Thursday, 16 May 2013

30-Day Final: On the Run

My 30-Day is probably the project that I'm most proud of to date. 

This is the type of project I want to work on in the future, this kind of story is the reason I got into documentary photography. I want to find real people, get unlimited access to their lives, and tell their stories. This project is exactly that. Travis is a real person. He is a high schooler, a teenager, a man, a skater, a stoner, and I wanted my pictures to show this.  He lives the life of the reckless 18-year-old that everyone knows. He lives above it all, beyond the law, parents, teachers, no one is stopping him. Such characters should not go unnoticed.

The trouble with a story like this is that it is never finished. The subject's live continues to evolve, their world continues to turn. So, where do you stop? When do you stop shooting if there is always more to shoot? Sure, I can go out a couple of times, gather the necessary pictures to tell the average 8-10 picture story, but there's always more. I could always improve the story, I could keep shooting and probably make hundreds of relevant pictures that only add to the complex life of this kid. No matter how mundane their lives may seem, everyone has so many small details, and so many facets to every aspect of their life that 8-10 pictures really don't do them justice, but no one wants to look at 150 pictures in a single photo story, right? 

I'll keep shooting until I leave Columbia and see what I get. Until then, here's the final edit I turned in for Rita. Thanks to Brian Kratzer for giving the story visual direction, and thanks to all those who looked through my stack of tiny black and white prints and helped me narrow the story down to these nine frames.

Also, for a more trendy, horizontal scrolling, linear version of this edit, click here.

WIP 30-Day Part Two

Some slides of possible selections from my second and final shoot with my subject for my 30-day project. 

Final edit on its way. 

WIP 30-Day Part One

Photos from my first shoot with my 30-Day subject. More to come. 

One-Day Story

Shooting my rally story was probably the best weekend I'd had in a long time. I travelled to a backwoods part of southern Missouri and drove 90 mph at night on gravel roads with other fans between stages. There's nothing like being in the woods in the pitch black Missouri night waiting for the next car to come barreling past at 100+ mph, sitting about 3 feet off the track hidden behind a tree. This event was like nothing else I've ever seen in rural Missouri and I would love to go again next year. The weekend was complete chaos trying to navigate to all the stages before the race was over. Some of the most fun I've had on an assignment. 

Link to the story on my website.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Job Profile Reflection

When I first took on this story I was really excited about it. I imagined an ornate sanctuary and powerful images of Fr. Michael, but didn't consider how obnoxious a guy with a camera could potentially be in the middle of a worship service. This was my downfall, and the reason I don't personally consider this project a total success, yet. 

I tried using the PEN system, which was quieter, but not much quieter, and also much much worse in low light, which didn't help at night church when there was basically zero light present. But, I can handle grain, I like it, actually, so it wasn't as much of an issue as the shutter noise. 

My biggest struggle was sitting through church service and seeing beautiful photos happening right in front of me, but instead of shooting I just sat there, because I didn't feel comfortable making the necessary "crick" to get the shot. 

This was a first for me. 

I'm used to shooting noisy events, things outdoors, or more intimate subjects where I'm free to explore every possible angle and shoot every photo I see. I'm not used to seeing a photo and not being able to capture it, and I'm an over-shooter so this hurt even worse. But in the 150 frames I actually gathered from countless hours of church services, I was able to scrap together some usable, and even good stuff to fulfill the requirements for the assignment and produce a video that I am proud of. 

Father Michael was a great interviewee and gave me some awesome audio, so that helped a ton during production. He was also an amazing subject and granted me all the access I wanted, but it was my personal adherence to disrupting the service that set me back.

Here's the finished product: