In addition to its focus on the human figure, Documentary Photography includes a trend within the genre that simply "documents". He is best well-known for his documentation of the effects of the Great Depression, especially for the iconic portrait of Southern Farmer's wife. Hyperallergic / One of the objectives of documentary photography is to record social and political events with the purpose of informing the public. In this article, I will explain what Social Documentary Photography in general is, share my personal view on this genre and explain how it defines the type of images I create. That narrative can be emphasized by the accompanying text to the images. Lacking, then, a truly precise definition, Documentary Photography is best thought of as an umbrella term that encompasses many styles and themes including: Social Documentary; Conservation Photography; Ethnographic Photography; War Photography; the photo essay; New Documents; and Social Landscape photography. Adding to the general mood of urban despondency, a woman and a child lean out of windows in the building on the right, while in background, clothing hangs on lines strung along the alley. Documentary Photography can be distinguished from photojournalism in that it is not focused on on-time, breaking-news-events but focuses on documenting something over some time. We respect your privacy. During the course of her 40-year career, Lange’s style as a photographer proposed that social documentary photography is a humanist art form. Smothsonian Magazine / ", "I'm sometimes called a 'documentary photographer' but... a man operating under that definition could take a sly pleasure in the disguise. Robert Frank's famous photo book - The Americans - explored and documented Frank's travels through the country. December 18, 2017, By Laura Cumming / More than any other medium, the camera "machine" lends itself best to documentary because the spectator is predisposed to believe the visual evidence put before them. The origins of the genre can be traced to the classic sociological study issued by Henry Mayhew in 1851, London Labour and the London Poor , although this was illustrated with drawings partly copied from daguerreotypes by Richard Beard … She went on to become a leading photo-journalist working for magazines such as Fortune and Life. Artists began to see the camera as a tool for social change, using it to shed light on injustice, inequality and the sidelined aspects of society. Alfred Stieglitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Levitt, and Walker Evans were innovators of the movement. September 2, 2010, By Jo Tuckman / Guided by my vision of what Social Documentary Photography is and my urge to show the viewer the not-so-obvious using the storytelling narrative, I aim to create images for my essays that tell a story, inviting the viewer to ponder questions about our society, environment, and how we as people live together. Sander's photograph depicts three young farmers, dressed up as city dandies in suits with hats and canes, on their way to a Saturday night dance in the Westerwald region of Germany (where Sander was born). ", "What I believe is really good in the so-called documentary approach to photography is the addition of lyricism. Social documentary photography is a compassionate view of the injustice in the world. Documentary photography is used to document significant and historical events and is most prevalent in professional photojournalism or while reporting events from real life. All the men are turned to face down the camera. Striving to create "a physiognomic image of an age," cataloguing "all the characteristics of the universally human," and depicting the seven categories, which he based upon class and occupation, Sander meant to document a nation. A year later, after reading about the invention of magnesium flash powder, which made night photography possible, Riis took up photography. The Guardian / Social Documentary Photography may be defined as the act of recording, with a camera, human beings in their natural (ie unposed) condition. Documentary photography is a much used term, but few of its users seem to have a particularly concrete or comfortable definition of it. Hine knew that to see was to believe and his images brought his concerns out in the open and into the consciousness of the American population. Cite. It remains true, however, that, in principle, Documentary Photography offers a clear divergence from art photography because the latter tends to alter or embellish reality. 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