Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

I saw an excellent documentary at the Boulder Int’l Film Festival Saturday afternoon on Life Magazine Photographer Henri Dauman, who photographed so many legends, celebrities and statesmen, including Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Dennis Hopper, JFK and Jackie Kennedy, Elvis, and countless others. It’s titled “Henri Dauman: Looking Up”, and if you can, see it, it’s good.

Of course I brought a Rolleiflex with me to the screening at the Boulder Theater since Henri started with that camera in the 1950s, and since he was scheduled to be there, I figured I’d use it to make a portrait of him. But as it turned out, at the last minute he had a conflict and couldn’t be there.

Well, after the screening, the producer, Nicole, who’s also his granddaughter, was there and she said she had noticed my Rolleiflex. I said I brought it to photograph Henri. She said, “Take my portrait and send it to him. He’ll love that.” I said ok.

So, I photographed her with the Rolleiflex outside the theater, developed the film and hand-printed the portrait of her in my darkroom, and now I’m sending her portrait to Henri, this master photographer.

I am very honored to be able to offer it to him and have it in his home gallery. And I like the connection the camera had to Henri and how it brought her to me to make the portrait.

As much as I love her portrait, it’s for her and him that I made it, so I’m sending it to them in print form and they can choose whether to share it.

Here’s a photo of Henri with Brigitte Bardot from 1962.

https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/jewishaz.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/4/80/480d1d8c-a2bd-11e5-91a1-931e3e987da0/566f55dad28b4.image.jpg

To me, all wedding photos look alike right now. It feels like advertising for the art director.

Whenever I see wedding photos in magazines or people’s posts, it seems like a lot of the same photographs of the decor and flowers and table settings like still life/product shots, like the bride and groom are more interested in the “look” of the wedding (especially with lotsa bokeh) than the emotional connections, the documenting of them and the people and the special moments shared.

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Yes, there’s the bride and groom kissing photo, but I mean the difficult photos, the other unplanned moments, the joy and expressions that aren’t scheduled, is anyone documenting them?

Unposed? A little messy? (‘Cause they’re real.)

Or is this the trend, pretty pictures of table settings and invitation cards and dresses on display?

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Does anyone care about, you know, real photos, the human stuff? Telling their unique family story?

Has digital photography made wedding photography homogenized? Does anyone else see this?

The greatest record album photo of all time is the Clash’s London Calling cover, and it’s a photo by British photographer Pennie Smith that she didn’t like because it’s a little out of focus, and there’s an overexposed man in the upper right corner of the frame, but it’s perfect because it captures a moment. It’s not technically great, it has a great subject.

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Any wedding photographers getting the bass-smashing photos?

Does it not matter if they’re not–it’s just the current culture?

Maybe that’s what I’m doing.  You never know.  Fred McDarrah was documenting Greenwich Village in the 1960s and didn’t know he was in the middle of the many revolutions that were to come–1950s to 1960s, beat generation to Vietnam war generation, folk music to punk rock–he saw it all and photographed it.

I’m reading his book, Fred W. McDarrah, New York Scenes.  Very well done.  But he didn’t know he was documenting a significant period in time.  He was just documenting, and the revolution of the 1960s revealed itself after the moments (and chances to photograph) were long gone.

That’s why I wonder if that’s what I’m documenting, a significant time of change, or even the end days.  If the climate ends up knocking us off this planet to save itself, well, if there’s anyone to come, later, they’ll have my photos of the last days.

I’ve been documenting America with a few other photographers for a little over a year on my project, RoyStryker.com, and I am thrilled that the viewership is building, but mostly, that I’m over a year into it.  Because I wonder what it will be in 10 years, assuming we’re still here.  Time makes projects relevant.

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I’m about ten years into my street photography documentary project: ColoradoFaces.com

So, here’s my advice: That thing you wish you started 10 years ago? Start today and you’ll be glad you did in 10 years.  Because there’s nothing like the element of time to add significance to a project.

I hope we’re not at our end days.  But I’m just documenting what is in front of me, photographing my world.  Time will tell its significance.

I don’t create photographs for likes. I make photographs that will still exist in 50 years, long after the swipe is through, through gallery and book projects.

That’s why I shoot on film, and make gallery-quality prints. These aren’t for likes.

I’m looking for two kinds of photographs to make, one for my Roy Stryker Documentary Project (RoyStryker.com) of your family, and the other for my Wise Photo Project photographing our incredible seniors.

ROY STRYKER DOCUMENTARY PROJECT

Last year, I documented a family’s Thanksgiving and was able to create a book of those photographs for them, in addition to adding the photographs to the Roy Stryker Documentary Project.tgiving

I also photographed a group of high-school kids at home for lunch for the project. The purpose is to document real life today, not the stylized Instagram-filtered life posing for the camera, but real life.

I will be contacting some of you directly, but I want to photograph an ordinary day in the life of many families, and if yours is interested, you can contact me.

I want:

● A dad playing catch with his son.

● A person at work, especially in a job that has strong visuals or a place most people never get to see.

● A mom driving the kids to school.

● A couple staying home and hanging on the porch on a Friday night.

● A teenager hanging posters in their room.

● Real people doing real things.

Not extraordinary things. Not graduating. A Sunday dinner, not just a holiday dinner.

Bill Owens did a similar project with a classified ad request to local families in the 1970s, and there’s a wonderful book of images from it called, ‘Suburbia‘, with photographs that wouldn’t exist without his effort to document ordinary life at that time.

