Recent Documentary Articles

Go Behind the Scenes Photographing U.S. President Donald J. Trump

When President Trump announced he would be skipping the White House Correspondents' Dinner to speak in Harrisburg, Pa., right in my backyard and on day 100 of his presidency, it was like the stars aligned. Among many avenues, I’m a stringer for a Harrisburg news journal, photographing politics and business news. Immediately after hearing the news at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night I applied for credentials and the wait began. A week later, on day 99 of the Trump Presidency, it was starting to look like I would be watching from my couch. With just 24 hours to spare, I got the green light. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like to photograph President Trump from a local photojournalist’s perspective.

The Videographer Behind the Viral '92 Los Angeles Riots Footage

If you were old enough to remember the horrible scenes of the Los Angeles riots of 1992, the memory probably most burned into your mind is the ruthless beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. This last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of one of the ugliest domestic events in American history. Over the course of six days, 58 people died, 2,000 people were seriously injured, and over 11,000 citizens were arrested. The man responsible for capturing the most graphic video of the epicenter, Timothy Goldman, happened to be at the wrong place at the right time, and the story of how it all unfolded is pretty interesting.

Why Are So Many Old Films Missing?

Andrew Saladino, from The Royal Ocean Film Society, makes a serious point in his telling video essay. How were so many films lost, and who are the people working to bring movies back to life?

Can Photography Be A Calling? Lauren Greenfield Spends 25 Years Documenting Wealth

Can photography be more than just work? Can it be a calling? How do you know? And what if that calling coincides with a transformational period in world history and you are called upon to document every move? Lauren Greenfield’s new exhibition and book, “Generation Wealth” is a time capsule a quarter century in the making.

Photographer Travels 80+ Countries to Capture The World in Faces

It's been 9 years since Australian photographer Alexander Khimushin left home to travel the world, and he's since been to over 80 countries. While many travelers prefer short-term sightseeing tours, Khimushin is a firm believer that off the beaten path is the only way of traveling. Meeting indigenous people all over the world was the most inspiring part of his journey. This realization led to a personal project called, "The World in Faces," which he started around three years ago.

Where is a Woman's Place in This Nation?

Masses gathered around the country to march in support together for women's rights. While each had their own unique story, most of what was heard was from adults in response to the new administration. One photographer wanted to go back to the youth of our nation to see how young girls and boys felt about these current issues to get to the root of the innocent take on the rights at hand.

Barcelona's Top Five Photography Locations

In the lead image above can anyone mention who was inspired by Gaudi's rooftop sculptures in Hollywood? For first time travelers to Barcelona these are my five favorites photo spots. I am expecting many readers to add their best spots that are not on this list. Please make sure to Google pin your exact locations in your comments. Much like my recent post on Tokyo I would love to see lots of sharing especially less popular locations.

How 'Planet Earth II' Warped Time To Create Stunning Moving Images

Wildlife films have dramatically improved over the last few years. We can now use image stabilization and smaller camera rigs to get closer and make the visual experience more cinematic. These techniques are perfected by the wildlife film producers and help create stories to show the world like we've never seen it before.

Struggling to Find Inspiration for Your Next Shoot? This New Series Might Just Help You

If you're trying to gain an edge in a competitive market, getting inspiration from places you might not normally look could really help. This new documentary series will expose you to some of the world's most creative minds in fields you may have never considered. As an added bonus, one of the episodes features famous photographer, Platon, and is worth a watch just for that alone.

'Planet Earth II' Is BBC's Most Cinematic Series Yet, Here's How

How did technology make "Planet Earth" so much more cinematic? If we go back to how it was done back in the day and compare it to the technology we have today, it's quite a leap. Back in the day 35mm was the broadcast standard. The 35mm cameras were bulky and heavy, they were perfect for studio and not for the shots that they needed. In the filming circles and the BBC insiders saw 16mm film as being for amateurs. But, thanks to David Attenborough first taking his 16mm camera out to shoot abroad and coming back with footage of animals never filmed before, it changed opinions. This made the program that later became one of the best wildlife documentaries of all time.

