This week in class we critiqued each others homework. The homework assignment was to find one spot and photograph it for an hour, and bring 6-10 images from that shoot. Essentially working the scene.
Here's what I shot:
Nothing really special here, but it was certainly the most time I've ever spent in one specific spot to photograph. I literally stood there for an hour making images. Here's some of the general critique I received along with my classmates from the assignment:
- Watch for distractions
- Experiment with crops if needed (really wasn't feeling this, crop is still a bad word for me).
- Pay attention to cutting off body parts
- Move around, work the scene
- Photo story versus photo essay
- Try to give your photograph a sense of place
- Look for the moment of gesture
- Balance and counter balance
- Seek pattern and repetition
This was the first formal critique of my work that I've ever received, and I found it beneficial. Let's be honest the Instagram comment of "dope photo" <insert thumbs up emoji> doesn't really benefit one, if you're actually trying to improve. With that said, what I'm really enjoying about the class so far is the time we spend actually looking, studying and analyzing the work of great street photographers. Keeping an eye toward layering, and space, looking for gesture etc. I've already found myself elevating my comments on social media commenting about layering, composition and juxtaposition. Way better than "dope photo" <insert thumbs up emoji>.
In this class we also selected a street photographer to present at the end of month, I chose Jamel Shabbaz. I'm a big fan of his work with his mix of street photography and portraiture and this also blends my love of hip-hop and photography. Win. Win. Looking forward to learning more about Mr. Shabbaz and sharing it with my class.
The remainder of class we studied work from some of the street photography masters throughout history:
- Paul Martin
- John Thompson
- Eugene Atget
- Paul Strand
- Alex and Rebecca Webb
- Bruce Davidson
- William Eggleston
- Stephen Shore
- Ernst Hass
- Fred Herzog
- Jay Maisel
We were reminded that we're looking at the very best work from these photographers, and not to be discouraged. Think of all of Garry Winogrand's contact sheets and the photos no one ever saw.
One key point, I learned and will try to keep in mind way forward is, when street photography is done right, it's simple.
- Magnum Contact Sheets (already own it)
- The Nature of Photographs, Stephen Shore
If you've read this far, thanks for keeping up with the ramble. These notes are more for me to reflect and digest on the previous class. For the next class, we'll me meeting at Pike Place Market (tourist trap) for some actual shooting.
Until next time. Peace.