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Week 5, Observations and Ideas

Documentary Photography is…


A Self-assigned form of reporting that tackles big-picture problems in a nuanced and evocative fashion, building up arguments through a series of images made over long periods of time and from an informed experiential point of view.



Independent photographers combine their skills as reporters and artists, developing extended photographic essays that delve deeply into humanistic topics and present distinct personal visions of the world.

Brett Abbott Engaged Observers in Context Paul Getty Museum 2010


Philip Jones Griffiths was a famous Photojournalist from Wales. He covered the Vietnam war while working for Magnum Photo Agency. The images he took during this time is what he is now known for. His photographs reveal the disturbing realities of war that the media don’t often show us. 


He also documented the daily life in a urban war zone in Northern Island in the 1970’s


Documentary is “The selective dramatisation of facts in terms of their human consequences” – John Grierson


Sebastio Salagado is a Brazilian Photojournalist who focusses on addressing the lives of workers in less developed countries, in places that tend to go undocumented.


So called human documents are personal, heartfelt, and emotional.  Social documentary work can depict how a situation feels and not just how it looks; it can convey factual information about the world compellingly by delivering it in emotionally charged ways.

Brett Abbott Engaged Observers in Context Paul Getty Museum 2010

Laura Greenfield is a american photographer who’s project “girl Culture” draws light on the self as teem crisis amongst American women. The image below bring the attention to the on going obsession in the western world with ones appearance.



After looking at different peoples work it gave me a insight into how wide documentary photography is. You can literally go from war zones to beauty patents! The documentary photography that I find most interesting is the stuff you do not see every day. This is could be because the news channels and papers do not want you to see it or it could be due to the fact you don’t see documentary photographs on a certain subject because it is very rare someone is able to get to the places and people to take the photographs in the first place. It has made me realise that if I want to take what I feel like are good and interesting documentary photographs I will have to work hard and get myself into positions and places that the general public are usually unaware of what goes on there such as documenting a life in the day of a prisoner.




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