'Boyfriends of Instagram' BTS Project Goes Viral

Last year, my husband and I traveled to Greece. While we were in Athens, we could not avoid crossing paths with the same couple at every sightseeing location we went to. I must have seen the entire wardrobe of the girl during those hours we walked. Her eccentric wardrobe change was not the only thing that caught my attention. It was rather strange to witness an all dressed-up girl posing alone non-stop. To me, it was definitely meant for social media.

One Model, Two Photographers: Gender Debate or Just Artisitic Differences

This past summer I dove deep into an article on the long time debate: does a photographer's gender alter the way in which he or she photographs a subject. Is there really a difference in how one gender sees the final image, or is it just artistic preference? Two artists decided to test this theory during a creative shootout to see if all the variables stayed the same, would the image turn out differently. Does the gender of the photographer really influence the final image, or simply the approach in which is taken during the shoot?

Stairways That Take You Back to the Future

Balint Alovits is a photographer based in Budapest, Hungary who created a showcase of Bauhaus and Art Deco caracoles. He calls them "Time Machines." He assures me that these stairways really exist and that they aren't computer generated. He found their location online at first, but then developed a special sense, knowing if he saw the ornate front doors or large glass paneling, there was a good chance there was a special stairway inside too.

Tips for Scouting Locations for Your Next Interview Video Shoot

When doing a documentary-style video production, an interview or series of interviews is often at the heart of the content. Uncontrollable lighting, background noise, and the size of the space you have to work in all play a significant role in capturing a quality testimonial, so location scouting to check on these is an important facet of our production process. In this short video, Joshua Pardon and I explore two rooms at a location and discuss what we look for when making a decision on where to set up for a shoot.

'Spy in the Wild', a New BBC Series uses Animatronic Animals Rigged with Cameras to Film Wildlife

A new upcoming BBC four-part series titled "Spy in the Wild" uses 34 realistic animatronic creatures, equipped with UHD cameras to observe wildlife activity from closer than ever before. The myriad of undercover animals were placed all over our planet, from deserts, to rainforests, as well as the polar regions. With the intention to record real animal emotions, display their similarities with humans, and acknowledge the links between all living things on earth. The topics discussed for each of the four episodes include love, friendships, mischief, and intelligence.

Time Releases Short Documentary About Robert Capa's Iconic D-Day Photographs

Hungarian photographer, Robert Capa is regarded as being one the greatest combat and adventure photographers in history. That’s no small remark, considering the immense amount of danger involved and the technological limitations that were present during the time he created his body of work.

'Master of Camera' Tells the Story of 76-Year-Old Camera Repairman

I'm a sucker for short-form documentaries and analog photography, so when I came across Filmmaker David Drill's "Master of Camera," I had to watch. It's a very well-done story of camera repairman, Gian Luigi Carminati, who's been repairing cameras for almost sixty years.

Why I'm Starting a 365 Day Project in 2017

I’ll admit that I’m in a creative rut. And like any photographer that feels frustrated, there’s only one thing to do: go in a different direction. For well over a year I’ve been shooting hardly anything besides studio portraits. While I love that genre and the work that I’ve created in that time, I feel like my work has hit a wall creatively. After watching several photographers and filmmakers doing these a-photo-a-day projects, I decided to give it a go in 2017.

Escaping Reality - 'Indlandsis' is the Journey of a Truly Passionate Photographer

Photography has a different meaning to almost every photographer. We may learn from one another but it is our style and vision that makes us unique to the the others out there. In this video, Paul Zizka travels out to Greenland to photograph the beauty of the "big white island," a place that not many get to see.

Photoshelter Helped 44 Photographers Tell Their Stories in 2016

Every year photographers launch personal projects. Some of the projects will have tremendous impact by artistically contributing to our world. Naturally, many of the projects need funding and now, more than ever, the photo community is pitching in to ensure that the projects are seen by a greater audience. But it isn’t just individuals and fellow photographers funding the photo projects. This year, Photoshelter quietly contributed funds to help 44 individual photographers complete and share their work.

Can Iconic Photography Be Passed From Father To Son?

