Earlier this week, photographer Jeanine Thurston shared a letter that she received from a client that powerfully illustrates the value of photography. Thurston writes,
This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago. I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now. It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either. If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.
The post quickly went viral and has amassed hundreds of comments from fellow photographers who were impacted by the letter. Read more…
Here’s an interesting video in which acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (the guy who directed The Fog of War) talks about the issue of truth in photography, and how he thinks we’ve forgotten that there’s a connection between photos to the physical world.
Photographs are neither truth nor false. Talking about the truth or falsit of a photograph is nonsense talk [...] All photographs are posed.
He also makes the point that sometimes photographs are posed by excluding things.
I think one of the dynamics at play is that work that was recognized in the past triggers interest in similar work in the present. In other words, we have this library of images in our minds and when we see images that are similar to the images that we think are great, there’s an association, a connection that is positive. These are derivative images. But instead of being a negative aspect, these images get elevated, often to the highest awards and often without realizing we’re just awarding what worked in the past.
That’s the nature of the cliché: I’m photographing a subject that was deemed good in the past, therefore the photo I make today will also be good. As a judge, the perspective is: This type of photo has been recognized in the past, therefore we should recognize it today.
His advice for photographers looking to break free of subjects that have been beaten shot to death? Do the hard work of researching prior work, and think about breaking new ground in either the subject, story, or storytelling method.
Here’s a video in which business-savvy photographer Sal Cincotta shares some tips on how to turn your photography service into an experience that your clients will remember and be excited to recommend to others.
Here’s an old clip in which Steve Jobs talks about how he sees the world:
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
All the most famous and powerful images captured throughout history were shot by ordinary human beings as well…
Renowned photojournalist Steve McCurry, the man behind “Afghan Girl“, offers this piece of advice regarding photographing people in public: “don’t forget to say hello”. It’s part of one-minute masterclass series by Phaidon Press.
Photographer Zack Arias has an interesting piece on why he doesn’t think photographers should feel threatened by others who offer their services for absurdly low prices:
Think of the brides out there who don’t have a budget but want some photos of their weddings. Maybe there are young couples getting married who don’t have the parents to pay for a big event or they don’t want to start their young family in debt but they would like someone to come take some pictures. Are you saying that if they can’t afford a $3,000+ photographer then they don’t deserve photos? Are you saying that if they can’t afford a Mercedes then they shouldn’t be allowed to drive? Shame on you. Not everyone can afford pro level prices. That doesn’t mean they can’t have some level of photographic services available to them.
[...] I’ve laid this all out to make the point that cheap photography has its place. It has its place for clients who can’t afford much and it has its place for photographers trying to build something from nothing. It’s part of becoming a full time working photographer in an age when so many want to become a photographer.
“The Cameraman” is a cartoon retelling of a true story involving a bunch of first-graders and a camera craze that swept across the playground. It illustrates how being behind a camera can rob you of your humanity… even if the camera isn’t real.
If James Nachtwey were a street photographer, he wouldn’t be the type to stand on the opposite sidewalk and stealthily capture unsuspecting strangers using a telephoto lens. As you can see from the photograph above, Nachtwey has a fearless attitude when shooting in dangerous situations, getting up close and personal with the subjects.
The photo is from a documentary titled “War Photographer” by Christian Fei, which was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Documentary Film) in 2002. The film follows Nachtwey for two years as he documents conflicts in Kosovo, Rawanda, Indonesia, and the West Bank. Read more…