Sunday, February 17, 2008

but what to ask ?

the back and forth

I've kicked around quite a few different ideas for SoFoBoMo. What project to do ? I seem to have two main branches to the photography I like to do. The solitary, considered types of shooting, abstracts, colours, landscapes that I really enjoy and that really refreshes me. Then there's the seat of the pants interaction of portraiture that inspires and exhausts me in equal measure. One introverted and calm, the other extroverted and exciting. I really enjoy meeting people and the interaction that goes with shooting portraits, particularly with people I've just met, but I find I shy away from it unless I push myself. Over the last few weeks I've thought of colour assignments or local walks to shoot for SoFoBoMo. Shooting on South Congress last week with Chris made me realise I was just avoiding the most obvious and interesting SoFoBoMo project - just keep shooting people. So that's going to be the SoFoBoMo assignment - a month of the people who I meet. I'm actually going to carry my camera with me a bit more often. I've always been skeptical of those who say they have a camera with them all the time because you never know when a photo op might occur. I never really bought in to that, because the good photos that I've taken have always required at least a bit of forethought or planning. I don't often stumble across a great opportunity - usually I'll decide I have to come back later when the light is good. But I'll try it for a month. To make it a bit more interesting in book form, I'm trying to think of a good question to ask each person, so that I can then include the answer. So that's where I throw this out to all of you. If you could ask one question of a complete stranger, what would it be ? What would you like to know about that person standing next to you at the bus stop or on the train ? Karen asks a great question in the comments. Are you also doing model releases? The short answer is no, I'm not going to ask for model releases. The somewhat longer answer is my understanding is they aren't needed for editorial & artistic usage. I'm not planning on selling these images for stock. I don't use them for advertising. The book will simply be an art/coffee table book. Dan Heller publishes a lot of good articles about model releases and the need or not for them. This section on art books/ exhibitions etc is particularly relevant. The other reason I'm not too concerned is I'll be talking to the people I'm considering using. I'm not snapping away from the far side of the street with a 200mm lens. I'll be right there 4 feet in front of them, asking if it is okay, giving them my card and offering them a print. If they are uncomfortable with any of the process, I'll just move on to the next person, or not use their image if I've already taken it.

9 comments:

julie o'donnell said...

As an independent observer, your street portraits are what stands out as the obvious choice...

Anyway when I read this post it made me think of this guy:
http://www.simonhoegsberg.com/front.htm

but if I was going to choose a question, it'd be something like "What makes you happy?" to encourage people to think of something good, and it should make for some more relaxed subjects!

Troy said...

What is your favorite time of the day?

A day is such a finite concept, but the answers that you get from that simple question are infinite.

leikelar said...

Sounds like an interesting project. Something I would be interested in, and something I think more people would have an answer to, is something along these lines: If you could do anything you wanted, with no limitations, what would you do?

Anonymous said...

I think a question should be individualized for the person. For example, what does your mother think of your lip piercing? I also think it would make your book more interesting than reading 30 replies to one question.

If you were going for a standard question, then I like Julie's question. Another one could be "do you like having your picture taken?" Shows the reader who were the challenging subject.

Glad to see The Intellectual Photographer got the project right.

Steve

jimbo11604 said...

Gordon this sounds like a great project. The question that I would pose to people is "Where you headed? or Where are you going?" . The thing that I like about this question is that people will interpret this question several different ways. They may answer from a perspective of geography, circumstance, or in terms of life. You could get a one word answer of a story.

Karen said...

Funny coincidence. I had thought about doing a book with people pictures but hadn't thought about asking each a question. It seems like a good ice breaker but would mean having to keep track of what they say. Are you also doin model releases?

Lew said...

I'd ask "What really makes you laugh out loud?"

judypdrsn said...

How about,

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Paul said...

Gordon, that sounds like an excellent choice. I think that you should go for it! Your street portraiture is fantastic and you obviously like to do it, so why not?