Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Take the time to slow down and see

Over the years, photojournalists reach a point where they refine their personal approach to shooting skills. Each approach is different, but most of whom I have talked too all agrees that the basis a visual approach is the trained ability to see everything in great detail.

The late Frank Hoy, who I had as an instructor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University taught his students an exercise in detailed seeing called the EDFAT – Entire, Details, Frame, Angles, and Time, a method I still use  today.

I organize a photograph in terms of using three categories: the establishing shot, the medium shot, and the close up.

One of the traits of being a good photojournalist is to slow down, observe on what's going on around you and then start making pictures. Many times I've just walked through a village, and watched without taking a picture, a habit that I still do today. While making images in a fishing village, I parked near the marina, observed what was going on and then started capturing images of fishermen working on their boats, offloading fish, preparing for the next day, net mending and fishing.

The old saying, “what you see you can photograph” only applies to someone who sees in detail. So take the time to make a short field trip as a practical test method. Sling your camera on your shoulder and carry it with you while you learn to see deeply and in detail during a short walking tour in an area where there are a lot of people, and then take pictures.