Recent Documentary Articles

Dog Sledding: How the Races Helped One Photographer Come Back From the Dark

Documentary photographers have the opportunity to see the world in ways the everyday photographer may never understand. With the ability to chronicle events, they can tell stories from inside the action. However, this can also take a toll on the mind, making even the most hopeful person become cynical.

I Experienced New York City For The First Time and Left With a New Outlook on My Photography Career

Perhaps you’re like I was one week prior to the writing this – a West Coast native who had only gone as far as making assumptions about one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere – New York City. I’m back in the Arizona desert where I call home after attending PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2018 and I brought back an importantly refreshed outlook on myself and my career in photography.

The History of 70mm Film in Cinema

There's something in film stock everyone recognizes but cannot always explain. Even today, we still happen to see modern movies shot on 70mm film, and they don't look vintage. They just look organic. In this short documentary, you will go down memory lane and see how the 70mm film was invented.

How Photography Is Used to Solve Crimes, Murders

From sketch renderings to video surveillance, law enforcement uses many techniques to piece together clues for crime-solving. Details and memory often fail us, but there's one medium that never forgets - photography.

The Wildlife Conservation Film Festival Kicks off This Week in NYC

A film festival dedicated strictly to wildlife conservation films kicks off its eighth year in New York City later this week. Over the course of ten days, the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival will screen over 100 documentary films from around the world, many of which are world premieres.

How Shooting With a Mirrorless Camera Made Me a Better Photographer

Gear cannot make you a better photographer. This statement is said over and over and I actually really believe it. But despite believing this statement to be true, I also believe that switching to mirrorless has made me a better photographer.

Bearing Witness With James Nachtwey

Powerful photojournalism and the service the press provides in raising awareness of issues is no longer held in the regard that it once was. In his 2007 TED Prize acceptance speech, James Nachtwey not only displayed some of his haunting imagery and talked about its meaning, but discussed the duty the press has. It seems more and more relevant as time passes.

Medical Advice for International Travel Photography

When traveling to exotic or remote locations, it's important to be prepared with both the necessary medications as well as the proper paperwork and insurance that an area requires.

Why Would You Photograph the Mundane Everyday Life?

Why would you choose to photograph something that's mundane instead of naturally picturesque locations or scenarios? The short answer is because it's hard and it will test you.

Photographer Shares Shocking Images Commercial Fishermen Don't Want You to See

Brian Raymond, a lifelong fisherman turned shark dive operator and photographer, recently shared some powerful and disturbing images he captured of bycatch in the waters off of southern New England. Bycatch refers to unintended species that are caught while fishing for another species and is a regular occurrence in commercial fishing.

Raising $30,000 on Kickstarter: Building Your Audience, Part 1

There is a ton of information and so many great resources on how to raise money for a project with crowdfunding these days. So I’m going to skip the tips and show you proven strategies to fund your projects no matter what they are.

'In the Starlight': A Film About Photography, Adventure, and Family

"In The Starlight" begins with Mathieu Lelay showing the beauty and values of the film as we experience the sights of the cosmos through the travels and photography of Paul Zizka. The all-encompassing night sky surrounds the film’s creator and subject making the silent case for humanity’s awe of the night sky with a universal message that we all share this very small part of a vast galaxy across a grand and timeless expanse.

The Power of a Video: Making the Chennai Children's Choir's Dreams Come True

Videos are the next big thing, and it is happening already. With the advent of social media, the power of a video to touch minds and influence decisions is huge. We recently did a fundraising video for a children’s choir and were amazed by the response. This post is a quick recap of what we learned in the process.

How One Photograph Changed the World

Photographer Sam Nzima, the journalist who took the iconic photograph of a person carrying the body of Hector Pieterson, has died. It was this image that in 1976 was shared with the world and brought international uprise against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This video is a tribute to his work, and how it changed the world.

An Inside Look at What It's Like to Photograph a Prestigious Motorsport Event

If you think that photographing Total 24 Hours Spa has anything to do with cucumber slices and a hot stone massage, then you are very wrong indeed. I will say, however, that when you finish photographing one of these endurance races you might need 24 hours in a spa. Have look at this fascinating short documentary to find out more.

