Documentary chat 101. The reason i am in Paris at all is on a work experience project funded by a European educational foundation. The nature of bringing us here is to allow us two glorious things. To explore a foreign city and plunge right in to its cultural tide, but to also expose and document what we see as we see it. We are, if nothing else, given a small voice. It is also engineered to encourage us to represent through photography, Paris through the medium of documentary. We are granted licence to investigate something foreign, visually. We are allowed to be our own masters, to try new techniques or approaches, to push ourselves out of our comfort zone or refine our workflow with a time limit and a dead line.
In order for us to carry this out we have a few nifty treats at our disposal. The first and second are free flights and free accomodation directly in the heart of Paris. The third and in the same vein, is a little cushion of cash to allow us transport, access and the all important cuisine. So we are, if nothing else, given a small voice and a lot of money. But once the struggle of finances is taken care of, we have little excuse but to get right to it, and since the word is documentary, its about time that we get out our dictionaries.
For the documentary photographer, there is clash of identity especially when landed in the centre of the biggest tourist hothouse in Europe. When everyone carries a camera and every subject is aware, jaded and unwelcoming to the turn of the lens, there is a hard and difficult moment where you need to stop being a tourist. For me over the last few days the shutter has been snapping less, the gaze has trained in and my pace has slowed down. The barrage of beutiful and compelling shapes, colours and textures is ebbing away and now i can feel a story out on the streets that needs to be told. At the moment, this is what i think is the call of the documentary. I am not really taking pictures, i am now looking for images. And a cheap pint.
The search continues, stay tooned