How Photographing Objects Leads to People

One of the great challenges in photojournalism is being told to photograph a thing. It may be a building or a bridge or a birdcage, but, chances are, unless you have the ability to light the daylights out of it, it’s going to be static.

And static isn’t great for news photographs. My mantra has always been we tell stories through people. Someone lived or worked in the building, someone built the bridge, someone put a bird in the birdcage – that’s there the story comes in.

So stumbling across this Alec Soth piece about being asked to photograph the oldest living tree in the world and how that grew into tying into aging made me smile.

That photo of Lloyd sitting on a picnic bench? Man, does that resonate with me. It speaks about the costs of survival, the will to continue on …

Mark E. Johnson

1 Response

  1. Alec Soth is great. I’d highly recommend all students take a look at Niagara, Dog Days of Bogota, and Sleeping by the Mississippi. The way that he combines portraits, landscapes, and details to provide a more complete picture of a place is incredible. These are the essential elements of a good photo story and the way that Soth mixes documentary photography and fine art really expands the definition of the document and creates something very visually interesting.

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