documentaryphotography

It Never Hurts To Ask: How Great Photo Projects are Born

Behind the lens, I am no longer Ben Helton, married father-of-2 living in the South. Camera in hand, I become invisible and free: a blank canvas in attendance to take in and document the experience around me as it unfolds.

Father Documents His Premature Daughter’s Fight for Survival from Birth to Age One

Thanks to an infection, little baby Edie started her life 16 weeks earlier than she was supposed to, and in pretty bad shape. When she arrived, she weighed only 570g and a consultant told the family that she had between a 5 and 10 percent chance of survival.

And so, not knowing how much time he would have with his daughter, father David started taking pictures. Little did he know, he was documenting a fight that Edie would win, and a miraculous transformation in the process.

MIT Offers Documentary Photography and Photojournalism Course for Free Online

It’s not unusual for colleges with large open-source programs to put out a number of courses free for the world to browse through online. In the past we’ve featured courses from both MIT and Stanford.

Today, we have a new course from MIT. Taught in the Spring semester of 2009, this course came a full two years later than the original MIT course we shared and is packed full of useful information for anybody interested in photojournalism.

Riding the Rails: A Chat with Documentary Photographer Michelle Frankfurter

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Michelle Frankfurter is a documentary photographer from Takoma Park, MD. Before settling in the Washington, DC area, Frankfurter spent three years living in Nicaragua where she worked as a stringer for the British news agency, Reuters and with the human rights organization Witness For Peace documenting the effects of the contra war on civilians.

Since 2000, Frankfurter has concentrated on the border region between the United States and Mexico, and on themes of migration.

Andrew Newey’s Spectacular Photographs of Honey Hunters in Nepal

Andrew Newey has covered some of the most incredible and rare cultures and traditions. From Mongolian eagle hunters to tribal festivals in Papua New Guinea, Newey knows how to truly capture one-of-a-kind images, documenting the cultures and traditions that may not exist in a century.

This time around he's traveled to the foot of the Himalayas in Nepal to document the Gurung tribe's bi-annual tradition of gathering honey.

Interview with Photographer Dave Jordano About ‘Detroit: Unbroken Down’

Dave Jordano is an award-winning documentary photographer based in Chicago, IL. Jordano has exhibited widely and his work is in several private, corporate and museum collections, most notably The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

He published his first book titled “Articles of Faith” in April 2009 by The Center for American Places, Columbia College Press. His current project, Detroit: Unbroken Down, documents the cultural and societal identity of his hometown, Detroit.

Photog Travels the World and Photographs Ancient Cultures that May Soon Disappear

A few days ago, we shared photographer Sasha Leahovcenco's inspirational project in which he photographed people in Siberia who had never had their photo taken. Photographer Jimmy Nelson's series/book Before They Pass Away is similar in that he, too, is probably photographing people who have never seen a camera.

But the project takes on a deeper, more tragic meaning as well. You see, as the name suggests, Before They Pass Away is about capturing photographs of ancient tribes and cultures that, before long, may no longer exist to be photographed.

Photographer Captures the Lives of People Who Often Call Walmart Parking Lots Home

Photographer Nolan Conway has a gift for finding and photographing people that you or I might never think twice about pointing a camera at. His series of the unique people he ran into at McDonald's took him to 50 McDonald’s in 22 states, and garnered quite a bit of press attention.

While his newest series isn't taking him all over the country, it again captures a subculture that doesn't really get any attention: people who call Walmart parking lots home.

Hidden World of South Sudan: An Interview with Photojournalist Camille Lepage

Camille Lepage, 25, is an independent French photographer living in South Sudan. She works on long term projects about topics that do not make to the mainstream media and looks at the consequences of the politics on the populations.

For over a year now, documentary photographer Camille Lepage has been photographing the struggles of South Sudan. As a new country, sovereign since 2011, South Sudan can be considered a hotbed for social, political, and religious conflicts. These conflicts are laid bare by Lepage through a strong, intuitive eye and a determination to get her shot.

Her two on-going bodies of work, You Will Forget Me and Vanishing Youth (which are on display below) contain stirring imagery that speak of the violence, and the religious and cultural dissonance that permeates this young country and its people.

Veteran Street Photographer Offers Some No-BS Advice on How to Get Better

LA-based documentary and street photographer John Free has been practicing and teaching street photography for over 30 years. He's taught workshops in LA, New York, Paris and London, and his work has appeared in Newsweek, Smithsonian, US News and World Report and more.

In other words, he has many years worth of experience to offer (which is probably why he teaches workshops), and in the short YouTube video above he makes a little bit of his knowledge available for free.

19th Century London Street Photography by John Thomson

There's some debate over who the "father" of street photography was. Although Frenchman Eugene Atget is often granted this title, his work was mainly architectural, putting people second.

But there's another, lesser-known name that enters the picture (pardon the pun) as early as if not earlier than Atget: a Scotsman by the name of John Thomson.

How the Other Half Lives: Photographs of NYC’s Underbelly in the 1890s

Jacob A. Riis arrived in New York in 1870. As the economy slowed, the Danish American photographer found himself among the many other immigrants in the area whose daily life consisted of joblessness, hunger, homelessness, and thoughts of suicide. So when he finally found work as a police reporter in 1877, he made it his mission to reveal the crime and poverty of New York City's East Side slum district to the world.

Photographer Documents the Struggle to Provide Girls with an Education in Kibera

Kibera is a division of Nairobi, Kenya, and as a rule, girls there don't have much of a shot at an education. Kenya is still very patriarchal, and if a family has both boys and girls, it's the boys who will be granted the opportunity to attend secondary school.

The Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) is trying to fix that by providing girls in the area with a free secondary education, and photographer Jake Naughton has been fortunate enough to spend time there helping with the school and documenting its impact on the students who attend it.

Photographer Documents Berlin’s Unique U-Bahn System One Line at a Time

Kate Seabrook is an entirely self-taught Australian photographer who fell in love with the art of picture taking after laying her hands on her first DSLR in 2009. For the next couple of years, she made a name for herself photographing Melbourne's underground music community, but when she moved to Berlin in late 2011, something entirely different caught her eye -- the U-Bahn system.

Stunning Documentary Portraits of Native Americans from the Early 1900s

In 1906, etiologist and photographer Edward S. Curtis set out across the United States to draw, photograph and otherwise document the lives of Native Americans that hadn't yet been contacted by Western society.

Funded by J.P. Morgan, he would return 20 years later with over 40,000 photographs, which he used to illustrate his famous 20 volume series "The North American Indian." Only 222 complete sets were ever published (one of which sold last year for $1.44M at auction) and even though it has been criticized by some as misrepresenting the Native American culture at the time, its value as a documentary publication is enormous.