by Essdras M Suarez, Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer
definition: An attempt to achieve or acquire something especially artfully; reaching after
Uncommon Images from Common Circumstances
When you work for a newspaper there’s always the need for stand-alone art, weather art, a.k.a. features. These are the eye-candy, or eye-catching images that don’t carry a story with them other than just the caption information. However, these still do play an important role by filling “holes” in the page. Sometimes these even can “carry” a page, a section front or even the front page.
How do we do this?
Newspaper photographers deal with these types of scenarios on a daily bases. The first thing we’d do, would be to get out of our cars and walk. In twenty years as a newspaper photographer I can count with one hand the times where I was able to make a great photo from my car. This is not to be taken literally in all scenarios. What you need to take out of this is that you need to get close with your subject matter in order to make great photos.
This is a formula that applies to any street- photo situation, which in a way is what “weather art” or “features” is all about. Capturing normalcy of an every-day- life situation in an interesting manner. Be it by the angle, the moment, the quality of light or by capturing a repeating a geometric pattern, etc.
Let’s take for example the weather. In the summer months people tend sunbathe. So as a shooter I used to go looking for the known places for such activity. However, there’d times were there’d be too many people sun bathing or lounging to the point that it’d become a scenario full of visual overload. This feeling of being overwhelmed by a situation while looking for photos is one shared by beginner and seasoned photographers alike. There are ways of dealing with situations like these ones.
Instead of becoming overwhelmed:
Try these steps:
- Don’t look at the whole, or the totality.
- Break down the scene in front of you into segments and then assess these based upon what’s in them and for their photo potential and or uniqueness.
- Never forget that if a moment is happening then to capture it should be your number one priority. Decisive moments will always rule the day.
- Try a bit of circular logic: Why am I here? To make photos.
- What kind of photos? Good, better than average photos, and hopefully even great ones.
In my case, I used to ask myself, “What is your job?” My job was to document, to create captivating, interesting, and unique images. To see and to document the world from a different perspective and to simply see beyond what the average person sees.
You have to remember, we might not succeed in making great photos all the time but only by practicing our art do we become better photographers.
And as always remember to apply this mantra to all of your photo shoots:
Keep moving, keep shooting, keep adjusting!
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