Albert Watson. Legend. Period, end. With a career spanning five decades and multiple iconic images, his career in fashion and portraiture would be the aspiration of any budding photographer. Alongside Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, PDN recognized him as one of the twenty most influential photographers of all time. And in a new video by Profoto, the man whose subjects have ranged from Alfred Hitchcock to Kate Moss, discusses his approach to lighting, photography, and life.
We are photographers. We are not a bunch known for a lack of opinions. By and large, we know (or think we know) what’s good and bad and aren’t shy about telling others just how qualified our own personal greatness makes us to pass judgment on other far inferior work. Yes, I’m generalizing to make a larger point. There are as many different types of photographers as there are different types of people. And, if ego sits on one shoulder, its distant cousin humility stands firmly on the other, grasping tightly to the other end of the rope in an endless game of tug of war. But knowing when to pull, and when to offer slack, from one side or the other can be the secret to both successful shoots and successful creative relationships.
I’ve learned a lot over the past 15 years as a professional artist. I’ve learned a lot about fear, failure, and success. I’ve been fortunate enough to mentor and educate thousands of photographers all over the world. Even as a young four-year photographer who many would still consider “green,” I’ve taught photographers from all walks of life, all levels of advancement, and even some who had reached a level of comfortable success.
I first discovered the work of Cannabis Photographer Kristen Angelo when the Seattle Times did a profile of her for their series highlighting "cool jobs" in the region. Her work stood out as something fresh, new, and real. Unlike the high-contrast, psychedelic images I was used to seeing, Angelo's images showed different side of the culture of cannabis: sun-drenched, cultivated by passionate farmers in the rural Pacific Northwest. I caught up with Angelo to ask her about how she got into the field of cannabis photography, and how she developed her business as a freelance photographer.
Many of us have been there. You upload your work to a social media platform only to find out months later that your photos have gained the attention of the masses. Immediately you start getting bombarded with emails, phone calls, and publications start reaching out. You quickly realize the moment you have always been waiting for is happening right now, but a new reality also sinks in: you have no clue what in the world you are supposed to do with all of this attention. In this video I sit down with Mike Kelley to discuss some of the steps you should take to capitalize on your viral photo series.
A casual conversation leads to an interesting question. There I was again. Spouting endless drivel at the beginning of a date. Trying desperately to impress her with my chatter. Listening to her and responding with what I hoped were deep and probing questions that both relayed my interest in her personally and required a significantly lengthy response which would provide me the necessary time to catch my breath and subdue my nerve-induced racing heartbeat.
This method is widely used in editorial magazines. It's a fun way to look at different perspectives of your work combined. Sometimes it’s just not possible to capture everything you want in a single shot. The solution is simple – shoot two photos and display them side-by-side. I find that displaying two images side-by-side is a great way to tell a story photographically, and to create ideas that are not necessarily evident when one or the other image is displayed by itself. If you're interested in trying this technique with your own images, here are some of the tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Make small prints and lay them out on a large table to play the mix and match approach.
Perhaps no single photo is more symbolic of America’s troubles during the Great Depression than Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother.” Depicting an itinerant farm worker, Florence Owens Thompson, and five of her children apparently in the grips of despair on the side of the road, this single image came to surmise an entire era.
The one thing we as photographers and videographers do is tell stories. That's the main reason we do it. Whether it's a story of fantasy or a shot documenting a moment in the real world, it's done to make the viewer tell themselves the story they see in the picture. In this video, Mango Street break down how they tell their stories. Instead of focusing on the moments as they organically happen, like shooting a wedding, they took a conceptual idea that inspired them and directed a shoot to execute their interpretation thereof. They used song lyrics as a concept and took it from there. I must say, inspiration can be found anywhere, but this was a very well executed idea that will certainly play part in my next shoot.
In an industry saturated with educational materials, navigating the minefield to find which resources are valuable, and worthy of your hard earned money, can be rough. As a photographer, I have purchased countless tutorials, books, and magazines. I have poured through blogs, YouTube videos, attended numerous workshops and endured some questionable Facebook Live sessions. When I tell you I have discovered a gem, it isn't because this is my first time mining.
According to No Kid Hungry, one in six American children don't get the food they need. Because of the relative wealth of First World nations, childhood hunger in places like America often get overlooked. In an effort to raise awareness, viral photography sensation, Benjamin Von Wong, decided to forgo the traditional route of portraits of sad-eyed children and, instead, created something a bit more share-worthy.
Memorial Day is a day set aside in remembrance of those members of the Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This Memorial Day, photographer Kate Woodman released a series called War Widow, that gives an intimate look at the life of those left behind. The series manages to honor the families of the fallen by approaching the pain, grief and loss they suffer with a raw, unflinching eye.