Documentary Notes – continued

Writing notes whilst doing photographs can also lead to a clearer idea of where to point the camera.

Without any thought as to what it is you’re observing, it’s very difficult to know where to point the camera.

To make a note such as: ‘this person is somehow in-charge’ means that you would have a nice, clear objective. You then put your feelers out for a situation and moment that shows this.

It won’t always work this way. I would imagine a lot of the time that note-taking and photography will be un-related (the bringing-together of the two comes in the edit) but now and again one will lead to the other on the spot.

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This week’s turning out to be fun and exhausting. Not exhausting in the same way that a coal miner would use the term but, you know, relatively.

I’ve been spending each day photographing some great names from the book world for the Bridport Literary Festival (and getting in to hear them talk for free). All going well; all a bit of a rush job. I had a chat with the author Margaret Drabble and said to her that I reckoned that, in the end, we’re all the same. She remained quite quiet for a while and so I got on with a few more portraits but then said that she thought I was probably right.

I don’t half talk rubbish sometimes.

Also this week (today in fact) there was a meeting with Tricia Hawkins of the Bridport Community Orchard group to start the ball rolling on their up-coming exhibition at the Bridport Arts Centre in January. It involved coffee of course.

Then there’s enquiries about doing a photographic document about the trials and tribulations of two local stone carvers. One of whom designs typefaces for Adobe and lectures thereon.

Finally and most importantly, it was my eldest son’s seventh birthday this week.

It’s all going on this week in Bridport.

And here’s a rare portrait of me (looking gormless) by my lovely wife:


One thing that occurs to me is to take notes. Write things down: details, names, thoughts, quotes etc.

When the films are processed, go back to the notes and write the relevant film number down alongside them. This will begin to make the final photographs much more valuable as documents as I will have relevant written observations to go with the visual.

Remember that the frame that tells the story or that ‘hits the nail on the head’ could be anywhere on any roll of film. The benefit of note-taking is that once you marry-up the notes with the storytelling image – you have a document.

This is a more fruitful way of working than finding the ‘great photographs’ and then trying to think of something to say about them.

All of this is a new approach for me and I’m very excited by it.

Whatever it takes I suppose.