Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Expanding your family photojournalism

hey guys-something i alluded to a few posts back was shooting outside of your immediate family-we've primarily talked about capturing our own son(s) or daughter(s) but FPJ can include so much more-personally, i enjoy photographing my boys as they interact in places outside of our home-it's a nice change in venue and more family members (as potential subjects) offer opportunities for a range of unique interactions and moments, not to mention more complex and layered images-my family also enjoys my perspective on our family gatherings-just apply the same approach we've discussed in searching for moments, carefully composing, being patient, etc.-it's also great practice to get out and try to create shots-here are some i've taken with my extended family with a few notes:

something i love to do is take a unique angle on an image-their mom wanted them to "cheese" for the camera-I make a very intentional and conscious decision not to ask my children to smile-instead, i took a very different angle with a 50mm lens and waited for the expression i wanted

our family rents a club house (because there are so many of us) every Easter with a playground in back-the girls were playing on the playground and i decided i really wanted a shot as they ascended the stairs-i liked the spacing between the girls and tilted my camera (slightly) to enhance the sense of movement-the moment i released the shutter was important to me here-a second or two earlier and they wouldn't have filled the frame (right to left)-a second later and i would have "amputated" a hand or two

this shot, like many of mine, comes from studying and observing my subjects-i watched her play for a while, trying to position myself well in preparation for a shot-as she climbed through the opening, i saw something and quickly composed-as she grabbed the rail and leaned to her right, i snapped the shutter-you can teach yourself to be in the right place at the right time and to anticipate moments-i highly encourage this discipline

this was at a small gathering for a birthday party-my grandmother is in the foreground-i shot from an angle that layered them and gave each person their own distinctive space in the image-i chose to focus on my cousin here and use my grandmother as a natural framing element, giving both context and interpretation to my cousin's laughter

something i very consciously set out to do and continue is that i take my camera to my grandmother's every time i visit-i want to document her, capture the wonderful personality I've grown up with, and capture the essence of who she is-no small task but i can tell her story cumulatively-one thing i love about her is her sense of humor-i like the composition here, it's simple and nothing advanced or brilliant (though notice that even with a straight forward comp like this, i still tried to keep separation between my grandmother and cousin behind her)-the content is what makes this shot special, the genuine moment of laughter that i've experienced a thousand times

the angle was important to me here-the girls were doing acrobatics on the swing set and a standard, straight forward shot wouldn't convey that as well-i also like the motion blur and softness to the image-it all conveys action and motion and something fleeting that i was fortunate to capture

there are several things happening here at once-i really like that in an image-it tells its own story

something i love about the photography is its ability to stop a moment or an expression, for that matter-there's an intensity in her gaze-in this instance, i don't provide the person she was gazing towards-i like the mystery of leaving out that element-it's open to interpretation by any given viewer-plus, who says only "smiling kid shots" are worth shooting?

i really hope this encourages you to take your photography to your family (not just your camera to someone's house, if that makes sense)-document things that capture your family as they truly are, their quirks, their personalities, etc-we have a unique perspective that can contribute to how people see themselves and how they remember their lives-help shape that-you and your family will greatly value that over the years

thanks for stopping by, guys/gals


1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    Aww, 3 "missing image file"(s) are 3 missing treasures. I really like your photography. Will you be re-uploading those 3 and updating the link?