Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Intersection of Subject and Circumstance from a Point of View

 Our assignment for Story Narrative in Photo Journalism this week is to build on the first assignment (The Intersection of Subject and Circumstance) by producing photos taken from a specific point of view.  Although we talked about the assignment in class, I encountered a similar level of trepidation in completing this assignment.  Our professor, Toren Beasely, made the point that every photograph can tell a different story based on the point of view taken by the photographer...the concise summary of our discussion of the assignment.  I understand this conceptually, but was having some difficulty wrapping my head around it and understanding how I would execute.

When faced with ambiguity, I routinely try to imagine the extremes for the purposes of providing an envelope to frame the ambiguity and provide a more confined mental space for consideration.  In this case I imagined a tense and potentially violent protest with principal actors of protestors and police.  In this scenario a photographer could shoot from the perspective of the police attempting to manage an unruly crowd, or from the perspective of the protestors attempting to convey their message under the watchful eye of officials.  Either perspective would tell a different story.  The same scenario could be viewed in a conflict situation where the adage of one man's rebel is another's freedom fighter.

With a framework for understanding in hand, I was ready to go shoot.  But wait...I am not in a conflict zone, and there were no unruly crowds hanging around my neighborhood this weekend.  My task was no easier than before getting a grip on "point of view."  Normal life is not filled with the black and white contrasts I had conceived.  Without these contrasts, I was faced with looking for more subtle differences in point of view.

The photographs in this post are the product of my 5 shot assignment.  In my opinion, I have captured a point of view...some stronger, some less so.  However, I can hear Torens words already, "a great photograph is one where the subject, circumstance, and point of view are immediate and incontrovertible."  I will not reveal the point of view I was attempting to capture but leave that for your consideration.

I will followup this post with the assessment of my instructor and classmates.  Like the first assignment, there is likely to be some pain involved, but it is all for our benefit in becoming better photographers.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


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