POST IN PROGRESS: more photos to come later today.
Work and school have me so busy of late, I’m tired as and still so busy.
I just got back from the second day of a two-day weekend workshop on photographing in public with available light. The first day was out at Hurstbridge and it’s surrounding suburbs, the second at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne city.
Can’t say any of the photos I took on either day were that great but can say that I think I’ll consider my skills of interacting with strangers for the purpose of obtaining their photograph have become a little better.
That was our task on Saturday, conduct a photographic study (photo journalistic) of a human subject. In fact we had to do two. This involved us approaching a subject, talking with the subject to build rapport and finally request permission to take a series of photo of them and their “story”. I put story in inverted commas because we really only had two hours to gather two sets of photos, so not a great deal of time to get a true picture of each subject before moving onto the next.
I started the task wanting to do something different to everyone else. Most of the folks were going to the local market at St Andrews so I kept driving beyond to where I saw a sign reading “massive garage sale”.
I’ve never been to a garage sale before. The idea of getting someone else’s possessions has never appealed to me. Maybe that’s because I value my own quite a bit and never want to part with any of them; I still have every iPod I’ve ever owned, they sit proudly on a shelf in the spare room.
Anyway I went along to this massive garage sale to take a look around and see what was doing.
I got to talking to a guy who was the son-in-law of the lady who owned the house. She was also running around talking to people, helping a group of men move one of two giant pots (she wasn’t doing any lifting, just directing, as if I wouldn’t offer to help if help was needed). He told me that she was basically selling everything and yes everything in the entire house had price tags on it. The little nick knacks on the shelf, exercise machines, a wooden canoe, a big boat, even bags of clothing were being sold by the bag.
It seemed kind of interesting until he told me how she was selling everything to get away from the place. He didn’t say so but it seemed like she’d lost her husband, an interaction with someone who seemed to be a neighbour was short and strained. At this point I ditched the idea of documenting this particular scene.
I ended up back at St Andrews Market, I’d never been so I was always going to try and make a stop in before I had to go back to the course. I decided to do my studies there.
At the market I met a man who was selling wallets, talked with him for a while. Found out he was a member of a photography club, just did it for fun. I asked him how he does the camera stuff if he is at the market all the time. He said he had been at the market for a couple of years and that he doesn’t really get to take photos that often. He attends the camera club at night and it was a great social outlet for him. He reluctantly agreed to having his photo taken, clearly the consumate photographer, we never like standing in front of the camera.
My second series was of Anika, she makes vegetarian paella. Each Saturday she brings her giant pots and buys all of the produce at the market before she starts cook. It looks delicious and after talking with her and taking her photos I finally bought some. I always make sure to take the photos first before entering into any commerce. I’d never want the subject to feel they owe me something. I even would have bought some if she’d said no to the photos.
After lunch we all went out separately and shot some landscapes, they didn’t have to be your typical sweeping vistas, but more a study much like we had created with the people earlier in the day.
I drove the extra 20 kilometres or so to Kinglake stopping at various places along the way and capturing the regrowth of the environment. It was great to see nature coming back, but then I guess that’s what the Aussie bush is known for. It was also great to see the amount of new houses going up where houses had been lost. The people rebuilding their lives and their town.
The first day was rounded out with the start of an amazing documentary, “War Photographer”, the story of James Netchey a guy who brings some horrendouse stories to the world at large, things we would never know about without guys like him getting into the scene and taking photos that would make average Joes like you and me cringe and wretch. It was a moving piece, I can’t wait to watch the rest of it, while graphic and at times surreal it was inspiring.
I also learnt quite a bit, a few things about my camera that I didn’t know, some tricks of the trade.
The second day started at 8:30 in the morning at Gate H of The Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. Our task today was to take a specific theme of photos. I chose the theme “looking up”. Not too inspired but it was a fun day. I really think that both days were more about getting used to shooting around other people and feeling less weird lying on our backs while taking photos. Generally to withstand the stares of the others around us.
Today was ended with us back at PSC going through out photos and submitting two assessments.
The other standout thing this weekend was the food we were provided. A chef named Joseph created some amazing dishes for us this weekend, even for us vegetarians in attendance.
So all in all it was a great weekend, but I’m not sure how I’m going to make it through this next week and next Saturday as we have a full day of class.