In Justin Kase Conder’s work, there was a lot of images of children. Children are the entree way into any civilization. For the photographs I made for this collection is I chose to also to focus on children. There was a family party at my girlfriend’s house and I tried to capture moments focused on the kids of the family.
I absolutely loved video from the Annenberg Space for Photography. All the elements of story telling really drew me in. Just as Robyn Davidson told Rick Smolan that her trip wouldn’t have been the same without him, this story would not have the same merit if it didn’t have all it’s story telling elements. The intertwining of the photographs, interview, and cinematic film visuals just worked so well together. I was truly captivated by the story. It was really engaging. The photographs that Smolan produced really show the beauty of the desert and the journey that Davidson went on. You can really see how he saw her in the way he captured her on camera. Although documentary photography is supposed to be unbiased, you cannot help but influence your own images. This is true in what he documented of her journey. This wonderful journey was documented so well by him, and I’m sure it would be different if another photographer were the one to be on assignment with her. No matter the type of photography or subject, the imagery is always about the relationship developed by the photographer and the subject.
The two following quotes from the video really resonate with me and I’m sure anyone in search of themselves would appreciate them.
“You are as powerful as you allow yourself to be.”
“Don’t let fear inhibit your life.”
Roberto Guerra is a very talented documentary photographer from San Antonio, TX that is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. His work usually addresses the social justice issues of the world. He has documented about places all around the world such as Ecuador, Peru, Barcelona, and even the United States. The project I decided to dive into was one of his stories of Ecuador, The Cofan. I really love his compostions, with a lot of them consisting of his subject being in the lower part of the frame allowing for more of their surroundings to be shown. He also captures the gaze of his subjects quite well, which just grabs your attention. In some of his photographs, there is an airiness that gives the world being depicted a majestic nature. The images of all the people are very intimate, and the viewer is easier invited into their world. It is images like these that make me love monochrome photography even more. There is just a quality to them that I think cannot be found in colored photographs.
One in 8 Million is a collection of photo stories published by The New York Times that utilized audio and photographs to tell the story of select New Yorkers. I really liked the way that the stories were delivered to the viewer. Hearing the voices of each person really gave each story a lot more personality. The combination of photos and voice overs made everything more intimate. I feel like I really got to know each story and grew some sort of attachment to them. Each story was genuine and you can’t help but love each person’s story. My favorite photo story out of the whole collection was about Candice Angelet, the Mambo Dancer. The images of her dancing and the way she talked about dance was something I could really relate to. She talked about dance with such passion. I love hearing passionate people talk about the things they are passionate about. It’s such an inspiration and makes me happy to know that I am doing something I am passionate about. If I were ever to to create a multimedia photo story, I would approach mine the way they did with One in 8 Million.
The photo story assignment was very interesting. It gave us a quick approach into doing a photo story on someone. It also ended up being an opportunity to get to know a fellow student.
Zoey is an international student from the U.K. and this is her first time to California. She really loves the beach and going to the movies. Back home, she used to spend lots of time just watching movies in the theater. She really wants to learn how to use a camera to take wonderful photos. It is a new skill she is still developing and I can’t wait to see where he process will take her.
Jerry Berndt was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1943. He is a documentary photographer that has series on the genocide in Rwanda, civil war in Haiti and the homeless people in the US. Brendt’s work is not foreign to publication, his work has been seen in the New York Times, Newsweek, and Paris Match.
The image of his that really captivated me at the Defying Darkness exhibit was his piece Hooker outside Ort’s Golden Nugget, which is a part of his Combat Zone Collection. The rest of that collection can be found at the Jerry Berndt Estate site. Since Jerry Berndt has passed, the Jerry Berndt Estate is responsible for cataloguing Berndt’s photos. They do a very good job by categorizing all the photos and make sure the technique used to capture the photos are recorded.
“This is photography as emotion. Jerry goes somewhere and makes you feel what it felt like, not just what it looked like.” Eugene Richards
When I went to shoot, I took inspiration from Jerry W. Berndt’s Hooker outside Ort’s Golden Nugget, The Combat Zone, Boston, MA.
The elements I took from it were the partially illuminated background and street portraiture. One of the first images I took, echoes what I was trying to emulate a bit. Lately, I have been finding that shooting in low light really lends well to black and white. When I was shooting with my lovely girlfriend, Bri, the only real sources of light we had was the lamppost above us. That light helped to highlight some of her clothes. I used the flashlight on my phone to expose her face a little more. For the images, that are more back-lit and show rim lighting, I used my car head lights. I chose to work with more limited resources to challenge myself a bit to see what I could create. I am quite happy about how this set of photos came out!
I think photographing strangers is an interesting way to approach life. It causes you to intervene in someone one’s life as well as capture a moment that will never be there again. Sometimes it will allow you to get to meet someone new and other times it may make you an enemy. It opens up the world to you that is different from simply taking photographs of things that are familiar to you. New stories are brought to the forefront, and you generally get to catch some natural moments. Usually when you put a camera to someone’s face, they tend to think there is a certain way they are suppose to act or look like. This then causes the moment that you captured to be more orchestrated than organic. I also think photographing strangers teaches you patience. By not initially approaching your subject, it forces you to wait for the perfect moment to snap the shutter button. Sometimes you’ll get the perfect shot, sometimes you won’t but you will learn to time things as you experience more and more of those moments.
I really enjoy Ed Ou’s need to explore the world as it is. Most people usually see the world at face value. They take it as it is presented to them and most of the time this a skewed view of the world. We are excited by flashy titles and extravagant photo posts. Our reality becomes whatever else is said by everyone else. Ed Ou is an example of the total opposite of current society’s train of thought. He wants people to see the as it is. No filters and real. He wishes to show the public what is happening in the world so they have no excuse of ignorance. This process of photography also gives ordinary citizens a voice in totalitarian nations. He believes that photography shows us the heartbeat of the world.