THE WISE PHOTO PROJECT

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The second project, I am creating large-format environmental portraits of seniors, doing something that they love. Like the fisherman. There’s something to a portrait that goes beyond the picture, and becomes a slice or moment of a life. That’s what the Wise Photo Project is all about.

I want:

● A senior playing golf or other activity

● A senior working on a car

● A senior at home reading the newspaper

● A senior engaged in any aspect of their life that defines them.

There’s no cost to you for either project. You’ll receive a copy of the photograph. Both projects are being created for gallery exhibits, and hopefully book projects and museum shows.

This fall, I’ll be traveling across the U.S. and scheduling shoots for both photo projects, so if you are located between Colorado and Pennsylvania, let me know, perhaps I can make a shoot work in your town. And then later into winter, I’ll be working from Colorado to California, so let me know where you’re located.

Photographers make photographs.Please help me if you’re interested in participating by calling 720.982.9237 or emailing info@kennethwajda.com.

 

I’m a journalist with a camera.  Or a storyteller with a camera.  I’ve come to realize photojournalism defines me.  My photography.  My approach to seeing the world.

I was listening to a podcast with a street photographer and she said she documents what makes her think of her childhood.  Another photographer said they are drawn to light and shadow.  Not me–I’m a story guy.  I want to capture the story of people wherever I find them.

I am the founder of the RoyStryker.com documentary photo project, and it’s all about capturing human stories in the U.S.  Because that’s who we are and that’ s what I see and seek out.

Interesting light is nice, but without a story leaves me feeling nothing.  Creamy bokeh and amazing technique are both worthless to me without content.  Because story is what I need, what I think most of us seek in a photograph.

Other street photographers look to juxtapose interesting elements–an advertisement and a person, a color pattern, or something that makes for a geometric image.  They’ll wait until the elements line up perfectly to get their shot.  Those are fun to look at, but I need story, too.  Otherwise, those are just people plucked and placed into the composition, but they may have no connection to it other than the photographer’s sense of humor.

I can’t stay put that long, a story may be around the next corner.

I’m teaching a street photography workshop this week, and the only thing I can possibly teach is to see people and look for stories.  Because that’s all I see, so it’s all I can help others see.  Like a photojournalist, find the story and document it with images.  Tell the story.

Two people walking with inner tubes is not that interesting, but the chivalry of this guy is what makes this photo a keeper. If you have to get your tube to the river, get a guy like this!  It’s serendipity that I would see them the moment they were crossing the river.  And that there’s another tuber in the river below.

Story.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we were.  It’s even in the word HiSTORY.

There’s no telling where it will appear next.  We just have to go out and look for it.  Wear comfortable shoes!

PEOPLE, PASSIONS, SUCCESSES & DREAMS

I’m working on a photography project where I put a question to people on the street. “What are you famous for?” Their answers can be current, or post-dated.

WhatAreYouFamousFor.com – (Follow here, the photographs are much better displayed than on Facebook.)

The question has made people consider what do they want to be known for. And what is fame? And when will they achieve their goal, if pressed for a date.

So far, I’ve met an NFL Tight End for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a Canadian National Cycling Champion, and a Theater Lighting Designer, a Pulitzer-winning Investigative Journalist and a National Geographic Photographer, among others.

Follow along if you want to get updates with the next famous people who I meet. Maybe I’ll get you and your “fame” into the project.

www.facebook.com/groups/whatareyoufamousfor/ is the FB group link for updates.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kenneth Wajda
Time Traveler/Photographer
720.982.9237

Time Traveler/Photographer Documenting 20-Teens Life for People in 2080s

Kenneth Wajda, a time traveler and one of the most famous and influential American photographers of the 21st century, known for his American documentary photography, is now working to document life in 2017. His goal: To introduce America to Americans, to see things that in a short span of 60 years are missed—ordinary life, unseen, unnoticed, under-appreciated, taken for granted until they were gone and lost to technology’s failures.

“I work for people in the year 2087 who’ve tasked me with the assignment of a lifetime—to document life back 60 years to see how they got to where they are,” said Wajda. “And to see what life was like back then. I’m essentially photographing their history. They can’t believe cars used to have drivers. And wheels!”

The Americans of 2087 are well aware of the many stories about the digital crash that caused an extinction of personal photography and documentation during the first quarter of this century. All that they were left with was corporate news reports, government propaganda and boxes of digital storage devices they couldn’t access.timetraveler1

So, using their engineering advances to travel through time, they’ve commissioned Wajda to document with photographs life back then, exactly as it was. Simple home and work life. He’s working with other photographers of the time to capture slices of life from all U.S. 50 states.

They’ve all heard stories and some of the elderly vaguely remember the time when sexual harassment got outed in the late teens and gender equality became a reality, but that was so long ago. They find it hard to believe that that situation ever existed.

“They’ve long heard about living under a vindictive president and administration, gender bias and oppression, even racial tension, but to be able to see the images of life back then when they were still occurring, documented for them, that’s something that they long for,” Wajda said.

“Many people talk about having a few pictures of their grandparent’s and parent’s lunches, but no real documentation of who they really were, how they lived. Of the few surviving images, they found them to mostly be enamored by mugging for their self-portrait camera,” Wajda said.

The fact that so few people 60 years ago bothered to print anything, most of their images were lost to technology rot, as it‘s now known in the late 80’s.

To avoid obsolescence, Wajda is creating the collection on film and storing the photographic negatives, with the body of work available online at RoyStryker.com, named for the man who created the first documentary photography collection for the Library of Congress in the 1930’s, over 150 years ago.

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