From April to August 2020, our small co-operative of photographers decided to apply our documentary photography skills to tell a story about what seemed to be coming together as one of the most unique summers in recent memory. We started out with the intention of documenting an account of life under the shadow of an emerging pandemic, along with the adjustments required to prevent its spread. We looked at the consequences of lockdown, social isolation, supply shortages, and a permeating sense of unease towards the status quo.
2020 has definitely been the most unusual year we’ve lived in. The coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, from daily chores to big life events – including weddings. This is Reportage has chosen the best documentary wedding photos of this weird year, and they’re really something else! They show raw and unstaged moments of 2020 “corona-weddings,” and they are proof that nothing can stop the love.
While teaching a recent workshop I joked that street photography was the only genre where people would buy £3k worth of cameras and lenses and then deliberately use them to make out of focus, grainy, imperfect images. This led to a pretty interesting discussion about the merits to imperfection, and I think some of those points are worth sharing here, as it really helped contextualise some of the students ideas about their work, and allowed them to shoot a little more freely, chasing down perfection in moments rather than technicalities.
Recently I hit a milestone in my photographer’s career: I’ve accomplished 250 paid assignments. It took me ten years and half a million frames to get there. I thought it’s a decent reason to reflect a little bit on what has been done and what the journey feels like.
Photojournalism and documentary photography are fields that most of the time are developed gradually and exponentially while gaining more experience, building up a quality portfolio, and mastering the art of telling a story with a series of images.
Knowledge and skills are obtained with the pass of the years whereas working with the equipment that one could afford at that time. The logical step of development is upgrading equipment when the current gear isn´t enough, or simply does not live up to the final expectations of the work to be achieved.
One of the most powerful applications of photography has been as a tool to document some of the most important moments in recent history, whether that’s in terms of a shared history of the world in the form of photojournalism, or in the more personal history of family snapshots, personal photography, and street photography.
Photography for personal use is prevalent in everyday life perhaps more today than ever before; every dance-floor selfie on a night out is photographic storytelling, every published snapshot in some way contributing to the wider communal pool of stories being told. It is accessible to anyone with a smartphone, and the barrier to entry-level dedicated camera units is immensely low secondhand. Photography is essential in messaging apps, a part of daily communication like never before.
I think the question of whether something is or is not art is a bit disingenuous, and can be used more as a tool for gatekeeping than true analysis or critique. There is no objective standard for what makes something enjoyable as a piece of art, whether that is a photograph, music, sculpture, or a blade of grass in a field. However when it comes to the deliberate creation of an artefact I think that the intention of the creator is very powerful, and can offer some strong insight into the way that work can be interpreted.
Documentary portraits are becoming more popular than ever. While once more the domain of magazine features, they’ve become a lot more widespread over the last few years and can offer insight into a who a person is, rather than just what they look like. In this video, photographer Joris Hermans talks us through his seven top tips for shooting documentary-style natural light portraits.
We have discussed several times why shooting only with one lens can be a good call. And no matter the genre you shoot, you can benefit from using only one lens. In this video from Advancing Your Photography, documentary photographer Daniel Milnor will share three reasons why you should use only one lens if you’re shooting documentary photography.