BrickHouse Photo School

Tips, Tricks and Reviews for Photo Hobbyists

Posts Tagged ‘documentary photography

Places to Go on the Web – Great Photo Sites Issue 17

leave a comment »

I love photography. Not only do I love to take photographs, I love to talk, teach, and explore photography. I also like to look at great photographs to get ideas on how I can be a better photographer.
If you have any interest in digital photography, then a visit to some of these sites is worth your time. Looking at great photos will help make your own photos better because you can get ideas, tips and see what and how others are photographing their subjects. As your cruise Cyberspace, spend a few minutes looking at these Websites:

Donald Weber:  Toronto-native photographer Donald Weber’s documentary work is both beautiful and captivating. He currently resides in Russia where the bulk of his work has focused. Weber didn’t start out in photography, however. The award-winning photographer began his career as an architect in the Netherlands.

Mikhael Subotzky: This Johannesburg-based documentary photographer was born in 1981 in Cape Town, South Africa. His work has been featured in major galleries and museums around the world. His recent prizes include the 2008 ICP Infinity Award, the 2007 KLM Paul Huf Award and the 2006 F25 Award for Concerned Photography.

Connie Bransilver: Conservationist and photographer Connie Bransilver’s work has spanned the seven continents. She is an internationally-known nature photographer, author and speaker.

The Great American Influence: Roy Stryker

leave a comment »

Roy Stryker may not be known for his camera work, but he is probably one of the most influential people in documentary photography.

Roy Stryker

Roy Stryker

Stryker, an economist by training, was the head of the Farm Security Administration’s Historical Section – a U.S. government department that was created during The New Deal. The FSA employed such noted documentary photographers as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Gordon Parks and John Collier Jr. to name a few.

Born November 5, 1893 in Great Bend, Kansas, Stryker was the son of a farmer. He served in the infantry in World War I and when he returned home, he studied economics at Columbia University. He was asked to stay at the school once he graduated to teach economics with his mentor, Rexford Tugwell. The two collaborated on a book, “American Economic Life,” which used an extensive amount of photographs to highlight topics. Even in his lectures, Stryker used photographs from his collection to help bring a “real face” to the theories he was teaching.

Stryker followed his mentor to Washington D.C. as Tugwell was serving on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Brain Trust. Tugwell was appointed as the head of the FSA and made Stryker the head of the Historical Section – the section appointed to document the FSAs initiatives.

Stryker assembled one of the greatest teams of documentary photographers with a single task: document the effects of the Great Depression on the people in the hardest hit areas of the United States.

Although not a photographer himself, Stryker understood the importance of photography as a tool to both document and to influence. With his work with the FSA, Stryker was a singular figure in building one of the greatest collections of documentary images in U.S. history.

Photographers You Should Know: Sebastião Salgado

leave a comment »

Information for this article came from The Guardian.

Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado’s took a indirect path to his photography career. He initially trained as an economist, earning a master’s degree in economics from University of São Paulo and working for the International Coffee Organization.

Rwandan refugees at the hospital, run by a team of the Dutch branch of Médecins sans Frontières, Camp at Katale, Zaire. 1994. (Photo Credit: Sebastião Salgado/AMAZONAS Images/CONTACT Press Images.)

Rwandan refugees at the hospital, run by a team of the Dutch branch of Médecins sans Frontières, Camp at Katale, Zaire. 1994. (Photo Credit: Sebastião Salgado/AMAZONAS Images/CONTACT Press Images.)

It was during his tenure with the ICO, he traveled extensively to Africa on missions for the World Bank, which is when he started taking photographs. In 1973, at the age of 29, he stopped working as an economist and began his photography career. Also at that time, he moved to Paris with his family.

Born February 8, 1944 in Aimorés, which is in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazi,, Salgado’s primary photographic emphasis is on workers in less developed nations. He has published four books that encompass his long-term, self-assigned projects: The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers and Migration.

Salgado has also worked with the nonprofit humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders on a 18-month project documenting the African famine. This work led to the production of the Sahel book, which was about a man he met while producing the documentary. The books and a number of photographic exhibitions were created from this project.

Salgado is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the USA. He has also received numerous honorary doctorates and awards for his photographic works including the International Center of Photography’s Photojournalist of the Year in 1988 and the Ema and Victor Hasselblad Award for Life Achievement in 1989.

Books for Your Library: ‘Planet Shanghai: Architecture Family Food Fashion and Culture of China’s Great Metropolis’

leave a comment »

Photo books are a great addition to any library. As photographers, we are constantly searching for new ideas and are always interested in seeing concepts-done-well. Here’s a suggestion to add to your library …

Justin Guariglia’s book, “Planet Shanghai: Architecture Family Food Fashion and Culture of China’s Great Metropolis,” is a wonderful photo essay on Shanghai, the legendary city of the East.
The 240-page hardcover book is full of images that show a variety of emotion: striking, whimsical, reverent and light-hearted. The work is an intimate portrait of the people and places that make Shanghai an attraction to the masses.

Guariglia is no stranger to the city. Born in Maplewood, New Jersey, he was a student in China during the 1990s. He took an interest to the Daoist and Buddhist philosophies and spent months traveling to temples and holy sites. He spent nearly a decade documenting the Far East.

