• Laura Paton

Journey into the art of visual storytelling - How to get started on your own documentary photography


What images come to mind when you hear the name Dorothea Lange or Walker Evans? Like most people, your answer might be the documentary photographs made during the great depression that depicted migrant farm workers. FSA administrator, Roy Stryker called these images a “visual encyclopedia of American life”. Viewing these photographs may have prompted you to think about how you might be able to influence others via your own photographic vision.

As photographers we are also historians. Whether you photograph landscapes, people, cityscapes or any other topic, you essentially are making a visual legacy of the world around you. One hundred years from now, someone may look at your photographs in hope for an answer to the question of how we lived in 2016.

There is no better, more powerful way to let your ideas and vision be seen than to produce a documentary of your work as a photographer. Is there something happening in the world that you want others to know about? Is there an injustice that needs to be corrected? Is there a story that needs to be told? Acclaimed photographer and French film director, Robert Bresson is known for saying, “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen”.

Now is the perfect time to embark upon the journey of producing your own documentary photography project. The hardest part is knowing where to begin. You’ll need an experienced mentor who will help you along the way. You’ll need a group of trusted peers to give you an honest opinion of your work as you go along. And you will need a platform to display your project when it is finished.

I am here to help you with the resources you’ll need to get started upon this exciting journey. I invite you to join me for an informational meeting on February 21, at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Warwick at 2pm.

Attend this upcoming workshop to find out more about an exciting program where I will mentor you along an 8 month journey where I will guide you through the steps of producing your own photo documentary. In the fall of 2016, the participants of this program will display their documentaries in a public gallery.

There is no need to make a commitment now, come to the informational meeting, get your questions answered, participate in a free preliminary training workshop on documentary photography, then make your decision if this journey is right for you. If you decide to participate further, you’ll meet with other photographers approximately once a month for the next 8 months while you work on your own documentary.

In my next blog I will discuss how to decide on a subject for your documentary, in the meantime, I invite you to take a look at a couple of my completed documentaries on my website.

Will you attending on February 21? if so, please send an RSVP email to Patonphotography@verizon.net

#documentaryphotography #visualstorytelling #journey