A technique with no name

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Jeff & Penny Vann

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The photos in this post show a technique that I’ve never seen a name for, and the nearest I can get is to say that it’s a form of photojournalism.

The couple that you see in these photos had been pastors at my church for 11 months and were about to return to the USA. I was taking photos of their final service, which was an emotional occasion for them and for others. I saw Jeff and Penny holding hands and realised that the words of the songs fitted beautifully with the visual display of relationship so I moved in behind them. I prefer the right hand shot because the lower camera position reduces distractions and as a viewer I’m seeing what the subjects see. The foliage behind Penny’s head is regrettable, but if I’d moved the camera to the left you, the viewer, wouldn’t have been looking along Jeff and Penny’s line of vision. Moving the foliage was not an option in the middle of a church service :(.

For me these photos hammer home a simple “rule”: always maintain situational awareness. To put it another way, avoid target fixation and be aware of what is happening in the vicinity. I find that it’s all to easy to focus on one subject or on getting one shot and thereby miss out on other photo opportunities. I have to make an effort to pull away from the camera and look around me, because doing so often results in seeing something else that will make a great photo.

I don’t regard these as great shots but I love the way that the words sounds like Jeff and Penny speaking and connect the subjects to their environment. I also like the way that the photos transmit a combination of visual and textual messages.

I’m going to have to think of a name for this technique. How about “environment-subject connective method”? Yes, a snappy name like that is bound to catch on.


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