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How To/ Techniques: Documentary photography no.3 – The collaborative portrait

In the third and final post on documentary photography, Lewis challenges you to work together to produce a photograph.

For this final assignment the subject gets to direct the photographer – now you’ve got to take on other people’s ideas. But, remember the things you’ve learnt with Lewis’ previous assignments – from the experience of selecting locations (environmental portraits) to capturing your subject (documentary portraits). These will be really helpful in making a exciting portrait together.

Credit: Album students try out the collaborative portrait assignment as a group shot.

Assignment #3 – The Collaborative Portrait

Collaboration is often key to successful documentary photography. Understanding people and issues often requires discussion and teamwork, and the more that your subject starts to trust you and feel you are representing them fairly the more likely they are to help you produce a successful image.

Credit: Album students experiment with the brief. For this final assignment the subject gets to direct the photographer.
Things to think about:
  1. The subject (person being photographed) should choose a location to be photographed in. They should decide whether the portrait should be close up or environmental, and decide their own pose.
  2. The photographer should take a photograph and show it to the subject, the subject can then suggest changes. The photographer should keep taking photographs until the subject is satisfied with the portrait.
  3. The aim here is to think about how ideas of how to represent other people might differ from the way they would like to be shown. This assignment is all about finding compromise and agreement in these different viewpoints.
Credit: Album students experiment with the brief. How creative do you want to be with the shot? Work out between you what your want your image to say.

Lewis Bush is a documentary photographer and writer, you can see more of his photography on his website

 
Interested in Documentary Photography?
BA (Hons) Photojournalism and Documentary Photography