Unlike creating images to sell a product, highlight a person, or show a building in a flattering light, documentary photography holds a mirror to the face of society itself. And the pictures aren't always pretty. For all the glory, accomplishment, and joy, there are equal parts war, hunger, political unrest, and poverty—all parts of the life experience which can't be ignored. The mission of the documentary photographer is to capture these stories in images and show them to the world. In this course, veteran professional documentarian and educator Lynn Hoffman-Brouse delivers a week full of insight and hands-on learning.
Throughout her career, Lynn has worked with a number of organizations, including the One Heart Tibet, IVUMed, YWCA, and the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council. She begins the week by sharing stories from each to give a sense of what goes into creating a documentary project. With Lynn’s guidance, you brainstorm ideas and devise a strategy for your own project. You study the work of other photojournalists and discuss concerns documentary photographers face, including ethics, applying for grants, gaining access, and developing a portfolio. Field exercises allow you to gain real-world experience photographing people and locations, and may include street shooting, documenting a physical space, and creating a picture story of a classmate. Image critiques in the classroom help refine your eye. Daily journaling helps you identify your project's successes and ongoing challenges.
An added bonus to this course, William Albert Allard, a storied National Geographic photographer whose career spans five decades, visits the class to discuss publishing documentary stories, the impact words can add to photographs, and his approach to editing his own work. William's experiences are many, and hearing the stories behind his images will inspire you to seek out and tell your own.