Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eddie Adams Workshop :: After Thoughts

I think that the most important thing I walked away from the barn with is to have more confidence in myself as a photographer. Be decisive. Know what you want to do and then go shoot that. So my assignment was to shoot a barber in Monticello, Dave McNeal, also known as "Dapper Dave." It was both challenging and rewarding.



I was uncertain of my story line as I was shooting. Dave spoke about the history barber shop and its atmosphere. So I attempted to visually define the space by taking images of the place and the people who were there.







At the same time I was noticing that there was something very special about the dynamics of the relationship between Dave and his wife, Rosetta. Rosetta stopped by the barber shop a few hours into the first day of shooting. They had a very sweet story of how their families had grown up together. They are very supportive of each other. The moments between them were fleeting and I only captured a few.





So two storylines:

1. Barber shop sense of place story

2. Barber and wife relationship story


Failure on my part to make a definitive decision on one of these left me in a position without great pictures of either. To make things even worse, I wasn't even fully aware that this was happing until the editing took place.


There was a young boy, Chris, who came in the barber shop with his father, Joe. The two seemed to be much closer to Dave and Rosetta than any of the other customers. It was subtle but the way they interacted with each other was more like watching family interact rather than barber to client or friend to friend.




But with that said, I should have shot more frames that attempted to place Rosetta and Dave together in the barber shop. So if I had the opportunity to shoot this again, I would have tried to layer Dave in the foreground while trying to capture this moment between Rosetta and Chris at the same time. If only we had re-do's... sigh...


Being that it was that it was the Eddie Adams workshop, and being so inspired by all of the amazing speakers... I found myself just wanting to make strange and beautiful images like this one. although I think I may be the only fan of it... except for the 3 likes I got on Facebook... anyway it doesn't matter... the picture makes me happy.




So after the first day of shooting I felt pretty good about some of the images I had made.  I knew that I had over shot. I knew that was because I wasn't confident in what I was shooting. I thought surely there must be a few frames in here that I can use, that the editors will like.... man was I in for it. 


The second day of shooting it was much more obvious to focus on the relationship between Rosetta and Dave because they were going to church... so I thought. The visual problem now was to link it to the barber shop. You can guess how successful that was. It wasn't at all. But I made a few pictures I liked... 




And I got to ride in the Hulk. Which was so awesome but yet another distracting element away from the relationship story line between Rosetta and Dave. 



During the editing session my heart sank bit by bit as we flew through image after image with out a word being said. "Man was the shoot really that bad?" I thought to myself. I guess the lesson here is that even though I thought I was working a situation, I wasn't. At least not it the right way. So next time, I better work it more, and think very critically about what image I'm trying to make and why.


I went to the shoots with a shot list but the problem was that I didn't make enough of a decisive effort to make unique pictures of everything on that shot list. I would shoot one picture of something and then check it off and move onto the next. If I have a shot list and on it is, get a picture of hair on the floor, I better shoot it not just one way but five or ten ways, to guarantee I had a useable picture of hair on the floor. 


I am trying to put these lessons into action now. I am back in West Palm Beach, at The Palm Beach Post, as their photo intern until the end of this year. I feel really lucky to be in a community of photographers who are supportive and thoughtful and caring. I feel like I went through some growing pains while at the workshop and now that it's over now is the time to put that information to use. Hopefully I will retain the information and come up with some great things in the next few months, years to come. I hope to never loose touch with the people I met at Eddie Adams, we're family now, so I'm sorry to say.... you're stuck with me. In the words of Ms. MaryAnne Golon, and my good friend Ms. Amanda Lucier, be a good person, take good pictures. 


Love you all, Rachel.


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