Half Term Photo Assignment – Documenting an Event
So far, you have made excellent progress on the AS course. Now it’s time to consider some ‘Reportage’ photography.
Over half term, wherever you will be you need to choose an event to attend. This can be anything – a car boot sale, a musical concert, a sporting fixture, a car rally, an agricultural show, a political demonstration, a children’s party – but try to pick one which attracts a good cross-section of the public if possible(i.e. a good range of age and appearance) to maximise the potential for a good photo opportunity.
Now comes the clever bit: instead of concentrating on the event itself, turn your attention to the spectators, or the little incidents taking place at the fringe, or the aftermath of the event. The idea is to try and capture the flavour of the occasion rather than documenting what people are watching.
For good examples, look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Charles Peterson, Robert Frank and Martin Parr. (Go to the ‘photography’ link at jcgmedia.co.uk)
All of these have produced some stunning images of people captivated by something out of shot, or engrossed in a small moment at a large gathering.
You also need to find some relevant images by one other photographer of your choice. Think of those we have seen in the ‘Genius of Photography’ DVDs.
You will need to blend into the background a bit so people will not be too interested in you as a photographer. Find a likely spot and stay there for a while so people forget you are there. Take a lot of photos (or pretend to) of other things going on, then gradually begin to photograph what is going on immediately around you, again so that you do not arouse suspicion. Try to focus on the little details that say a lot.
What we need from you
You should aim for 200-300 images on contact sheets (they don’t all have to be from the same event). Remember to keep all your images so the moderator can see your progress and appreciate your editing.
Enlarge 10-20 of your favourites to make a photo ‘essay’ as your final take on the event. Try printing in monochrome as well as colour for a different pictorial atmosphere, and don’t forget everything you have learnt so far about composition.
Show your favourite examples of work by the photographers mentioned earlier, and show evidence that you have researched one other. Explain briefly why you like their work.
Include a short written explanation (around 250 words – more if you need to) which will tell the moderator what sort of event it was, the weather conditions, what you tried to achieve and whether you thought you were successful. If you were to do it again, how would you do it differently?
Present everything in your workbooks.
All work should be ready for handing in the week beginning Monday 12th Dec.