Portraits + Workshop

I have an upcoming workshop regarding “Documentary Portraiture.”

Based on a few comments I thought it might be a good idea to show a few images and talk a little bit about portraiture, and more importantly the idea of what a portrait really is. I’ve thrown in a few standard portraits here, but the project I’m primarily featuring, “Paradise, America” is a long-term story I started a few years ago. There are twelve towns in America named “Paradise,” in twelve different states, and I thought it would be interesting to have a look at what it was like to live in one of these towns. I made my way to five of the twelve locations before realizing I wasn’t entirely happen with how I was working, and that I liked the story so much I wanted to start over and begin anew. I was working with a Pentax 645, in black and white, which is a look(and camera) I really like, but I wanted to start the project over with a bit of color, as well as a more mobile format which would allow for quicker pictures. So much of this story was about landscape and context, in addition to the portraits. I also wanted to spend more time in each location, and I feel the Leica is better suited for getting close and reacting to life. I think color will be better in setting mood and place.

When the world ends, the financial markets close and we are all living in looted rubble I’ll have plenty of time to get back to this story………………………………………………………

The information and ideas I speak about in this clip will play a strong role in the portrait workshop. Shooting tight portraits with a 70-200 is a fine endeavor, but might not tell the story you are looking to tell. Sometimes context and story need to be created, and these might be better served by making images that provide a sense of place. A few things to think about.

Isn’t a landscape a portrait?
What transitional images might you need to tell a story made with portraits?
How do you engage someone you don’t know?
How will your equipment effect your portrait style?
Do you need audio or text to help tell the story?

For those of you signed up for the workshop, if you have specific questions…hit me up and I’ll address them.

Richard Koci Hernandez + Instagram + Blurb

About ten days ago I was in San Francisco, at Blurb Command Center, and was able to meet the guy in this film. I have to say, I hear a lot of hype surrounding cellphone technology and the future of journalism/storytelling. I try to keep an even keel in regard to these things because over the past fifteen years I’ve seen a level of intoxication with technology that can, and has at times, clouded our collective judgement. However, I’d heard a lot about Richard, from people I really trust, so I was excited to meet him. When I saw what he was doing, and how he was doing it, I found something I could really cling to. For me, there are a few things about this person that I believe lay the foundation for why I can relate to what he in particular is doing. Number one, he is a great photographer. A long history in news photography, complete with major nominations, has honed his ability to tell stories. Speaking of telling stories, this is the DNA of what he is doing. Although there is a randomness to street work, with Richard I get the feeling that everything is a part of a larger goal or theme, something I have a great appreciation for. And finally, he is compulsive. Being compulsive, to me, is one of the most important traits a person in this field can have. You have to want it, and to go one step further, I think you have to want it for the right reasons. When I see him working it makes me want to get up from this chair, this computer, and get out on those streets. After seeing this film I downloaded Instagram. I also visited his site, his blog, etc, and for me this is saying a lot. I think Richard is really on to something, so have a look and see for yourself.

Street photography and Instagram photobooks by @koci from Blurb Books on Vimeo.

New Site and Film

Hey Kids,

Well, the new documentary site is up and running. Thanks to the guys and gals at Livebooks, the site has been slimmed, trimmed and simplified even more than it was before. In addition, as you will see, a short film lands on the homepage. This film was created by both Blurb and Rikshaw films, both of whom did a great job in pulling it all together. Amanda at Blurb and Dominic(Tasselhoff) and Joel at Rikshaw were so much fun to work with. We only had a short time together, but looking back…so many stories…..

Storytelling Series: Daniel Milnor from Blurb Books on Vimeo.

I have to say, it feels ODD to me when I see this film. I’m not used to looking at myself, or hearing myself, but I have to say, I think what the team created is really good and shows a good insight into what it is like to work on a documentary project. Hope you enjoy.