Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Anatomy of a Story
Recently I was given the opportunity to develop a class called The Photographic Story at Luminous Works, a certified Adobe training center in Seattle, Washington. It gave me a chance to think about how stories on a single person can impact people's lives in ways we never intended. In addition it has given me the chance to reexamine the process of photographing a successful picture story on one person's life. I have been talking a lot about the importance of building trust with your subjects throughout my classes. It has always amazed and humbled me, as a photographer and as a human, that people will often times invite you into their lives at some of their most vulnerable moments. Mike Davis recently said this in one of his blog posts and I try to keep this in mind every time I approach a subject.
"Honesty, accuracy, truthfulness and other terms are sides of a dice that we roll every time we approach a subject. What might be honest to one person won’t be to another."
Throughout my photographic journey I have always tried to tell an honest story, but sometimes those stories aren't perceived as being honest or deemed as the "right story" by the people that see them. Regardless, I hope that the stories I approach are seen with open minds by the people that stumble across them.
After teaching three classes at Luminous Works I decided to pursue a story I have been thinking about over the past few weeks. I recently met a wonderful man who is suffering from Parkinson's and Hepatitis-C. He was on a barrage of prescription drugs to combat these illnesses and recently switched over to using medical marijuana, which has worked more effectively to control his symptoms. Living in Eastern Washington, a much more conservative area than Seattle, he doesn't have regular access to dispensaries so he grows his own medication. Since spending several days with this man and his wife they have become dear friends to me, who I hope to spend countless days with in the future, talking about life and how he is dealing with his illnesses. I plan on posting a larger edit after the story progresses so please check back in the coming weeks.