Responsiblity and Guilt

What is a photographer’s responsibility to the subject after the photography has finished? This has been stewing in my mind for sometime. I’m quite lazy about writing in my blog but I hope that I can get some feed back from others about this. Here are my thoughts.

I have done only a handful of stories, in each story there is a bond of trust between me and the person I’m photographing. We see each other everyday. They let me into their lives to document and then to show to other people. That is a lot of trust to give to someone with a camera and you don’t know.

It must be difficult for the subjects of photo stories after the photographer has finished the work. I wonder if they feel used or if they feel they are not important to the photographer anymore?

I mean really think about it. You make a new friend who cares about you and is interested in your life. This friend, with a camera, comes with you everywhere. They ask questions about everything your doing and why. This must make the subject feel pretty special.

Then, BAM!!!, after 2 weeks, this person with a camera says goodbye and you see them if your lucky one time a year.

This must be difficult for the subject. I wonder how they justify the photographer leaving them in their mind?

I do try to go see the people that have allowed me into their lives. When I do, they always say I don’t visit enough. I usually smile guiltily and say that I have been busy working but I have not forgotten them.

I wonder what some of the big photographers like James Nachtwey or Stephanie Sinclair think of this? Do they feel the same or do they just keep on moving and don’t look back?

As my life as a documentary photographer continues there will be more stories with more people. Then, there will be more people to visit to make sure they know I think they are important and that I appreciate them letting me into their lives. At some point it will become impossible to visit everyone. I hope they will understand.

So, should I feel guilty or not if i can’t find time to go visit the subject of a past project?

I’m trying to rationalize it. No conclusions as of yet.

The Evolution Of Photography Is Here

I have been following the blog of Brent Foster for about a year now. He works similar to me, that being that he works in photography and film as well.

Lately, there has been a new breakthrough in DSLR technology. We can now do video with the same DSLR body and lenses we use for photography. For people like Brent and myself this is amazing!

Yesterday Canon announced that it will be updating it’s firmware for video on the 5D Mark II so that users can use manual control instead of the hindering automatic functions it now has. This new firmware will allow users to control the aperture, shutter speed and gain (ISO) and we hope that it offers 1080 24p as well.

This is a major breakthrough for people who are working in photography and film. I couldn’t be more excited to have these options available to me.

I have always been interested in multimedia photography ever since i was first introduced to in by my friend Justin in late 2006. I started reading blogs like Multimedia Shooter and studying classes from Mindy McAdams at the University of Florida.

For me, i think multimedia is not just the use of sound and photography. Sometimes i see people who add music to some images and they say they have made a multimedia.

I apologize to those people. I’m sure they worked very hard on what they did, but to me, it is not really giving justice to the tools available to them.

Multimedia is the use of photography, film and sound (interviews, ambient sound, music) so that they are all being harnessed to take advantage of the power each media form gives. This lets the viewer become closer to the story and understand more.

Photography Vs. Multimedia. One is not better than the other. They are just tools like in a construction workers tool belt. They each serves a different purpose.

We can now start see we have more demand from clients and newspapers to do video. There is new technology to do this from DSLR manufactures and we have this new way to present our stories and photography. So, my question to photographers is this:

Why are you waiting for?!

Other people are catching on and not just in the photojournalism area. You can see fashion photographers (Steven Klein, NYC & Esquire Magazine June Cover) starting to do both photography and film using The RED system and the 5D Mark II.

Almost every newspaper in America and Europe ask their photographers to do video as well as photography.

This is not a fad. This is the direction our industry is going. So come… on jump on…. it is only bumpy in the beginning.

Hoi An

My brother is visiting me. So my girlfriend and I thought it would be a good idea to go down to Hoi An for a couple of days to relax.
I grabbed my flash light and my camera bag to see if i can get an opportunity to try out a couple of ideas i have had for some photo. These photos are of some local girls ridding their bikes.

The other thing i really love about going to Hoi An is that the local food is so different than in Hanoi. Here is a photo of a man selling some of those lovely noodles in Hoi An.

The allies of Hoi An are small and provide the casual walker an easy idea of what life would have been like here in the early 1900’s. Every house you walk by you can see people through their old windows going about their daily routine.

The next day we had decided to go to an old ruin called My Son.

All in all it was a great little trip.