Reading Lamott never ceases to amaze me. Looking Around and The Moral Point of View chapters, even though they are specifically about writing, are also so tied to visual story telling it's incredible. Reading Looking Around made me want to go outside and take everything in. To let go of judgements and actually appreciate things for what they are.
When I read the part about reading the signs it took me back a few years. One of my friends had just passed away in a car accident and they sent me and the family into this big room that I could only refer to as the "death room" because I assumed that's where they took everyone who was hysterical after losing a loved one. The doctors came in and told us what went wrong and that eventually led to organ donation discussion and on and on. Everything seemed like a daze until I looked up and saw a small sign hanging alone on the wall. It said "Come and humble yourself by the mighty hand of God." All of a sudden it was like my brain soaked up every part of that room. It was an invitation to look around and try to understand the moment even though it was something I didn't, and never will be able to, understand.
It's amazing how much paying attention to the little pieces of life can affect it so much. That's the same for photographs. The smallest details or moments can mean the most to a story and it's so important to get in the mindset to try to accept everything at more than face value.
Moral Point of View is interesting because it's as if she's saying if you don't have anything to add to the conversation, don't bother. Even if you have a good message, sometimes you can't do any more than one sentence with it. When I read this I thought about our story proposals and how some stories that sound like they will be great are really hard to tell visually in an interesting way. Some written stories would be better told with pictures but sometimes you have to accept, even if it's something amazing as "My religion is kindness" there is nothing more to say and move on to something that you can build on instead of falling backwards.
The Great Photographic Essays
This piece is incredible because it provides so much information about the history and makings of photo stories in such a small space.It's a compilation of all the facts and people and history we have been learning throughout our photojournalism courses but each described in such a personalized way.
It's absolutely incredible that some of these stories were created during a time photo equipment was so bulky and obvious but these photographer were still able to get into the action and capture honest emotion even though it feels like they would have been a large part of the scene. It really makes me think about how much easier it should be for me to get up close and in the nooks and crannies of each story because I have the materials to make it easier to do so.
Aside from the determination and creativity of Gene Smith that we saw in the movie, I was most impressed by Donna Ferrato in this piece because there were direct quotes from her about how she did care about the people she was photographing and that's why she only photographed them and never stepped in. She used her photography as a weapon to show others what kinds of abuse are happening in houses all over the country. I worry about being put in a spot where I feel compelled to step in. I think if that time ever comes I will know deep down inside what to do but reading Ferrato's segment in this piece made me think about things a little differently. Maybe sometimes the picture will really be more important to stop what is happening than actually physically stopping the action.
The Picture Essay
I really liked this reading because of the format. Even if some of the questions are ones I never thought of asking I think the answers make more sense when they follow real questions. The most thought provoking tidbit for me was when he mentions experiencing the situation or place you are going to shoot in and then making the list of the most important characteristics or feelings of the place. It makes so much sense to map out what the feelings and emotions are and then trying to capture them instead of crossing your fingers and hoping you can create emotions by whatever pictures you happen to get out of the shoot.
It never ceases to amaze me even though photography is all about what you do with the camera its also so much about everything else in the world.