Can iconic photography be passed from father to son? This was the question that caught my attention at the beginning of this short film. Los Angeles-based street photographer Estevan Oriol’s style is intense. It’s raw and it’s edgy. It depicts a side of street culture that isn’t always positive, yet within the images a captivating reflection of humanity can be witnessed.

The One Iconic Photo that Encompasses the Essence of the Standing Rock Protest

Over the past few months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota have successfully managed to temporary halt construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access oil pipeline. The subject of much debate and media coverage, one incredibly powerful and emotive photo has emerged from the site, encompassing the ongoing battle.

Photographer Travels to More Than 50 Countries to Photograph Weird and Wonderful Wildlife

London-based photographer Harry Skeggs began his love affair with traveling at the age of 17 with what he describes as a "rubbish little camera." He says it was his disappointment with the quality of the images that pushed him to seek out better. Here, we take a look at some of his finest wildlife images from around the world.

Five Photography Series and Documentaries to Help You Out of Turkey Coma

Need a few suggestions to help you take full advantage of that inevitable Turkey-coma that's sure to set in at some point this Thanksgiving? Fstoppers compiled a few photography-related shows and documentaries for you to comb over – just in case you need some “Netflix-and-chill” time while all of that tryptophan hits your system.

Incredible New Aerial Photos Reveal Tribe Living in Isolation in South American Jungle

New photos have emerged showcasing the lives of an uncontacted tribal community living in the Brazilian Amazon. The Yanomami Indians, who have taken residence near the Venezuelan border since 1992, are said to be a community of approximately 100 people. They were reportedly at risk of being wiped out in recent years by violent attacks carried out by illegal miners, who had been invading the land in search of gold. The release of these images reveal the tribe are now alive and well, even having increased their population, after concerns grew for the group following their decision to live in total isolation.

Planning for the Shot of a Lifetime - Supermoon 2016

This article is a twist on the more common behind the scenes post. Instead of writing about the thought process of the shot in retrospect, I am starting this article several days before the full moon, to showcase my process and mindset when planning for a once in a lifetime shot of the Supermoon.

Hold Your Breath: The Healing of Photography Underwater

As large as the photography community is in a whole, it seems small and intimate when a crisis attacks one of our own. We have seen photographers unite and rally when another is hit with tragedy. However the way one couple decided to deal with the crisis themselves leads to a whole new way of thinking for personal projects and photography shoots.

IKAN's Brand New Bi-Color Light Kit Is the Perfect Workhorse for Video

I just got my hands on IKAN’s new Rayden Bi-Color LED kit, and man, it is a huge improvement from their last model! The lights are sturdier, the dials are stronger and easier to use, and the quality of light has improved drastically from the last series.

From an Email to a Story - A Filmmaker Runs Into Some Danger

Sometimes we receive weird messages or threats through social media, email, or text, but it's not all the time that we look into them. Maybe they are fake, maybe they are real, but this is the story of one filmmaker who looked into things a little bit deeper.

Documentary on the Most Famous Fashion Photographer Alive: Mario Testino

Mario Testino is without a doubt one of the most famous fashion and portrait photographers currently alive. He has worked for the biggest magazines and brands in the world, including Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Calvin Klein, and Burberry. Over his 35 years of experience in the industry, he more than certainly shot some of the sexiest, most important, and most famous people on earth. In this article, take a glance at his work, but also his life, through a documentary created by the BBC.

Portraits of Refugees Grace Powerful UN Video

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has just released a campaign short based on the work of photographer Brian Sokol. In the brief production, A-listers such as Cate Blanchett, Kit Harington, and Neil Gaiman recite the rhythmic poem “What They Took With Them" by Jenifer Toksvig. The poem, along with the accompanying video and still imagery, urges us to sign the #WithRefugees petition to help ensure that refugees across the world have the basic necessities needed to rebuild their lives: education, a safe environment, and work opportunities.

The Short Story of the Iconic Photo 'The Falling Man'

15 years after the tragic day, Time Magazine published a video from their "Behind the Photo" series about "The Falling Man,” captured by well-known Associated Press Photographer Richard Drew. Apart from the published images of 9/11 attacks, this photo made viewers feel the despair and horror in an unusual way.

