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Documentry photography?

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    lhellwing  1 United Kingdom
    16 Nov 2012 - 8:38 AM

    Hi all, I have to photograph four to five pictures in a theme for an assignment on documentry but havent a clue what sort of thing i want to capture and the right way of going about itSad please can you give me some pointers as this one has got me stumped. Many thanks

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    sausage  10234 forum posts United Kingdom
    16 Nov 2012 - 8:50 AM

    History of local church or some other landmark?

    peterjones e2 Member 123913 forum postspeterjones vcard United Kingdom1 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 9:47 AM

    Documentary is an adjective to describe a medium that presents a report or factual record; for example "reportage" wedding photography is documentary; a more broader interpretation is something in progress; you could perhaps take your camera into the street and look out for any events for example last Sunday's Remembrance Day services would have been a good example as so many are held outdoors.

    More example are Summer fetes and fairs perhaps you have a Christmas event coming up; we have near me a "Festival of Lights" on a Xmas theme one evening when all the shops trade late and offer mulled wine (yum yum).

    Indeed it could be history, even better though if you could show change through time, maybe you haven't got that much time so you may wish if you don't like photographing people is to photograph a change to a building or a change to your environment.

    The list just goes on; a load of epziners will be on soon to contribute many more ideas.

    G' luck, Peter.

    ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014783 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 9:57 AM

    Try to show/explain something in pictures to someone in China....

    Pick a subject - I'd choose Leeds, say - then try to capture it from all angles

    Maybe get the key buildings - some people shots - the grates - the bins.... there really is all sorts you can capture.

    The factual content is important - huge editing and manipulations don't really fit in this genre

    I have a section on this in my Discover Leeds workshops....

    16 Nov 2012 - 10:07 AM

    There's a guided busway being built near here and I've been keeping a kind of 'timeline' of events for the last two years. I've got shots of all kinds of things; roadworks, concrete being poured, even a new road bridge being lowered into position on a huge crane.
    You can't realistically replicate that but there may be something similar, on a smaller scale, coming up near you.

    sherlob e2 Member 82309 forum postssherlob vcard United Kingdom125 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 10:41 AM

    In my humble efforts at documentary work I try to emphasise a strong sense of personal narrative - thinking as much as if I was a journalist as photographer. E.g. whilst a journalist may put his story down in words, I aim to create for the viewer a sense of my version of the story in pictures. I can use all the aesthetic and artistic possibilities of photography to help me do this.

    Sooty_1 Critique Team 41196 forum posts United Kingdom196 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 10:47 AM

    I would also suggest choosing a fairly limited subject. There's no way you're going to have time to shoot something with broad scope such as a long-term project.

    What about something like the local market, shooting local traders, or perhaps war memorials with their recent poppy wreaths? Maybe the train station, bad car parking, street performers, shop displays, road signs, anything you can write a short paragraph about to explore the subject. Then shoot images to demonstrate what you have said, so for the train station, there are the characters that work there, the passengers, the architecture, the signage/posters and so on.

    The limit is your imagination as to what you can find local to you.


    lhellwing  1 United Kingdom
    16 Nov 2012 - 10:59 AM

    Thank you so much for all the information and guidesSmile I am sat here and thought hang on i have a story right above me as in my roof is being renovated and only have a tarpualin on it to be re-slated so i guess i could photograph that and a worker sat on the roof having a cuppa (well they are council afterall haha) any thoughts on this? Thanks Lee

    16 Nov 2012 - 11:04 AM

    Quote: i could photograph that and a worker sat on the roof having a cuppa

    Why not?
    You could photograph the roof from as many angles as possible; from an upstairs room on the other side of the road perhaps?
    The cup of tea idea could work although, ideally, you'll need to be on the roof or somehow close to or next to the roofer. That would depend on how they're accessing the roof and how relaxed they're prepared to be regarding H&S issues.

    NEWMANP e2 Member 61583 forum postsNEWMANP vcard United Kingdom574 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 11:40 AM

    google time life magazine or nationa geographical and see how to tell a story in a short set of pictures.

    find something happening in your area. say homeless people, gypsies, addiction, closing shops on the high st. a closing factory and get in there. dig deep and make yourself get up and involved with something that affects you deeply and then shoot with instinct to tell a story without words


    sherlob e2 Member 82309 forum postssherlob vcard United Kingdom125 Constructive Critique Points
    16 Nov 2012 - 12:25 PM

    You could do a 24 hr project - a documentary of your life over 24 hrs - with one pic per hour. Nn

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