Reportage

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the SunReportage is akin to documentary photography but with an emphasis on a personal interpretation of any given location or event.  We run weekly Reportage photography Workshops as part of the residential photography courses in Essaouira which encourages camera framing to contextulise locations and at the same time to develop the photographers’ own ‘voice’. These two are were take by Clare Pond on her second day in Morocco and whilst not a novice by any means she tackled a challenging Souk location with considerable flair. The left hand image is perhaps iconic Reportage Photography in that it both documents photography holidays creative courses with Images in the Suna scene but does so with a economy of style and framing.  Less is more in this case and the absence of the woman’s face and emphasis on the bag and carrying place distills what is the essence of a weekly Souk, i.e often hard work with few women present.  Furthermore the striking colours say something about the photographer’s awareness and vision particularly if this theme develops through a collection of photographs.  The second image is perhaps more in the convention of a ‘stolen’ moment but here again the photographer’s stamp has been marked on the photographs unusual framing. This is not a photographer intent on documenting a place but one bringing a personal approach to a traditional location for documentary photography.

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the SunThe image left employs a longer focal length to achieve this detailed expression of a boy eager for some sweet foods.  The Telephoto Zoom lens can be a great way to record subjects unaware of the photographer’s presence, however unless one is using a 600mm plus lens(not full frame) then after a few moments the subjects become ‘aware’.  Aside from being alert to such instances of expressiveness the technical challenge of using longer focal lengths requires a little pre-thought. Firstly one must be using a high enough Shutter Speed to counter any camera shake that comes with using a longer Focal Length. Furthermore Depth Of Field(DOF) is also reduced from using a faster Shutter Speed and this in turn leads to critical focusing.  For this image the photographer switched to Manual Focus allowing a bit more control.  With so many other elements within the frame the camera’s inherent focusing mechanism may not have accurately recorded sharp eyes and teeth at the ready!

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the Sun

It should be the duty of every photographer to be aware of light and its qualities dependent on time and location. This should be no different when using Reportage as a working genre.  The image right, was taken within a small location at the edge of a Souk and yet it held unique properties for that day in terms of light, both noticeable in the sky’s colour and shadows. Once aware of something striking in the scene, the photographer’s intention was to draw out the abstract qualities from the crates and to find a satisfying compositional tension between the debris on the ground and the boy.  Overall the pastel, earthy colours are typical of the region and so it becomes a pleasing record of a location. With regard to camera controls, the choice here was a sufficient Depth Of Field(DOF) to render both the nearest objects and sky in focus.  The fact that the boy is moving towards the camera facilitated a slower shutter speed than would normally be required with a typical hustle and bustle Souk setting.

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the SunAnabel Howard took this well observed photograph (image left), which aside from its compositional strengths has the qualities of a bright clear light brilliantly rendering the toes, scales and chain in absolute clarity.  As a photograph it also says something about the benefits of searching for the off beat in every location and being aware of images beyond the conventional. It’s often the case that first photographs taken at a location visited for the first time will be too conventional.  It’s a question of getting ‘ones eye in’. Here the juxtaposition of the scales and feet allied with the remnants of a sale make this an outstanding photograph for the day’s shoot.

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the Sun

The image right was taken by the author on the hop but still required some brief compositional planning taking a position lowdown and using the wide end of the Sigma 10-20 Wide Angle lens.  From a crouched position pointing upwards, passing people going about their business at the Souk are quite unaware of the photographer’s compositional intentions. The final selected image is the best example of intended figure placement within the frame.  Having a subject enter the frame at the last minute requires some focus planning and use of the correct Depth Of Field(DOF).  The sun’s position, i,e shooting partially into the sun also does create an unwanted haziness at frame top that would require some extensive post production work to fully eliminate.

photography holidays creative courses with Images in the Sun

The final photograph best demonstrates the classical virtues of selecting Black and White as the chosen format when shooting into the sun.  In colour this image would have looked ‘washed out’. The photographer’s chosen location and desire to reveal the harbour entrance also means confronting a direct light which requires some loss of detail in the shadow areas.  The graphical properties of B&W mean that these shadow areas, now blocked out dark zones create a more epic and indeed timeless image rather than looking under exposed which they would have done in colour.

This is a sample of images, typically produced as part of the Reportage Workshops during a week’s photography holiday in Essaouira, Morocco.