Forums


Go Back   The TrekEarth Forums >

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-27-2007, 05:36 AM
jinju jinju is offline
TE Expert
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,064
Default Shooting with David Alan Harvey

At the beginning, I have to say that this past 2 weeks have been an education. 20 Magnum photographers converged on Korea to do a book about the country. There will also be an exhibition that will tour around the world. Guys like Abbas, Erwitt, Majoli, Chang, etc. I was actually able to meet 3 of them, Chang for breakfast and Majoli briefly at a bar and karaoke. But it was so brief it really doesnt matter. What does matter is david Alan Harvey, whom I have been in contact with through his blog. In my wildest dreams I didnt expect more than a meeting, maybe to shoot with him once and thats it. But what I got was a summer school crash course. I enjoyed the opportunity to shoot 4 days with him, two of which were just me and him:) But to watch him shoot made me really think. And to listen to him talk, even more. I suppose the two biggest lessons I learned from him were:

1. It must be tight. Now, up to this point Ive been shooting random scenes. Simply walking around, trying to catch something. A mistake. I always felt that was a mistake, but it never really took hold in my mind. What David stressed to me was to shoot projects. Shoot with a concept in mind. Not only does the story need to be tight, the look of the photographs, the style must be tight as well...the photos must have a constant look. This was a watershed moment for me, and Ive been thinking of ideas for projects since then. The thing I noticed about him is how he will stick to a single place and shoot there for hours at a time, taking dozens of shots for that one good one at the end. Twice I went to shoot with him at night. He would hang around the same intersection for almost the whole night.

2. This is connected to the first point: dont do too many things at the same time. Shoot a project till you are sick of it. Shoot, reshoot, go back and refine. Edit, refine, keep at it till you get it just right. You may notice that Ive recently started shooting the topic of taekwondo. And I posted a lot of the shots here. This is something I was encouraged to continue.

As a result, Ive really started thinking about ideas for series. If good photography tells a story, then a single image cant hope to be considered good photography. No matter how good an image it is. perhaps this is the biggest weakness of Trek Earth, as good a site as it is. It doesnt teach us to put together longer series. The ability to make a good image may be 30% of the ballgame. Good phootgraphy only starts once good images come together to say something, be it a story or a conceptual idea. The sequencing, the way they relate to each other. This is something I felt when putting together a portfolio...it didnt coalesce into a united product. Far too disjointed. And infact this is very much the feedback I got from David on half of the portfolio which was simply a collection of my favorite singles. A bit disheartening as you can imagine (I was apred total defeat when he enoyed what i showed him of the TKD story)..yet fantastically liberating at the same time. I never imagined that a harsh criticism was going to feel so good. But it did, and it helped me really realize what Ive felt for a long time about what I was doing with the camera.

Thats a lot. I guess if I distill all of that it would be this: Shoot as if you were assigned a project to do a photoessay. Make sure it is united, and it flows.

Now, what I wont share with you is what he told me about other well known photographers:) This might just be the juciest stuff of all:)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-27-2007, 11:36 AM
Luko Luko is offline
TE Expert
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,969
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Very interesting learnings...

I vaguely had this scheme in mind, sometimes in practise : get THE location and stand there until I get the ultimate shot, try various day and night lightings, etc. though this is something we, holiday traveling shooters, cannot afford. It may lead to this practical advise : either shoot at home or stay at one holiday place... this sounds like the death of the traveling photographer myth in a way...
I suppose that it also confirms the idea that you should only select the creme of the creme of your photos and therefore have to take many to get a quality tight selection.

"No matter how good an image it is. perhaps this is the biggest weakness of Trek Earth, as good a site as it is. It doesnt teach us to put together longer series."
Well, this might not be so new but that is a serious confirmation for something some of us have already complained in the past. There is no place in Trekearth for photo sets (who said "themes"? Lemme laugh...) and this is a reason why some of us are migrating towards gallery oriented sites.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-27-2007, 12:24 PM
jinju jinju is offline
TE Expert
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,064
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

get THE location and stand there until I get the ultimate shot, try various day and night lightings, etc. though this is something we, holiday traveling shooters, cannot afford. It may lead to this practical advise : either shoot at home or stay at one holiday place... this sounds like the death of the traveling photographer myth in a way...
---------------------------------------

Infact Luko this is a topic I brought up with him and the conclusion was that its a great idea. And yeah, what you said would require time and it would have to be something close to home. Ive already taken the initiative to start a one year project which would have me shoot in a single place atleast 3 days a week. And Ive got the perfect place too:)


----------------------------------------------
I suppose that it also confirms the idea that you should only select the creme of the creme of your photos and therefore have to take many to get a quality tight selection.
--------------------------------------------

Big time. And by creme of the crop it has the be absolutely the best. HEAVY editing is in order especially if you think about how few photos a legend like Koudelka, for example, actually has. In decades he has done how many books? Dont start on about Parr:)

Who was it that said the first 10,000 shots are crap? That may not be 100% on the money but it does go to show how few good shots anyone will really have. Even HCB had only a small window over his long life where he shot his most brilliant work.

