Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video What makes a photograph good?, part of Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York with Rodney Smith.
- View Offline
Chris Orwig: What makes a photograph good, or successful?…Rodney Smith: I think, and I have talked about this also on occasion, that one of the great…difficulties about being a photographer is you're dealing with a…three-dimensional world with all kinds of smells and sights and an ambience and an…experience and the weather and all of that, which the viewer has no relationship…to, nor necessarily any regard for. And you've got to take this experience,…qualify it down--because the contrast is probably far more than the film or…the print can handle--qualify it down, put it on a two-dimensional piece of…paper, and say to somebody, "look at this picture and like this picture."…Well, that's quite a task just in itself, particularly in an era when we are…bombarded with millions of images, to say, you know, "this is a really worthwhile…picture, and you weren't even there when I took it, nor do you care about me and…nor do you care about the person the picture is about."…So if you're able to do that, that's a really strong step in the right direction.…
The course begins with a wide-ranging conversation between Chris and Rodney, during which they discuss Rodney's work, his approach to photography and models, his love of film and of black and white, and the importance of creating photographs that both ask questions and tell stories. Next, Chris tours Rodney Smith's studio, including the darkroom, to get more familiar with Rodney before photographing him.
Chris then takes a series of portraits of Rodney. Along the way, he reviews his gear choices and the compositional decisions he makes, and discusses the importance of committing photographs to paper, particularly in today's digital age. Finally, Chris reviews the images and shares some insights from his conversation with Rodney.