Meet the Cinematographer Who's Recording a Year-Long Documentary Around the World with Just One Fstop Bag

You may have already read about Steven Holleran in a recent Fstoppers article. If not, let me briefly fill you in: Holleran is an extremely talented and accomplished visionary behind the lens. He's been commissioned by companies such as Google and Nike, and was the daring cinematographer for the popular Netflix series Fire Chasers and the award-winning Sundance film "A Boy. A Girl. A Dream." Plus, he's a badass.

Photography's Most Important Element: Emotion

I think we can all agree that in order to be successful, a photograph needs to connect with its viewers on an emotional level. That emotion could be awe, desire, sadness, longing, or any number of the plethora of human emotions, but there needs to be an emotion.

Photographer Amber Mozo Shoots Pipeline Where Her Famous Father Died

When Jon Mozo, an acclaimed surf photographer based on O’ahu’s North Shore, died in 2005 at the age of 33, he was doing what he loved best: photographing Backdoor Pipeline, which is considered to be one of the world’s deadliest waves. Among the four children he left behind is a daughter, Amber, who has followed in her father’s footsteps, photographing surfers, and recently visiting and photographing the very place where her father lost his life.

A Photographer's Photos Become Icons of the #NeverAgain Movement, and No One Knows Who She Is

With the rise of #MarchForOurLives in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students Emma González, and David Hogg have been the two survivors that have been the most visible and outspoken critics of the status quo when it comes to gun control. Their images have been circulated in the media and even turned into posters for the #NeverAgain movement, many of those bearing a striking resemblance to an early photo of González.

'Women Photograph' Offers $35,000 in Grants to Photojournalists

Women Photograph, an initiative launched in 2017 aimed at giving greater voice to the female photojournalism community has teamed with Nikon and Getty Images to offer $35,000 worth of grants to up-and-coming and established photographers around the world.

Russian Photographer's Talent Goes Undiscovered Until Years After Death

A Soviet woman spent nearly 40 years photographing the world around her, but it wasn't until after her death that her photos — and her significant talent — were unearthed. As her daughter began to develop some of the thousands of negatives that she found tucked away in the family attic, she discovered a skilled genius who sadly never felt herself worthy of recognition.

Educating Mothers About Breastfeeding Through Photography

We have seen various projects appear that celebrate and normalize humanity's oldest and most natural action: breastfeeding. However, while some photographers try to focus on how the public perceives a woman who breastfeeds in public, Emma Shardlow Hudson from Hudson & Rose Photography does something quite unique.

We Pirated Our Own Video and This Is What Happened

Piracy is a major issue among all types of creatives. Regardless of if you make handbags, design websites, create beautiful paintings, produce movies, or craft amazing photographs, at some point or another, someone is going to steal and rip off your work. Recently, we decided to run a social experiment; we actually pirated one of our own tutorials and put it online for free before it was even released to the public. What happened next was pretty interesting.

How One Man's Photography Transformed America

Twenty four photographs from the early 20th century by sociologist Lewis Hine sold at auction recently, giving us a reminder of the impact of his work on life in America.

Talking Ethics in Photography

While some photographers are on the hunt for the most outrageous image, others become increasingly sensitive to what they shoot. We are confronted with a never ending stream of images that blurs our ability for ethical judgement. I asked Joey Lawrence and Graham Macindoe about their opinion.

Photographer Captures Images of Tribes Across the Globe

British photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled to 35 communities across the world in the first part of his project to document portraits of tribal and indigenous peoples. Today, in the second part of his project, Nelson is continuing to travel and document lives and cultures that are often unseen.

Behind the Scenes With Massive Machinery and Landscapes

Photographing behind the scenes at any large power producing area can be difficult not only to obtain entry but also to capture the massive scale to do the area justice. The areas are normally bustling with workers, smoke from the machines, and dust from the ground. Traveling to these destinations, however, will help show the world just what goes on behind that power that they use daily.

