Never did I think there would be a time when Instagram images were published in professional publications. Yet, here we are.
There’s an entirely separate argument about the intrinsic artistic/aesthetic quality of documentary work based on it’s raw, unedited, one-take nature; however, this piece concerns the line of dressing up doc work before filters and effects compromise it’s educational and historical integrity.
Extreme example for thought: Would you trust a textbook that has the same engineered aesthetic as the selfies in your social media feeds?
For a more practical example, here are quick samples from my behind the scenes work over the last few years.
Higher-end equipment and technical skill aside, I’ve noticed an expanding grey area between what I would’ve once called too processed for print and what I call great documentary photography.
I create more stylized and processed behind the scenes albums as opposed to just editing for a true-to-standard representation of what happened during the shoot. Even beyond the processing alone, the way I frame, compose, and crop my images is more artsy than years past.
Have I completely bastardized the practice of photojournalism? Not quite yet. It’s a different type of honesty–shooting and editing to capture the mood of the event is just as integral to representing the environment. And frankly, viewers need extreme visual stimulation in order to remain attentive for any significant amount of time.
History is always told through very specific and skewed lenses. And as documentarians, it’s important that we don’t blur that line of aesthetics to the point of compromising our work’s historical integrity.
With a specialty in lighting and graphic design, Bryan aims to blend his artistic passions together in a seamless manner. His experience in graphic design includes traditional print (newspaper/magazine layout), brand identity/logo design and expressive typography with his latest venture being motion graphics. He’s always trying to find a way to connect the dots between his passions—something says he just might find a way.