P.S. Luko, where are you migrating?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-27-2007, 12:25 PM
luisafonso luisafonso is offline
TE Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 557
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Thanks for sharing this Rafal. Really appreciated.
Like Luko says, these thoughts also run through my mind a couple of times. That's why I probably will never be a good photographer. That's not the way we live our passion around here. At least I talk for myself. I don't have the time to devote to this and when I say time I mean almost full time. To build a consistent work you need to devote a lot of effort into it. Specially concerning street photography. As you wrote, a collection of singles means nothing when we talk about serious photography. I mean, just look at your set with a critical mind and you'll find that they are ok but they will never be more than just that. At least, that's what I feel when I look at mine. They don't tell a story, there are assorted emotions in them (if any at all) and they probably will not resist the test of time by themselves.
So if you want your photography to grow - and I know you do - you'll definitely have to pay more attention to consistent projects like your tkd series. Of course, it will not have the usual TE impact your photos get, but TE is not a place to grow when we talk about photography in these terms. The culture here is very different, just because of the way the site was and is designed. It's a pity because the critiques around here are usually better than in many other better designed sites.
I'll sit here waiting for your (and others) photo essays.
Stay safe, l.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-27-2007, 12:41 PM
jinju jinju is offline
TE Expert
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,064
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

So if you want your photography to grow - and I know you do - you'll definitely have to pay more attention to consistent projects like your tkd series. Of course, it will not have the usual TE impact your photos get, but TE is not a place to grow when we talk about photography in these terms. The culture here is very different, just because of the way the site was and is designed. It's a pity because the critiques around here are usually better than in many other better designed sites.
I'll sit here waiting for your (and others) photo essays.
Stay safe, l.
---------------------------------------------------

Spot on, Luis. I put togeher 2 portfolios. One with TKD one with miscellaneous street shots. Even putting it together, I had a different feeling. The TKD is still in its infancy, I have ideas how to take it further, yet even now, its startint to say something. It will take me a year of shooting it to get what I want, to be able to take a lot of photos, edit down and create something meaningful. The miscellaneous shots were some of my big hitters. I felt nothing overall for it, although some parts offer promising jumping off points to develop into coherent wholes. But as a collection of pretty much unrelated stuff...I shouldnt have even shown it to be honest. Next time I wont make that mistake. Ill take the seedlings and take them somewhere and discard the rest.

The good thing is Ive been able to focus my mind a bit more. The TKD series is something I want to publish eventually as a whole, and even now it could be an ok photoessay. Still very much a work in progress. Other ideas is to really focus in on a single location. The easiest for me is a fountain Ive put photos from onto TE before. Both offer coherency in terms of subject and also style.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-27-2007, 01:05 PM
El_Ingles El_Ingles is offline
TE Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 3
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Many thanks, Rafal, for sharing these insights with us. And the advice gels very nicely with the thread under Tips-Techniques that I started a few weeks ago (in my former TE incarnation) on Street Photography. I was beginning to conclude from my own experiences that it is necessary to stick to a single location and to learn all it has to offer (but alone as even the loyalist of accompanying wives or husbands will become disenchanted!). But I hadn't realised the importance of a project. I guess it encourages an added discipline and commitment.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing your themes develop on Flickr.

Best wishes

Stephen
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-27-2007, 01:24 PM
jinju jinju is offline
TE Expert
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,064
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

flick is great for that: organizing your work into real sets.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-27-2007, 02:25 PM
rigoletto's Avatar
rigoletto rigoletto is offline
TE Expert
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Istanbul
Posts: 2,766
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Hi Rafal,
It was a joy reading your experiences with DAH.
He is correct, i mean, if you want to stand the test of time as a street photographer, you should devote yourself and stick to it in order to create projects.
A street photography project designed to tell a whole story...
It depends on you, how much effort and time you can consume for this, as it leaps into professionalism.
As for me, i am a professional mechanical engineer, and i spare half of my life for doing projects on materials. And they make up a whole sum, culminating somethings which will stand the test of time.
DAH is a professional photographer, and he spares his whole life to create Magnum projects.
From this point of view, TE has its humble travel projects in itself, do not blame us, the amateur tourist genre. When i went to Salzburg for instance, it becomes a small Salzburg project: "Salzburg according to Rigoletto" is something worth more than scornfull look i hope :)
As i told before, it counts on how dedicated you can be on this work. Go to the vampires district in Seoul, and spend your nights to create a vampire story. Who can stop you, if you are so much into that idea? If the seeds of that idea "photos that do not belong to a story project are not good photography" so much counts, then Keribar becomes a bad photographer.
It is not that comparison issue for sure.
Photography is art, and its value depends on who is measuring that value.
I do prefer a professional landscape photographer to measure a landscape photo, while a profi Magnum photographer measures a street photo.
Develop yourself due to the market you will sell yourself.
Cheers,
Deniz
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-27-2007, 02:42 PM
ALSOM ALSOM is offline
TE Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 992
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Thanks Jinju for sharing your input.

From my discussion with many phtog, working on a project is key, it's a way to structure one's photography, to be more selective on your work ... The difficulty is to find an interesting project. Should it be a personal project and a project that would interest the outside world ?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-27-2007, 06:21 PM
kinginexile kinginexile is offline
TE Expert
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,537
Default Re: Shooting with David Alan Harvey

Thnaks for so diligently reporting on this fabulous experience, Rafal.

Guys, you know what, think, remember your best teacher in high school. There are specifics to photography, but I recognize what DAH told Rafal in what my text teacher (professeur de francais) told me almost 4 decades ago. be succinct, not bloated, don't overstate but stay with it til' you get it right, don't put too many ideas in one place that will dilute your message, define what you want to do and stick with it, and scream your text (not sure what that would be in photography), its flaws will become apparent. In a word, discipline, and we all know, if we are being honest with ourselves, that getting out with the camera, shooting rain or shine does not qualify as discipline.

Luko mentions keeping only the good shots. I think he does not mean "nice" one. In the workshop/students section of his blog, DAH has posted a series from one of his korean students, the discussion between him, DAH, and the blog visitors over the rather uninvolving quality of each shot, taken in itself, or redeemed as a series, defended by David, addresses very much the subjectivity of good and bad shots, and what a series is.

Thanks, Rafal. DAH is from san Francisco. Damned, he must have some family to visit here at some point.....:-)
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:57 AM.



Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.
explore TREKEARTH