Taking photos that capture real life.
Early documentary photographers.
Twentieth-century documentarians expand the field.
How to start shooting documentary photography.
Tips for working in unfamiliar environments.
Dating back to its earliest days, documentary photography has served to broaden people’s perspectives and teach them about different people and cultures. Documentary photographers still do that today, and still encounter cultural barriers.
Gonzalez suggests a few strategies for overcoming these. One is to work with local translators or fixers. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, you might go to the photo departments at universities and try to recruit students to work with you. Gonzalez says, for him and his wife, who’s also a photographer, “It helped open up the community for us. And through that, it also becomes a collaboration because you’re working with someone in the community. You need collaborators, people to help you open doors and understand the places that you’re trying to make pictures of.”
Wherever you go looking for stories, take inspiration from the documentary photographers who have come before you. Aspire to use your curiosity, patience, and compassion, as well as your photography skills, to show us something new about ourselves. Remember that taking pictures can change the world.
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