i document the world around me,
people places and things. i would consider
some of my work to be documentary in nature.
atget, both his portraits of people and places, would
be one of my influences.
but aside from photographing people and sites "in context"
some of my abstract images, both darkroom experimentation as well as the other "stuff",
are also documentary, they RECORD an experiment that i carried out.
while abstract imagery doesn't usually fall into journalistic documentation, it is documentary / record
much like someone in the science field would record his/her observations.
Yes you have a point many documentary images are observed and recorded (salgado) but I think many of the greatest documentary images of all time were set up to a degree, the one that comes immediatly to mind is Tomoko in her bath. Smith planned to do an intimate photo, knew the family and arranged to do a photo session, planned the lighting(flash and available), communicated and posed the mother and daughter etc..so a documentary image like this had a degree of set up calculation to it also.
Originally Posted by SuzanneR
Thanks Murray, I like Jose's work very much he was one of the first photographers I saw on APUG and was one of the main reasons I joined the group.
With that said, of course, August Sander set things up, and posed his subjects, and his work feels very documentary. Even when Salgodo makes a portrait, that is clearly posed... they feel very documentary. I think there's room for both approaches... but it starts to muddy the definition of the document... or just make it a very broad umbrella!![/QUOTE]
haha I answered the first part of your message before I read the second (bad habit) seems we agree on things! I think the setup or partial setup is ok as long as your being true to what that documentary style image is about. For example when I am photographing people in short time rooms I communicate with them and try to get an understanding of who they are and translate it in the portrait, I will direct them to a degree but I try to stay true to who they are. During this last years shoots with the lady boys if they were shy I shot them that way if they were sexually aggressive I photographed them that way if they were into showmanship then thatís the way I went, sort of encouraging their personalities. I think the work is documentary even thou I had a partial (not just observing) control in what is in the photographs, your right it is sort of a muddy thing.
I have done the observation thing only also but its different, maybe itís a purer type of photography.
Thanks for making me think!
I did a lot of documentary photography in the USAF and some of it was published WW in the 60s. I continued it at Cape Canaveral, but have done none since. I just do photography now for enjoyment of my leisure hours.
I can't say that in the heat of a hectic moment, I could really use anyone's style except what presented itself for me. You don't walk around and compose an airplane explosion!
So, to me there are no true documentary styles. You see an important event and you make the most of it! You either get it or you do not.
I do not consider portraits documentary in the sense of a documentary photograph unless they are virtually candid. Werner Von Braun posed in front of the first Saturn missile for a photo by one of my guys. I would not call that a Documentary Photograph. Later, when we took shots of the team in action in the blockhouse with Von Braun present, I would consider those candids documentary portraits!
Sorry if this starts a controversy, but I've had it before with Nat Geog photographers at the Cape.
Had to look the word up.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
"Typology" literally means the study of types.
I have trouble seeing the differences between the typology project and portraiture, maybe it is because I view the images individually and not part of his larger project to document all German People. I see each image as a unique document to that person not only as a grouped whole, maybe I am misreading things.
I think when he made the photographs he wanted to show the sameness (underneath the skin) of all peoples but I think he also showed them as individuals, did he not? I get your point about the larger project and the commonality he wanted to show of the different groups but I think he also was able to show the individual. In these photos for example I see the individual more than I see the study of types.
I see the differences in expression, in dress, in body posture, in emotion as differences which makes the images individual portraits as well as part of a larger typology project.
That is a great example, Atget was a documentarian in my view and he did both people and things, never thought of that before, thanks!
Originally Posted by jnanian
No do not worry about controversy, I love the exchange of ideas and am sure others do as well, were here to exchange thoughts. You bring up some valid points, posing people is a fine line I agree in regards to documentary images.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Photographing at Cape Canaveral in the 60s must have been something, wish I could have done that. They must have placed lots of restrictions on what you could shoot.
There were no restrictions on what I could shoot. I had the highest clearance in the Data and Photo Division there except for the Colonel at the head. I could grant and lift clearances and shoot anywhere or anyone. :D
My pass stated D/F/P. This meant full access to Data Process/Film Processing/Photo. So practically I could take your camera if you didn't show a pass signed by :D me :D ! I restricted some pretty important people and put gaffers tape over unauthorized cameras rather than take them.
In the attached photo, I am in front of the Mercury capsule testing room. Two capsules are there, one for Glenn and one for Grisson (foreground). I am with Red Williams the designer of the astronaut cameras for Mercury and Gemini. The camera in-hand is one that went into orbit.