The book is available at Amazon.

Written by jeremyparce

April 19, 2009 at 8:04 am

Respecting Culture: Know the Rules Before You Go

leave a comment »

As a photojournalist, I have taken photos of situations in which it would normally be considered rude or insensitive to bring a camera: car accidents, shootings, funerals, wakes, etc. but it was part of the job. For the most part, my presence as a photojournalist was necessary – I was there to tell a story. More often than not, I was invited and discussed the arrangements with the family or the family’s representative. Photojournalists have a code of ethics in which the majority of us hold dear. But what about tourists? Should we, when on vacation, hold ourselves to a code of ethics?

Even though I was on assignment and invited to a public dance in Gallup, I still asked the permission of the dancers to make a photograph. A little common courtesy goes a long way. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Even though I was on assignment and invited to a public dance in Gallup, I still asked the permission of the dancers to make a photograph. A little common courtesy goes a long way. (Photo Credit: Jeremy W. Schneider)

Yes. I believe we need to be culturally sensitive no matter where we are or whatever the purpose of our photography happens to be.

Take for example the Zuni Tribe who live in the Pueblo of Zuni along the western edge of New Mexico. I worked as a photojournalist in New Mexico and had several opportunities to go to the Pueblo of Zuni for various events. Surrounded by the large Navajo Nation, the Zuni Pueblo is a small, beautiful area away from the nearest city of any size, Gallup.

I would drive down, photograph my assignment, and return to Gallup to edit photos but after a few trip down to Zuni I began to notice the tourists. For the most, they were respectful of the residents of Zuni Pueblo (remember, it’s not a museum, it’s a community just like any other) but there were a few who were, quite simply, very pushy.

So I asked a friend of mine, who was raised in Zuni Pueblo but lived and worked in Gallup, about the tourists. The stories he told, although humorous at times, were shocking. My favorite is a how a lady walked up to his home, opened the door, peered in while he and his brother were playing video games and said “What? Video games? This is supposed to be a REAL Indian village.”

Now, most of us aren’t quite that, ummm, clueless, but there are those who break the rules to some degree or another.

The Zuni Tourism office even has a posting on its Website on how to visit the Pueblo and be respectful. One of the more important – and possibly overlooked – rules is the photography rule posted clearly on the Website:

“Consider capturing visual memories instead of photographs! Assume that ALL “cultural” activities within the Pueblo are off-limits to photograph, video or audio record or sketch unless specifically informed otherwise. Always inquire first and ask permission before photographing any activity involving people. NO photography is permitted of images inside the Old Mission.”

Does this mean you shouldn’t visit Zuni Pueblo? No. Of course not. It’s important, however, to remember to be aware of the social norms of the area.

Just as you would consider it rude for strangers to walk into your church, temple or mosque and take pictures, so too is it rude to photograph the religious and/or cultural activities of another groups’ way of life.

Another example would be that of the Old Order Amish who live mainly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. For the most part, their religious beliefs forbid them to own a photograph or pose for a photograph and they wish to not be photographed. I have, however, seen tourists clicking away even after they have been asked to stop.

If you’re ever asked to stop taking a photo, please respect the rights of the person whom you are photographing. ALWAYS ask permission first if possible. ALWAYS check with tourism offices when traveling to an area that is outside of what you’re used to. If there’s no tourism board, then follow the instructions on signs. A camera isn’t a license to do whatever you want whenever you want. It’s a tool to make memories, preserve emotions and convey a message so convey the message of sensitivity by NOT making photos when it’s inappropriate.

Santa Monica College Pays Tribute to Slain Artist, Photojournalist, Activist Dan Eldon

leave a comment »

SANTA MONICA, CA – The Santa Monica College Pete & Susan Barrett Art Gallery presents “JOURNEY: Images of War/Celebrations of Peace,” a powerful tribute to the late Dan Eldon, a young artist and photojournalist whose images of war-torn and famine-stricken Somalia reverberated throughout the world.

"Boy with Gun." (Photo Credit: Dan Eldon, via MarketWire)

"Boy with Gun." (Photo Credit: Dan Eldon, via MarketWire)

The traveling exhibit contains not only photographs taken in Somalia, but also large reproductions of the collages he created in his journals, as well as art supplies and personal belongings. The exhibit continues through March 21.

In the summer of 1993, Eldon, who was on location covering the Somali conflict for Reuters, was asked by Somali locals to photograph destruction caused by the mistaken bombing by the U.N. of what they believed was the house of a warlord. Amid the ruins, and the frenzy that ensued, Eldon and four other journalists were stoned to death by the enraged mob. Dan was 22 years old when he died.

Eldon’s mother and sister, Kathy and Amy, who both reside in Los Angeles, continue to honor Dan’s legacy and spirit through their foundation, Creative Visions Foundation (, which supports creative activists like Dan who use media and the arts to create awareness and inspire positive change in the world. CVF sponsors the traveling exhibit and also provides vital assistance such as mentoring, networking and financial support to other creative activists.

“JOURNEY: Images of War/Celebrations of Peace” has toured six countries and has been opened by more than four heads of state, including the President of Kenya and former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson. Journalist Dan Rather opened the show at Columbia University and Tom Brokaw spoke at Duke University when the exhibit opened there.

Gallery information can be found here.