My Hungry Heart

Archive for September, 2007

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Posted by shermancharles on September 27, 2007

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© Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

I was introduced to Timothy Greenfield-Sanders at my local Barns & Noble. During one of my frequent visits to the Art & Photography sections I came across his book of portraiture,
Face to Face . I was amazed at the elegant beauty of his images. Unlike so many of his contemporaries his portraits are not overly stylized. His subjects are not doing anything weird or animated. There is the sense that his portraits are more so of his subjects that of himself. To me there is a natural intimacy in his work, the sense that you are looking at an individual, a human being, and not simply a fabrication of publicist, stylist, make-up artist, creative director..and so on.

The portrait above is of Jake Schick, an American soldier injured while serving in Iraq. Timothy photographed 13 soldiers for a HBO documentary – “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq”.

“This documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through soldiers’ memories of the day in Iraq when they survived near-fatal wounds. In a war that has left 22,000 wounded, with more than half the injuries too severe to permit a return to active military service, the documentary looks at the advances in military medicine that allow soldiers to return home and celebrate what they call their “alive day.” James Gandolfini conducts interviews in which the soldiers share their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities and their devotion to the country.”

Read more on Timothy’s website

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Photography & Dignity

Posted by shermancharles on September 23, 2007

I don’t like visiting a photographer’s travel section and seeing images of naked or half naked African children, bellies distended, snot-nosed, with big hungry eyes staring into the camera. Photojournalism telling a story is one thing. Some photographer from California displaying “Africa’s poor” on his website is another. I think plenty of those images exist. If you are privileged enough to travel to Africa and share in these people’s lives then the least you can do is treat them with some dignity. There are plenty of images of Africa that show the beauty of it’s people, the richness of it’s culture, commerce, progress – why aren’t those being taken?

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Making portraits

Posted by shermancharles on September 21, 2007


© Sherman Charles

Jeff Singer made an interesting post on his blog about what a photographer’s images say about him/her. For Jeff, specifically, how he tries to make his portraits subjects look cool.

That immediately got me thinking how do I try to make my subjects look in a portrait. When I am photographing someone what would make me happiest? Do I want them wild and crazy? Maybe that aloof, disconnected look? (think contemporary fine art).
Quirky? I really thought about this because there are definitely ways that I would prefer my sitter to be. Namely relaxed, a little contemplative – what I call the “soulful look”. Ultimately themselves. But maybe themselves make for a not so interesting picture (terrible thing to say). I sometimes say, “if you can’t be who you are….be who you want to be..” If that makes any real bloody sense. Ultimately a portrait really says just as much about the photographer as the person. As the photographer you are imposing your own vision, your sense of a person, onto that person. It’s similar to meeting someone new, someone you like and to whom you are really drawn. Without really knowing that person, are we attracted to who that person truly is – or who we would like/hope them to be.

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Telling Stories (shooting projects)

Posted by shermancharles on September 20, 2007


© Sherman Charles

Lately I’ve been thinking about photographing in a narrative sense. Trying to tell a specific story with the pictures that I take. Right now that means shooting a number of images centered around a particular subject. It makes photography more interesting to me. Gives it a purpose and a discipline. When I review the photographs I ask the question – “Do these add anything to the story?” “Do they strengthen or weaken the portfolio I’ve built around this particular topic?”

Working this way has helped me to shoot with more of a purpose. For the frames that I take or about to take I ask myself what is interesting about this picture that I am willing to take it. If someone looks at this picture, what are they getting out of it? What can they say about it? Does this picture stand out on it’s own for any reason? After awhile it becomes a subconscious thing. And then there are times that I take a picture, I like it, but I don’t know why. For those I have to wait. I know the answer will come to me sometime.

Ultimately I see it as really developing your eye and being able to ask some honest questions about the work that you’re doing. It’s a slow process. Definitely not the click click click of the digital age. But I think it’s a good thing. My hope and feeling is that it will strengthen my own work and lead me to develop my style. I think that is how a photographer/artist stops being a trend follower and really starts producing.

Posted in Coast, NJ, photograph, Portrait, Portraiture, Urban | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A new beginning

Posted by shermancharles on September 14, 2007

I started writing a blog before and sucked miserably. Let’s see what happens with this one.

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