Discovered Sian Davey’s work recently. She’s a mother and photographer documenting her family…very beautifully I might add. Check out the mini-doc, its worth your 12 minutes. Much props to her for shooting analog for this project, makes me want to peel open a roll of Kodak Portra 120.
I’ve gotta love / hate relationship with Instagram. Very few photos nowadays make my thumb stop mid scroll, all the photos…errr…I mean content looks the same. Influencers and wanna be influencers chasing likes and followers. But at the end of the day, Instagram isn’t a photography platform, it never really was. It’s a communications tool. Let’s call a spade a spade. Maybe that’s my issue, content creators passing for creatives…or dare I say photographers.
But every now and again there are voices on Instagram that I want to hear, and their work I want to see. One of those people is Dan Milnor. Dan is a creative no longer in the photo game so to speak and a straight shooter. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. Dan is always trying to find ways to stay creative, or seek creativity. I can certainly relate. He also lives in both in the film and digital world, lusting for his Leica and Kodak Tri-X, while appreciating the benefits of the mirrorless Fuji X system.
I was so bummed when I was in D.C. last month that I wasn’t able to visit the National Portrait Gallery to check out the exhibit: Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 because of the government shutdown. Thanks Trump.
I’ve been thinking for some time what I’d like to do with this space. I’ve had this blog forever and a day. And despite all the social media fads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever else in the digital ether, this blog has been steadfast and loyal, even when I haven’t reciprocated.
I’m looking to change that in 2019. How you ask? Well, I know this blog has a very limited audience, and over the years that’s been on purpose. Instead of publishing dispatches for the world to see, this blog has mainly an audience of one…me. Oh and my mom, so an audience of two.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read and write more. I used to love writing, when I was in middle school and through college. When I started working in public relations and marketing, I began writing for others and lost the passion for the written word. A lot has changed obviously since college. But I want to treat this space more a sketchbook, dairy, a journal if you well. Ya know a weblog. Returning to its original intent. This certainly won’t be a nicely curated set of images once might see on Instagram. It’s gonna be sloppy, messy, and coloring all out of the lines.
Hopefully my mom will continue to read this blog anyway.
Happy New Year.
I don’t skate, but photography wise I’m a Ray Barbee Stan…
Can I get an AMEN!!!!???
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.
I've been in a creative rut for a while. Yes, I've been shooting, and my camera comes with me every where I go. I'm currently working on a long term project around family, we'll see where that goes. But just when I thought I'd given up on street photography, the streets called me back.
To help jump start my creativity and provide some structure to my photography this summer I decided to go back to school. Well, taking a street photography class to be exact. I enrolled in a seven week course at the Photographic Center Northwest. The course is titled "Street Photography History, Concept and Techniques" and is described as:
My first day of class was earlier this week, the students seem engaged. We'll see, this could be fun. I'll be blogging about the class and sharing notes and thoughts here.
- Field work
- Create body of work
Shooting on location
- 7/10 Waterfront / Market
- 7/24 Ballard (meet in front of Majestic Theatre)
Street photography is
- social and political
- documentary in its approach
- about us as a collective culture and society
- longs for a desire to stay connected
- is the democratization of the work
- allows us to help better understand relationships
Significant versus Non-Significant
- Looking for a moment
- Street photography often compared to jazz
- Powers of observation
- Sense of time
- Often about place
- Moment of Gesture
Sense of connection between actors, stage, gesture
What Makes Street Photography Interesting
- Color tone
- Relationships of objects
- Lines, texture, space
- Feeling and emotion
- People (duh)
- Place (needs to be more than just a picture of a place, what’s the relationship?)
- Scout a location / select background: WAIT FOR SOME SHIT TO HAPPEN
Photographers to research
- Jay Maisel
- André Kertész
Spend time with your photographs (good and bad)
Must practice and work on atunement
Why am I interested in street photography?
- Be nice
- How you respond is important
- “Photography is already predatory in nature” Susanne Sontage
- Learn to frame a little off center
- Find a single location on the street and don’t move from that spot for at least an hour and photograph.
- Bring 6-10 images of the new work for review from single location project
Life rewards patience
- Find location
- Build composition
- Make photo