'Faceless, Forgotten,' A Photo Essay On The Refugee Crisis by Photographer and Storyteller Paul Choy

A photograph that does not tell a story, is a lifeless picture – it’s a failure to capture the viewer and therefore, his heart. One single photograph can inspire a person if a photographer knows how to tell a good story. Because photographer Paul Choy wanted to find out the truth for himself behind media headlines, and because he wanted to tell the individual stories of each refugee, he set out for the refugees’ camps in Calais and Greece with his camera. The result is the ‘Faceless, Forgotten’ – a photo essay and a documentary about the struggles of refugees.

Headstone of Pixels: Using Photography to Deal With Death

The concept of permanence is flawed. Nothing can keep its state, unchanged indefinitely. What is young and vibrant will eventually wither and fade. I never fully grasped this simple truth until my father lay dying in the next room. While he would always be my father, I realized my dad wasn’t as permanent as I once thought. I had confused permanence with stability, and stability was exactly what I needed as my world spun out of control. Gut-punched, I reached out for the most stable thing I could find: my camera.

Charming Outtakes Show Off the Candid Life of a Commercial Videographer

It’s the moments between our accomplishments that define us. Particularly in an age of social media, with its carefully curated posts, profiles, and portfolios, it can be hard to appreciate the part of your persona that nobody was ever meant to see. That is until you realize that little bit of you just might be the most real. This certainly seems like the case for Iowa-based Videographer and Producer Tyce Hoskins, whose GoPro outtake reel, “GoPro & I,” is generating buzz for being, well, sort of unprofessional.

Collaborating With Chance: A B&H Street Photography Podcast

Producing an interesting audio-only podcast about a visual-only medium is one task I wouldn't want to take on. Over the past few years, I've downloaded, listened to, and deleted countless photography podcasts that were too dull or boring to justify more than a few minutes of my time.

Using the Canon 1DC in the Alaskan Wilderness to Capture a Short Film in 4K

The filmmakers of “The Muir Project,” known for their first documentary, “Mile… Mile and a Half,” have just released their latest film, “Noatak: Return to the Arctic.” I interviewed Director Ric Serena who told me about the production challenges his team faced when working on a remote river deep in Alaska and why they chose to go with the Canon 1DC as their camera of choice.

Art and Dogs: A Fascinating Short of William Wegman

There are certain images that have become so ingrained in our psyches, they are almost dismissed outright. If you've ever been in a bookstore, browsing the photography section, you've seen the docile faces of the Weimaraners of William Wegman. The images are always clean, crisp, and have become immensely popular in the last 20 years, gracing coffee tables and calendars alike. The temptation to dismiss them as commercial drivel is strong. But that would be a mistake!

Documentarian Ken Burns Breaks His Impartiality to Denounce Trump

Perhaps the most famous person in the art of documentary filmmaking is Ken Burns. The act of panning and zooming around a still image has been coined "the Ken Burns effect"; it was made famous in his historical documentaries. Burns has been notoriously impartial throughout his career, making sure not to include his own bias in his films, but he has decided that Trump has gone too far.

Documentary 'Make' Reminds Us Why Photographers and Videographers Create Art

Sometimes being a "creative" really sucks. But it's also the best thing to be in the entire world. But did I mention it can suck? Well if you feel like you're in a rut, then watch this preview, and prepare to be inspired. Today, Musicbed released their feature-length documentary, "Make," which explores why creatives continue, well, creating.

Filming Documentary Projects: For Friends or Clients

Documentary videos have always been there to grab my attention. These short, yet powerful videos can really pull you in, making you want to know more about what you're watching. I have made a few videos like this myself but none that I have really liked until now. I don’t usually like to share my work or go into depth about it, but here I will go over a few things to do when shooting a documentary like this.

Tribute to Celebrated Photographer Fan Ho: 1931-2016

Let’s be honest, it is very rare we come across photographers who shake us instantly, make us believe in the magic of photography at its very rawest again; photographers who get engraved in our hearts from the first sight to their work. Fan Ho was that kind of artist for me. At 84, he passed away from pneumonia on June 19, 2016 at a hospital in San Jose, California leaving us a remarkably unique body of work. I came across his magical photos this winter and since then I am hypnotized by the imagery he used to create.