Photos have been historically considered as a means to record history. But the proliferation of digital devices and social media have turned photography into a visual language. Photos go viral for a multitude of reasons (e.g. humor), but it’s often stories that effectively communicate a story that resonate with our humanness and humanity. I’ve recently come across two examples where good stories arguably beat out better photos as shown by the viral spread throughout social media. Do you agree? Read more…
Posts Tagged ‘stories’
Since it first burst onto the scene, Snapchat has become a major player in the social fabric of today. Once, the self-destructing photo messaging model was considered a fad, but no more. As Snapchat surges towards the possibility of a billion dollar valuation and usage statistics continue to climb, that “fad” is clearly more than just that.
But that doesn’t mean the Snapchat team has been sitting in the office twiddling their thumbs, they’ve been hard at work creating an exciting update that was finally announced today called Stories. Read more…
Earlier this year, we shared a beautiful short documentary, titled “Silver & Light“, which featured Los Angeles-based photographer Ian Ruhter and the gigantic wet plate photographs he shoots using a van that he converted into a massive camera. Since then, Ruhter’s work has received a good deal of attention; the video now has nearly 1 million views, and Ruhter has been traveling around the country and using his special photography to tell the stories of people he meets.
He has just released the new video above, titled “American Dream.” It’s an inspiring look at some of Ruhter’s first shoots for the project (note: it contains some strong language).
Andy Adams of FlakPhoto has an interesting new digital exhibition titled Looking at the Land — 21st Century American Views that features 88 landscape photographs captured around the United States since 2000. What’s neat is that each of the images is accompanied by an explanation of “why” it exists. Adams asked each of the photographers the same questions, with the main one being, “Why did you photograph this place?”
MIOPS is a new smartphone-controlled camera trigger that combines all of the features photographers want in a high-speed camera trigger into one convenient device.
Photographer Dinah Fried has a series of photographs titled Fictitious Dishes that features the the meals described in five famous novels: The Catcher in the Rye, Oliver Twist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Moby Dick. Working off a few lines of text in the books describing what the characters ate, Fried cooks up the food herself and then photographs the meals from above (the perspective reminds us of IKEA’s recipe book photos).
I often ask myself, “When and how it is it that I decided to become a commercial photographer?” The answer to this question is usually a long drawn out tale that goes back to when I was a junior in high school back in Miami. I’ll save you the long story and only share the story of my favorite photography class and assignment and why it was so great.
The Guardian published an article yesterday that features a number of prominent photographers (e.g. Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Terry O’Neil, Platon) sharing about missed photo opportunities and their “worst shots”. Platon has an interesting story regarding photographing Iranian president Ahmadinejad back in 2009 while snapping portraits of world leaders:
Ahmadinejad was the biggest surprise. On the first day, he made one of the most controversial speeches ever given at the UN, and a large proportion of the auditorium walked out. As he left the stage his supporters swarmed him, patting his back and shaking his hand. There were about 150 people pulling him in different directions. I elbowed my way into the middle of the scrum, grabbed both his hands, looked into his eyes and said, “Come with me, I am going to take your picture.” As I gently pulled his hands, miraculously he started to follow me to my studio.
I was expecting to get that dictatorial menace he had shown in his speech. But he suddenly realised that, not only was he about to sit for the most intimate portrait of him ever, the crowd was also watching. They were all cheering; he lost his composure for a second and started to laugh. What I got was him trying to regain his composure. It’s the most sinister leer I’ve caught on film.
It was a missed opportunity, in the sense that he was trying to gather himself and deal with the embarrassment of performing in front of all those people. On the other hand, it gave me something I would never have expected. No one thinks of Ahmadinejad as a man with a hint of a smile.
My best shot: The one that got away [The Guardian]
Every photographer probably has at least one story of a photo opportunity they missed simply because they decided not to press the shutter. Photographs Not Taken is a new book by photographer Will Steacy that offers 62 stories told by photographers around the world about moments that never became photographs. Sean O’Hagan of The Guardian writes that the decision is often an ethical one:
Consider the story related by Sylvia Plachy who, on a street in midtown Manhattan just after the twin towers of the World Trade Centre had collapsed on 9/11, encountered a dust-covered man “who had walked though hell”. He was, says Plachy, “the icon” of the human tragedy. Many people took his photograph. She did not. “I would have had to step in front of him, interrupt his frantic pace,” she writes. “I felt ashamed. I hesitated. I questioned. It didn’t seem right. In an instant he was gone. I didn’t do it.”
Plachy spent the following fortnight roaming the streets of downtown New York looking for another picture as powerful as the one she had not taken. “His image haunts me to this day,” she writes, adding ruefully, “Diane Arbus would have done it.”
This story, it seems to me, gets to the heart of the matter. Many photographers share Arbus’s view that you take the picture whatever the cost – to yourself as well as the subject. I have always been uncomfortable with that notion. It says that nothing is too intimate, too private. It insists, too, on the primacy of the photograph over the experience.
If you have your own stories of times when you couldn’t bring yourself to press the shutter, please share it with us in the comments!