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A photo essay is a series of photographs that tell a story about a person, place, event, or trend. In this course, photojournalist Paul Taggart takes us on assignment as he photographs Kevin Carman, an artist in Ventura, California.
Paul, whose work has appeared in publications such the New York Times and National Geographic, shares insights into how he prepares for an assignment, how he engages his subject, and how he takes advantage of unpredictable and unforeseen situations. The course concludes with a look at how the final essay might be sequenced and distributed.
So, earlier today I was talking to Kevin about working at night, because when I talked to him on the phone he said, that he gets up super early in the morning and he just works all day. And so, I was curious you know does he actually work at night. And wonders why I asked this, because I saw some very cool lighting elements that were sitting out here. And I thought how cool to be to actually shoot him in evening time once it's dark, just to mix things up a bit. One of the problems when you are shooting your photo story, is you get so many pictures of the same subject, the same person, the same the sculptures, whatever your subject matter is. And it actually becomes a bit boring visually, when you're looking at 30 pictures in a row in one photo essay. And so, one of the ways you can mix this up is, you know, using different lenses and things like that.
But also, by using different times of day, and just having different light. and so he wasn't actually going to be working tonight, but he does work most nights. And so I asked him, you know, can we power up some lights this evening since we're here today? And do a little bit of, do a little bit of work that I can document and he was, okay doing it. And so we're going to check it out, and so far it looks like it's pretty awesome lighting. So, I think it's going to be a good good little story. It's also going to help me with our narrative, because tomorrow we're going to shoot him having his coffee. And then we're going to have this shot of him working at night. And it's going to kind of bookend our edited project hopefully. And we're going to have a nice, full story when we sit down and edit this piece together.
(SOUND) Because it was a different light source than it was earlier today, which was just the outdoors and the sun. We came up with some new, more dynamic images. Kevin was doing some of the exact same activities that he was earlier today.
But now they have a whole new atmosphere and life to them. I'm really loving what I've shot so far. And I'm really excited to go back and sort of, look at what these images are like. (SOUND) I walked around this space and all of a sudden in taking 30 steps back from my subject and sort of, walking in a complete circle around. I started seeing different shapes in the foreground. Silhouettes that I can play with, dark shadows, there's just a lot of fun things that happen when you mix up your lighting situation.
(SOUND) Lighting is just one of those ingredients, we can throw in there to make a collection of images look different. We can have flat lighting, we have dynamic lighting, we have contrasting lighting, there's all sorts of different textures that are brought out in our images. And when we have 30 or 40 images stacked next to each other, we need them to start looking different. And so we've been photographing all day in similar lighting. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of shooting at night, and incorporating some different lighting techniques. Now, that I'm back at the hotel, I'm excited to compare the images I've taken at night with the ones that I've taken earlier in the day.
I've got a huge selection of images I've got to look through tonight. I'm going to estimate since I did three cards, so between 1,500 and 2,000 images. Just to work through. It's going to take me a while to download all of those. But before I got to bed, I want to put my eyes on for at least one pass. And maybe in the morning, I'll start making a sequence out of these. So, I'm excited to get in there. Check them out, but I think I've got at least three images I can think of. I just did with the night shoot, that I'm going to really love.
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