One time I heard the magician and skeptic Penn Jillet talk about mentalist who purport to speak to dead relatives. We all remember that TV show. He remarked that the worst part is that they create false memories of our loved ones.
Preserving true memories of loved ones, as well our most special moments is something important to everyone, which is why I'm a proponent of reportage style photography.
What is "reportage photography"?
Reportage photography focuses on capturing candid, un-posed moments and events as they happen. It is central to photojournalism, where photographers document news events s, as well as in documentary photography, where photographers aim to capture the reality of a particular situation or subject. Reportage aims to be unobtrusive, capturing images without directing or influencing the scene. Reportage photographers must work fast, adapting to quickly changing situations in order to capture the most interesting and compelling images.
Isn't this what photographers usually do?
Yes and no. Working with various photographers and videographers over the years, I can say that there is a spectrum that ranges from un-obtrusive reportage to an attitude of "I have to get my shots everything else be damned." Unfortunately, it's easy for experienced photographers to slide down a slippy slope towards the later. Over time we become comfortable and learn how to manipulate situations to get the shots we know will look good.
Clients often look to us to know what to do and how to act, and while this is appropriate during portrait sessions, if we are asked to cover a special event, we must be careful to capture memories rather than create them.
The Benefits of Reportage Photography
Authenticity: Reportage photography captures real, un-posed moments that are authentic and honest. This is particularly appealing to clients who want to remember a special event, such as a wedding, in a natural and un-staged way.
Storytelling: Reportage photography tells your story and captures the emotions, atmosphere and energy of a scene or event as it happens. The true skill of the photographer or videographer comes in finding the narrative path within an event, rather than imposing one.
Flexibility: Skilled reportage photographers are able to adapt to different environments, lighting conditions, and unexpected situations. This means that they can produce images that are unique and original, rather than relying on posed and artificial settings.