Shooting a Photo Essay: An Artist at Work

with Paul Taggart
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Shooting a Photo Essay: An Artist at Work
Video duration: 0s 1h 6m Intermediate


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.


Shooting a photo story intro

(banjo music) - [Paul] Hey. - Hey. - [Paul] Are you Kevin? - Yes. - Hey, Paul Taggart, nice to meet you.

(background murmuring) Photography for me is just an excuse to get access to moments in history and people's lives and to be able to tell those stories, and usually it's only for 24-48 hours, but when you get access to somebody's life, their space, their homes for 48 hours, it's the most amazing experience ever, and it's such a privilege and an honor. A lot of photographers will come in and they think they have to be sort of a fly on the wall and disappear, but for me, that's not the experience.

It's about actually interacting with that subject matter and being part of the pictures that you're making, and so, it's a relationship between your and your subject, and it's not your photographs of them, to me, it's really a collaborative process between you and the people in front of your camera. Cool, that was great. - Well, what's next? - There's a couple, let me go over the shots that I want to get with you and then we can kind of figure out when we could get 'em. I want to.

One of the most rewarding things I've ever done in photography is doing photo stories, especially when they're one-on-one with your subject. But taking just 48 hours and completely immersing yourself in somebody else's life and seeing how other people live and think and what their passions are, take your... get out of your own world for a little bit and experience someone else's.

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