Weekly Photo Challenge: Gatherings

This week I had the opportunity to do a bit of photo journalism. I’m not a photo journalist, but I need some of the same skills when I’m traveling and photographing people and events. Photographing local events helps keep me in practice.

Locally, we had a sad gathering. A firefighter was killed in the line of duty. His funeral was a very somber and moving occasion. The gathering was personal, but also a sign of respect for first responders who put their lives on the line on a daily basis.

This week, the challenge is to go out and…

Photograph Gatherings

Funeral for Godfrey (Illinois) firefighter Jake Ringering in Alton.

The gathering I photographed this week was sad, but there are plenty of happy gatherings – parties of all sorts, markets, and family events. It doesn’t even need to be a large gathering.

Dashashwamedh Ghat on the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. People gather to pray, talk with holy men, and purchase items at the outdoor market.
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The camera club I belong to has monthly salons – gatherings of photographers. We show and critique photos and drink wine – I much prefer critiques with a side of wine (or maybe the wine comes first with just a taste of photo critique). Salons were all the rage in the 19th century where musicians, writers, artists, intellectuals would gather in small groups and share their work and ideas.

People gather for all sorts of reasons. They gather to make a statement or push for political change or they can gather to support one another.

This photo was taken at a St. Louis event, March to the Arch protesting immigration reform. I was trying to capture individuals in a crowd, showing the context as well as the emotion. This photo shows one of my favorite posters as the center with the crowd in the background.

The gathering in question doesn’t need to be a gathering of people. Gatherings of animals are quite all right. A murder of crows or a tribe of goats. Just not moles – no one post photos of moles this week! It’s time for my friendly neighborhood moles to show up again and start tunneling their way through my garden. I work hard at keeping them out – maybe that’s why they’re called a “labor” of moles.

Wild horses in Missouri Ozarks

A gathering is any sort of collection. Explore gatherings in your life or maybe try a bit of photo journalism.

Photo Journalism Tips

  1. Be polite and respectful, but if it’s a public event you probably have the right to be there and take photos.
  2. Work you way to the front – whatever that means in context. You want to photograph people’s faces and you can’t do that from behind.
  3. Establish a spot and wait for something to happen. Avoid the tendency to rush around too much (or be pushed around).
  4. Be flexible. At public events, things move and change. Be flexible and be ready to move. The trick is to balance #3 & #4.
  5. Be confident. I don’t have a press pass, but when I attend an event I usually end up standing next to the photo journalists from the tv stations or the newspapers rather than with the crowd. I must look like I know what I’m doing.
  6. Photograph individuals, but try for a background that adds a bit of context and tells us about the event.
EXCITING NEWS! This year I will be teaching alongside several of my favorite photographers at the Out of Chicago Spring Photography Conference. It’s taking place in Grayslake, Illinois from April 27-28, 2019 and I would love for you to join me. Use the discount code SPRING when you register to get $50 off. Spaces are filling fast. For more information, visit http://www.outofchicago.com/ spring.

For more photos, follow me on social media: Facebook,Instagram, Website, Flickr

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