Weekly theme 4th March 2019 - Documentary Photography


(Helen Hooker) #1

Hello everyone - I hope your week has started well. I’m a little later in the day than usual posting the new theme, so let’s jump straight in.

This week’s theme is Documentary Photography

The concept for this week’s theme was inspired by a workshop I attended last Friday.

The humanitarian and conflict photographer Tim Hetherington was tragically killed while working on an assignment in Syria back in 2011. His work is widely admired for documenting more than just war, focusing on the human emotions of conflict situations and he won the World Press Photo award in 2008. His archive, of photos, negatives, journals and his cameras, have recently been donated to the Imperial War Museum and they are considering how to share these with the wider world.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a workshop to discuss Tim’s work and how best to exhibit it. It was fascinating to get a glimpse into his work processes, seeing how he photographed a fluid situation. Of course, we only get to see the image, or handful of images, that are chosen for publication, but here we had a sneak peak at the pictures before and after his winning image from 2008. It was interesting to see how he changed compositions to find the best image and we all agreed that the most powerful picture wasn’t necessarily the one that was technically perfect.

Very few of us will find ourselves documenting a war zone, but we can all find our inner documentary photographer in less dramatic settings. With this in mind I thought we could all turn journalist this week and do some documentary photography.

Photographing local news

Depending on where you live, there may be an unfolding story happening near you. For instance, I happened upon this demonstration in London on Friday. The city’s taxi drivers are unhappy about some planned changes to where they are allowed to ply their trade, so they staged a mass traffic jam outside the Houses of Parliament. It was all very peaceful, but was still a great photo opportunity. I took the chance to chat to some of the drivers and that informed the way I shot my photos.

Documenting a favourite place

If the journalistic approach doesn’t appeal, why not document your favourite place and share it with us? It might be a building that has special memories for you, or a place in the landscape. Try and tell a story with your image. For instance, I spent some time documenting the British Library recently. This picture showcases the strong modern architecture, but also shows the human element, with people hard at work studying.

Take to the streets

Alternatively, you could take to the streets and seek out some of the everyday activity in your home area to document. This is a scene I found in Whitechapel recently, where a local street artist was drawing quite a crowd.

Those are just a few ideas, drawn from my own archive, but the possibilities are endless.

I can’t wait to see what each of you chooses to document. Have fun!

How to participate:

  • Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 10th March
  • To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
  • Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
  • To vote, click the :heart: heart icon.
  • If you post your picture early in the week don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!

Winner of the last theme

We had one winner for last week’s ‘passageways’ theme and I’m delighted to announce it was @heidiegerman. I love this monochrome image, with a passage leading us up between the buildings. I really want to follow it and find out where it leads. Congratulations Heidi!


(Kenny H) #2

Students from all across the city stage a mass walkout and head to City Hall, to protest bad conditions and lack of funding.


(Jolien Dekens) #3

This photo is taken inside a local monument. It used to be a church, you can still see the foundations of the church as it was in the year 1000 and a statue made out of the wood of a 500 year old oak tree.


(Berckmans Peter) #4


Sadly we needed these extra forces in the street. Things are better now and they are only on key places.


(Lakshmi Bhat) #5

Last year we were in Uttarakhand. We were happy to visit a woollen factory. The weaver was making a woollen shawl and explained to us the working of the handloom. We documented this in our mind and also as photos.


(Bethany Plonski) #6


Documenting this week’s photography class :slight_smile:


(Sigrid Strohschneider-Laue) #7

Press conference: Chef Darren Teoh Min Guo presenting his book „Redifinition“ (traditional Malaysian recipes transformed into molecular cuisine) at Frankfurt bookfair.


(D Vgz) #8

Cuban Cigars in the making.


(Bob Rosenberg) #9


Given a $30,000 grant, San Jose, CA hired 100 artists to paint a mural on the side of a downtown building. Each artist has a 3X3 foot square to paint.


(Kenny H) #10

I would have LOVED to take part in this!


(Russell Smith) #11

@popparatzee you still can because it is still running :slight_smile:


(Helen Hooker) #12

Please do post something Ken - it’s great to see new posts, even if they sometimes come after the deadline - like most of mine!