On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide by David Hurn

By David Hurn

Pull out your highlighter, there is lot's of fine details and perception that each photographer who's attracted to photojournalism or making photograph essays can examine from.

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On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide

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As I said earlier, I make my contact sheets on 9½ x 12 inch sheets [a standard size in Britain]. I could print all 36 frames on an 8 x 10 inch sheet of paper. However the extra size allows me to contact 120 film on the same size paper. In both cases a broad white space is printed at the top, in which I can write minimal captions, such as date, place, description of event. g. g. #9,999. And, of course, the individual frames are already numbered on the negatives. The contact sheets are stored in ring binders; the negatives, in separate ring binders, have identical matching numbers.

Pictures which are solely about pattern-making are pretty boring. However, I do believe that good design is essential when its purpose is the clear projection of the subject matter, that is, when design is the vehicle not the destination. If you like, function produces form. When you have most clearly revealed the essence of the subject, the chances are you have produced a good design, at least in my defi nition of the term. The design, though, has come second; it has followed the first priority, to reveal the subject.

I asked him what he meant by that remark. “Well,” he said, “the parts that are full of action are easy to write. But the difficulty comes in the linking sections where nothing happens. ” Yes, there are some situations where it is more difficult to obtain interesting pictures than in others. But it can be done, with effort, and that’s what we should strive for, not making excuses for failures. Here’s another objection to your notion of “good pictures” which I have heard bandied around in academia.

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