Documentary Photography

May 20, 2011  •  Leave a Comment
Documentary Photography…..

So lately, I’ve been cramming myself with each and every class I can get. I guess I’m trying to compensate for my decision to leave college. I just couldn’t justify paying 20,000 plus a year for a degree that means virtually nothing in my chosen career. I’ve been taking a lot of courses via creative live, because they’re not only affordable, but taught by some of the best photographers in the world- Can’t say that about my college instructors. 


"If I’m not a photographer, I don’t know what else to do with my life.”
-Zack Arias


Choosing this path has been far more rewarding to me, and some of the classes I’ve taken this week, are still resonating with me this morning. I love the quote above, Zack really hit home with me when he spoke about his almost –career with Kinko’s and how he gave his career in photography a second chance. This is exactly what happened to me, and I know the feeling, no matter what job I was doing. I saw everything in 50mm, taking mental pictures every moment of my day, constantly wishing I was behind a camera. When I was finally able to get my hands on an SLR again, It was like being reunited with a piece of myself.

This morning I started a food photography class, with Penny De Los Santos and I was thinking, to myself how useless it would probably be to me, because I only like to photograph people. Was I ever wrong, within mere minutes, as tears streamed down my face, I was absolutely captivated by the poignant stories, that were being told through Penny’s photographs. What I neglected to notice before was that the class was a food/culture class, and I was so delighted at the documentary nature of her work.

What I learned through a photo today: Food, is such a raw force of humanity. Not only does it interconnect us in our families, social groups and communities, but we are bound by it. Eating, is something every person around the world does,rich, poor black white, orange, yellow, blue. Food is not only a way of sustenance, but of art and expression, even love, acceptance and celebration. It was truly a life-changing experience, getting to know these families and their unique culture through the eyes/and lens of such an amazing Photographer. The sheer power of imagery is something that I'll never grow tired of.

I was so inspired, by the power of her work; I wanted to share the story behind one of my own photos.  ( Hardly Comprable, on this or any planet, lol!) 
 I’d actually like to make this a regular thing, well see maybe I'll get good at it with the practice. 

I’ve always always wanted to be a photojournalist, I love writing- and especially telling stories through photography. Making a living this way is difficult, so weddings just seemed a pretty natural choice to me, because a wedding photographer’s job is to tell a story.

This wedding happened last year. My dear friend Lyann came as second shooter with me. The elegant wedding ceremony was short, and romantic, which was wonderful, because It was a hot summer’s day and the air was unbreathably stiff.  Just as the Bride and groom finish their kiss, and take their first step forward as man and wife, the bride’s daughter, a flower-girl, collapses. 


  Rushing to her aid, family members, friends and wedding attendees, gathered around the girl, fanning her off, trying to find her a bottle of water. She is carried to the awaiting limousine, to cool off in it’s air-conditioning while awaiting the ambulance. As she’s being carried off, guests, without being prompted begin throwing their arms up, in a call of prayer. The ambulance arrives after a few moments, and the girl, is safely loaded inside. 


 
This photo, my favorite of the series summarizes the moment, and it’s gravity on this couple’s wedding day. 

 Later, feeling much better the three joined the wedding reception, which was already underway to a round of applause. Taking these photos was a touchy decision, and to be honest, a little awkward. I reminded myself, that I was hired to tell the story of their wedding day. I later found out from the bride, that I made the right decision, and she was glad my camera kept going....whew! Thank goodness for that!



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