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The Insiders
November 24, 2009 9:08 AM   Subscribe

"I began bringing a camera along to work, photographing my surroundings. And as this project progressed and I slowly learned my craft, I became increasingly fascinated with other photographers who had been in a similar situation, those who had found themselves recording their own jobs: The Insiders [A tiny bit NSFW] ."
posted by chunking express (22 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool - I'm looking forward to checking this out after work. I recently took a documentary workshop that had us take still photos of our offices to develop our eye for framing shots and situating people within contexts that communicate something about them visually. Trying to make my cubicle farm look visually appealing was an interesting exercise. Having a reason climb on and crawl under desks ("This is a better angle! Stop looking at me like that!") was fun, too.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2009


One of the essays is by Juliana Beasley, who used to be an exotic dancer, hence the NSFW. There are lots of cool photos here.
posted by chunking express at 9:21 AM on November 24, 2009


Really fascinating. And at least one of the photos (the blood pattern shot) is particularly unforgettable.
posted by bearwife at 9:23 AM on November 24, 2009


Wow. Those are great. The weirdness only found in real life, captured with the mystique only cheap cameras will provide.
posted by krilli at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2009


It is no coincidence, therefore, that the very best photographers of the past and present – whether reportage photographers or artist-photographers – have been/are professionals. -David Hurn and Bill Jay’s On Being a Photographer

This is so true, but I don't understand why it would stop someone from taking photos. It is like saying, 'Roger Federer is so good, I should just quit tennis.'
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 9:33 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very interesting post, thank you. The hardest thing for me is actually going out and using the camera. So, new inspiration, as well as doses of reality are always helpful.
posted by zach4000 at 9:36 AM on November 24, 2009


Great post!
posted by RichardS at 9:37 AM on November 24, 2009


Facinating! I've been trying to find a way to get back into photography, and this just might do the trick.
posted by gofargogo at 9:39 AM on November 24, 2009


It is no coincidence, therefore, that the very best photographers of the past and present – whether reportage photographers or artist-photographers – have been/are professionals.

That's no doubt true, if part of your metric for determining the 'best' photographers is quantity and diversity of high-quality work. But it's no reason to think that someone in a unique situation (an EMT, or a dancer, or whatever) can't make a few images that rank right up there with the best of the best. Do you want to focus on the quality of the images, or on the qualities of the person who made the images?

If you're looking to hire someone to do a fashion shoot or portrait sessions or architectural photography, then yeah, you want a professional who you know is going to be able to produce. But if you're coming at this from the art & expression end, there's no reason to think amateur work is any less worthy of respect than professional.

I'll never be a truly great photographer, but I think I might still make some great photographs. The difference is that a great photographer gets great images every time. I'm okay with one out of a thousand.
posted by echo target at 9:50 AM on November 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, seems to have gone down.
posted by delmoi at 10:06 AM on November 24, 2009


And we broke it!
posted by hippybear at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2009


Wait a go, MetaFilter.
posted by chunking express at 10:28 AM on November 24, 2009


I think it's up again.
posted by chunking express at 10:49 AM on November 24, 2009


Oooh, I love this. Too bad my job would mean that my camera would be broken within the first hour. *sigh* Kids these days. No respect for technology.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:52 AM on November 24, 2009


[A tiny bit NSFW]

OK, I'm pretty sure this is irony, and not any of those other words...

Cool find, CE, thanks for posting it.
posted by sidereal at 1:00 PM on November 24, 2009


Cool pix - thanks for sharing chunking express!
posted by garnetgirl at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2009


If you want to make great photographs, photograph a lot.

Great photographers don't get it right every time, but they get it right 100 times more often than me. I am a mediocre photographer, but I have hung out and worked with some great ones.

In the time of 36 frame film rolls, the good photographers I knew would aim to get 2 or three professional quality photographs per roll, sometimes they would shoot 10 rolls to produce 1 or 2 photographs good enough for an art exhibition.

I think I got maybe 3 really good pictures in the 100 or so rolls I developed. Rounding down, I have an exceptional photograph ratio of 1 in 2000. It was an expensive affair, I could not afford to shoot and develop 360 photos in one day like the pros.

The good photographers I knew kept very detailed notes for every picture they took, in order to replicate what they did right and fix what went wrong next time they were out there with the camera. Now exif data takes care of that.

My advice to anyone who wants to get better is to read about composition and lighting, take hundreds of pictures, and most importantly, only show the good ones and pretend those are the norm.
posted by dirty lies at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Phenomenal.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:31 PM on November 24, 2009


and most importantly, only show the good ones and pretend those are the norm.

Photography is really the art of editing. From an infinite number of possible photographs you could take in any given situation, you must select from what is in front of you to make a limited number of images. From those you must select what is meaningful, worth showing, and what represents your real intentions.

Good photographers understand that what they select is a reflection of how they see the world, and so they pursue their shooting and choosing with that in mind.



Thanks for the post, thought this article was ridiculously brilliant.
posted by bradbane at 2:41 PM on November 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


The full-time, all-the-time photographers: dedication or compulsion?
posted by RichardS at 4:55 AM on November 25, 2009


what
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:18 AM on November 25, 2009


Glad people liked the essay. Hin Chua is a really good photographer. His website, flickr account, and some of his work for sale.
posted by chunking express at 10:22 AM on November 25, 2009


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