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Old 08-27-2007, 04:36 AM
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jinju jinju is offline
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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:)
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