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  Previous versions of cgardner's message #11308261 « Idle hands »

  

cgardner
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Re: Idle hands


My reaction was similar to Doug's: The hands are not clearing seen and the context of what, why and where of the action of the hands and jars isn't communicated to the viewer in a clear way.

What's in the jars? Peaches, beans, moonshine? I can't ever remember seeing honey packed in Mason jars so that would be one of the last things I'd guess, or that he was a bee keeper.

As mentioned in other shots this is the type of situation where my approach would be to first take the totally candid "grab" shot then approach the subject, show it to them and say something like: "I captured this great shot of your hands but they are hidden from view. Would you mind posing for me for a few minutes so I can do better?" Then I'd shoot wide (for the where context), medium crop to show the context of the action, then close-ups of the hands and bottles, or a backlit shot of him holding one up to the light and examining it's golden goodness.

In my "Shooting Cinegraphically" tutorial http://photo.nova.org/CinematicApproach/ I include a story I shot that way at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Being an introvert by nature I'd always been reluctant to interact with strangers like that but had just read a National Geographic Field Guide book by Robert Caputo on photographing people in which he suggested the approach above. I tried it and got a story I wouldn't have imagined. The lone guy at the memorial making a rubbing was there for his Dad. The names he was making an impression of (listed in chronological order of death on the wall) where his Dad's platoon-mates killed in an ambush he survived.

I never would have gotten that story if I hadn't screwed up the courage to appoach, show him the photo I'd taken candidly and engage him in conversation.

Digital makes it easier than in the days with film because that first candid shot is like a calling card/ ice breaker to start the conversation with a total stranger. Some people will tell you to buzz off or delete their shot (which I comply with) but most are glad to tell their story and flattered that someone is interested enough to listen to it and photograph it. I got his address and sent him the photos on a CD to give to his Dad along with the impression from the wall. It gave me a greater appreciation for the memorial I'd seen many times (I worked across the street from it and would walk by it nearly every day in the summer).

From accounts I've read of WPA photographers in the 30's they would sometimes do the same thing to improve the visual narrative. That apparently gets the knickers of some "PJ purists" in a twist, in one case because a chair in a sharecropper's house was moved to make it less distracting. Obviously I'm not a member of that photo club.




Jan 29, 2013 at 02:41 PM
cgardner
Offline
Upload & Sell: Off
Re: Idle hands


My reaction was similar to Doug's: The hands are not clearing seen and the context of what, why and where of the action of the hands and jars isn't communicated to the viewer in a clear way.

What's in the jars? Peaches, beans, moonshine? I can't ever remember seeing honey packed in Mason jars so that would be one of the last things I'd guess, or that he was a bee keeper.

As mentioned in other shots this is the type of situation where my approach would be to first take the totally candid "grab" shot then approach the subject, show it to them and say something like: "I captured this great shot of your hands but they are hidden from view. Would you mind posing for me for a few minutes so I can do better?" Then I'd shoot wide (for the where context), medium crop to show the context of the action, then close-ups of the hands and bottles, or a backlit shot of him holding one up to the light and examining it's golden goodness.

In my "Shooting Cinegraphically" tutorial http://photo.nova.org/CinematicApproach/ I include a story I shot that way at the Vietnam Memorial in DC. Being an introvert by nature I'd always been reluctant to interact with strangers like that but had just read a National Geographic Field Guide book by Robert Caputo on photographing people in which he suggested the approach above. I tried it and got a story I wouldn't have imagined. The lone guy at the memorial making a rubbing was there for his Dad. The names he was making an impression of (listed in chronological order of death on the wall) where his Dad's platoon-mates killed in an ambush he survived.

I never would have gotten that story if I hadn't screwed up the courage to appoach, show him the photo I'd taken candidly and engage him in conversation.

Digital makes it easier than in the days with film because that first candid shot is like a calling card/ ice breaker to start the conversation with a total stranger. Some people will tell you to buzz off or delete their shot (which I comply with) but most are glad to tell their story and flattered that someone is interested enough to listen to it and photograph it. I got his address and sent him the photos on a CD to give to his Dad along with the impression from the wall. It gave me a greater appreciation for the memorial I'd seen many times (I worked across the street from it and would walk by it nearly every day in the summer).

From accounts I've read of WPA photographers in the 30's they would sometimes do the same thing to improve the visual narrative. That apparently gets the knickers of some "PJ purists" in a twist, in one case because a chair was moved to make it less distracting but obviously I'm not a member of that photo club.




Jan 29, 2013 at 02:23 PM



  Previous versions of cgardner's message #11308261 « Idle hands »