Our $3,000 DSLR Was Stolen in Italy and We Filmed It Happen

Yes, you read that title correctly. In this episode of the behind the scenes of “Photographing the World 3,” we face the most disastrous day of filming yet! While Lee was recovering our crashed DJI Mavic in the mountains of Matera, someone on the hiking trail stole our brand new Nikon D500 DSLR and Tamron 18-270mm lens.

Photographer Travels to Island, Gets Stranded, Spends the Week Shooting

One Annapolis native decided to venture to Tangier Island to take a few photos. What he didn’t anticipate was getting stuck on the island — just 1.2-square miles in size — due to icy weather, finding himself in the middle of a National Guard supply drop.

What is a Selfie and Who Invented It?

Producer, director, writer, editor, actor, and researcher, Sarah Burton has to wear many hats while working for BuzzFeed Video, but can she answer the question, "Who Invented the Selfie?" Spoiler alert, she can't but as the adage goes, it's the journey not the destination. Watch as Burton humorously struggles to discover who took the first selfie, and struggles even further when the very definition of selfie comes into question.

1890s Candid Street Photography Taken With a Spy Cam

Using a thin, round, six frame, glass plate, "spy camera", a nineteen year old Carl Størmer (1874 – 1957) captured candid images on the main streets of Oslo, Norway. These atypical images are a rare glimpse into everyday life at a time when most photos taken were of well prepared, composed and stoic subjects. If you're interested in the three part documentary video, be sure to turn on "subtitles / closed captions" and switch to "auto translate" English.

Adventures and Photography in the German Countryside

If you have just under an hour to kill then Benjamin Jaworskyj has your back with an epic travel and landscape photography video that's worth the watch. Take a visual tour to the beaches, mountains, and castles that lie tucked away in the German countryside with some landscape photography tips to boot. Feeling more like an adventure vlog than just another YouTube video, from the production values to the accompanying music, this video makes for a relaxing watch.

The Photographer and the Subject: Two Views in Every Photograph

As photographers, a common rhetoric we hear is about finding our style. We are to consider so many technical aspects like lighting, lenses, color grading, and choice of palette. On some platforms, these aspects have become more important than the content of the images themselves. However, there are so many other aspects of photography, and every genre of photography has its own set of considerations. In this talk for TEDx Chattanooga, Photojournalist Billy Weeks discusses the role of the photographer in an area of photography that is often thought to be objective in nature.

Photographer Travels to Japan for Surreal Snowy Landscape Photo Series

Chinese Photographer Ying Yin’s was inspired to travel and see snow. While visiting Japan’s northernmost region during the peak of winter, her photo series “Wind of Okhotsk” looks like the end of the earth, with buildings isolated by the intense weather.

In a Year of Political Turmoil and Change, What Do Our Documentaries Say About Us?

On virtually every front, 2017 was a year of change, turmoil, and upheaval. A year comprised of moments that affected our every day lives in ways that societal and political movements haven’t in recent years past. The tension that has defined this year has found itself mirrored in the art that we create, and in more obvious ways in the documentary subjects captured by filmmakers across the globe.

Inside Look at the Work of Master Photographer Herb Ritts

You've heard the name. Listed among the accolades as one of the greats, Herb Ritts' ability to seamlessly blend together both environment and model set him apart from his peers. A mastery over lines, shapes, and all things pertaining to light that trademarked his work as timeless. He had an eye for capturing a moment and creative intuition for creating one. This documentary gives us a glimpse into the man behind the work. In a sense it is even more intimate then we could've hoped, as it is told by those who were closest to him.

Is Every Photograph From Chernobyl a Lie?

Pripyat, once a town of 40,000 people and now a short distance from the world's single most deadly object, stands inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. As I waited to get a coffee at the tiny shop alongside the Zone's checkpoint, I cringed slightly at the array of glow-in-the-dark knickknacks on sale. Chernobyl, the site of the biggest nuclear disaster in history and now a slightly Disney-fied tourist destination, is a reminder that photography's "truth" is always a little suspect.