Mon, 7 October 2013
The recent passing of Bill Eppridge reminded me of the photograph that he took of a dying Robert Kennedy and of my reaction to it – it is a beautiful photograph. I wonder whether the beauty of the photograph detracts from the story. Is it above all a thing of aesthetic delight and a storytelling image a distant second? I don't intend any disrespect by saying this. It's just that I wonder at the relationship between beauty and storytelling. Does beauty detract or obscure the story the photographer intends to tell? Or perhaps it enhances it somehow?
In this episode of The Documentary Photographer, we touch on the issue of beauty in documentary images. We also look forward to the upcoming print sale to raise funds for medical relief in Syria.
Wed, 8 May 2013
This is a special episode of the podcast. So special that it's being released ahead of the usual slot and before another interview that was already in the queue.
The reason is twofold.
First the photographer interviewed is a remarkable man who went out of his way (and possibly into harm's way) to tell a remarkable story: Christian Payne.
Online, many know Christian as Documentally, a storyteller who uses multiple online platforms to tell his own story and that of his clients. He does exciting things for interesting clients. I first became aware of him when he travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats (the UK's famed tip to top journey) with nothing but online airtime to offer those who gave him rides, shelter and food.
That alone should give you an idea of the person he is. He does things most of us wouldn't.
One thing he did very recently was travel to Turkey and Syria. He wanted to find out first hand how the war was affecting regular Syrians – people like you and me. In this interview, recorded only a couple of days after he got back, you'll hear of his experiences – some of which were disturbing and harrowing.
Christian isn't a hardened news or war photographer who spends lots of time on the ground in conflict zones. That's what makes his story even more powerful. He is a regular guy whose conscience made him team up with a journalist friend (Phil Sands) to see for himself what is going on away from the news agenda of the big media outlets.
The second reason why this interview is special is that it will have a follow on. Something good will happen because of the work Christian has done. You'll hear reference to that at the end of the episode. I'm hoping you and I can help raise money for the refugees in Syria. It's early stages yet, but watch this space.
Sun, 28 April 2013
How do you choose the things that you want to photograph?
Our personal circumstances and interests play a big part in our choices, of course. But so does serendipity.
Gina Glover's story is a good example of this. She launched her career photographing something that was on her doorstep: a former nuclear missile launch site.
Gina's career has spanned several decades and in that time she has explored the missile site in detail – digging in and exploring it from a number of angles. Over time, her technique, gear and approach changed, but the topic remained the same – gradually being revealed layer by layer, deeper and deeper.
In this episode of of The Documentary Photographer podcast, we discuss her seminal Playgrounds of War, as well as practical issues such as gaining access to sensitive areas and her approach to colour.
Special thank you: this episode of the podcast owes much to the help of Richard West at Source magazine. Want to know why? Listen in.
Wed, 20 February 2013
In this episode, I'm joined in conversation by Dana Popa, a Romanian photographer who is based in London. Dana has done work in very sensitive environments – among sex slaves, for instance. These environments made me wonder whether a man could have gained the access required to produce a visual story.