… then you’re not close enough.
This is supposed to be a quick post so I’ll try and make it brief.
I’ve hated this popular saying in street photography circles for a wee while but I’ve now come to accept it’s lesson but perhaps not the way it’s often intended.
I think most people read it in reference to physical proximity and it’s often been offered to me in that context as well but I think it’s more than that (or at least it can be).
When you look at a large body of work like The Julie Project by Darcy Padilla which was an 18 year project that followed the life of Julie and her troubles with drugs, partners, her children and the state then finally AIDS.
You can’t help but be completely absorbed by the material and are left truly helpless by the end; if you haven’t seen it you really really should.
There’s also the famous photo essay by Eugene Smith of a simple ‘country doctor‘ that set a high standard for years to come. You can see the emotion pouring out of the page.
These are only two examples but illustrate my point; that’s what it is to be close to your subject. I see the embedded photo essay as the mature older brother/sister of street photography.
I obviously don’t have any such material, or will have any such material as far as I can see, but I do have photos from family events and I’ve treated them a bit like subjects in a photo essay and that’s as close to an embedded photo essay as I’ve got so far.
Now to try and get close.