he’d been crafting his talents for far longer.

Watch Whiskey Autumn’s 07.04.07 official music video by Ian Glass:

Born in Connecticut, Glass moved to Colorado with his family when he was just four. He describes his childhood like most of us Colorado kids spending a lot of time outside doing Colorado things: hiking, biking, skiing, camping, climbing. But he grew up with a lot of art around him as well.

“I have always liked art. My father makes custom fine furniture and his father was an architect. There were always a lot of drawings and paintings around when I was growing up and so I’ve always been inclined to explore art.”

Ian Glass.

Ian Glass.

Combining his passions for art and all things outdoors, Glass stayed in Colorado for school and went to CU, majoring in English and Humanities “so that I could better understand stories and story structure”. The more you talk to him, the more you’ll see that storytelling is what Glass and his art do best: through his still photography work, his video productions, and even his descriptions of imagery and composition.

“I like anything that you have to spend a lot of time exploring. I like the challenge of capturing moments- when you’re in them, you have to figure out how to communicate what’s happening to someone else, to share it and have [your audience] feel as you feel. You have to let that voice inside of you speak to the things outside and simultaneously give yourself the opportunity to try and capture that moment. To be able to take out your camera and take that picture when you see something and you realize, ‘There it is; [it] calls to you when you look at it.' The first step is seeing that and training yourself to see that; letting the voice inside of you speak to that... from there it’s how you refine and capture things. How you frame it, capture the lighting, get the right angle, capture the depth of field, isolate the subject- and then there are the technical skills. It’s all about figuring out, ‘How can I capture what has presented itself to me?'”

Glass first learned how to capture those moments with his Fujica exploring still photography.

“Still shots and getting to explore composition and to look at life through a lens was interesting and I liked it. The transition from that was getting into film- I like how much more dynamic video is. You can explore so much more and it allows the viewer to become more absorbed in the piece if you do it right. There’s the content happening in the composition and then the transition to the next show where you build that content all over again and you allow that flow between the two shots to happen on a subconscious level where the viewer might not be aware of the change. Simultaneously, you’re creating this environment for your subject to inhabit as well. You’re creating this subtle nod of surrealism that doesn't fully take over what’s happening, but it allows you to create something with this little flair of who you are as a person beyond your film. It’s having a relationship with the camera and your art, which can be as meaningful as a relationship with someone else. Knowing that, you have to make your environment and refine your transitions and master those transitions. That’s what I now aim for with every project I do."

And Glass is building quite the list of projects. After starting his company Ian Glass Media just a year ago, Ian’s worked with local musicians like Brett Randell, Natural Motives, Tyto Alba, and Whiskey Autumn on music videos. He’s also done more commercial photo and video work for outdoor adventure companies like Topo Designsand he’s worked with a number of startup companies, including Spark and Revel Gear. He’s interested in documentary work too and has plans for a possible project telling “the stories of grandparents” at a local retirement home. When it comes to the variety in clientele, Glass said:

“Whether it’s creative or corporate, you kind of storyboard something, but that's on a piece of paper, it’s not there yet. So then it’s like, ‘Ok now we have to make this.’ With every project, there is something that calls to you, something that you’re enamored by. You want to bring that creation to the point where you’re smitten with what you’ve made and then you want to repeat that in every single scene. It’s really delicate, but it’s exciting. You’re taking an idea or abstraction and bringing it into a concrete thing that you can share, and you just keep refining it over and over until it’s where you want it to be, where you need it to be. I only take on projects I know I can deliver what I promise. And with every one, I set a higher standard for myself in everything I do. I like what I do, I enjoy what I do, but I want to be better every time.”

So what’s next for Ian Glass?

“My next chapter is knowing I need to branch out and have some set of tutelage and use that as a portfolio to get into a production house and learn more. Of course I’m open right now for new projects too. And then there’s grad school- I want to study more about film and more about culture and anthropology. ”

With Glass, it all seems to come back to furthering his understanding of capturing those moments; of that refinement on creating what’s storyboarded or seen in a scene; of storytelling. That’s Ian Glass- a masterful storyteller practicing his craft with the creative human spirit of others- in imagery, in music, in invention, in film. In life as it’s lived.

Learn more about Ian Glass and check out his numerous projects here.


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All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.