Recent Documentary Articles

What Surveillance Photography Alone Cannot Show Us

As a medium, photography is all about sight. If you can’t see it, you can’t really take a photograph of it. The alternative is, of course, things like art, music, or prose where you don’t need to see something to make something about it.

Documenting a Nation in Mourning

Queen Elizabeth’s passing has received quite a bit of coverage here in the United States. Millions of people turned out not only in London but all over the UK and the globe for various services held in her honor. The coverage has shown the sincere outpouring of respect and affection that the people of her country have for her, but there is a noticeable emphasis on the scale and spectacle of the event.

What It Is Like To Be a White House Press Corps Photographer

Imagine being tasked with photographing press events featuring some of the most famous people in the world, on a regular basis. Are you confident that you can come away with photographs as strong or better than those of your peers? Can you find the small, personal moments taking place in the chaos to create images that are unique? Christy Bowe is a photographer who has successfully accomplished these tasks for the past three decades.

Kodak’s Magical Film Factory (Part Two of How Film Is Made)

This video is the second part (of three) of Smarter Everyday's in-depth tour of Kodak's film production line in Rochester, New York. In the first video, we saw how the base of the film is made out of pellets, as they're melted down and formed into uniform, thin, clear sheets.

How You Can Win Part of $85,000 in Getty Images Grant Money

If you ever get the feeling that photography is not valued today, it might interest you to know that Getty Images is offering $85k in three new editorial grants to support photojournalists and organizations, with an emphasis on supporting photographers whose work shines a light on important issues of our time.

Are Photos Supposed to Show Reality?

In this video, MIT Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar says that photo-realism is dead. They're discussing machine learning and technologies working to give us evenly exposed night-time images on our mobile phones. If these technologies are not available in professional cameras today, will they ever be, and would you want them as a professional photographer?

A Deep Dive Into How Kodak Makes Film

With film photography once again becoming popular, photographers who wish to take it up must wonder where the current film stock is coming from. Is it from the remnants of film stock that was made years ago? Well, you'll be happy to know that Kodak still has production lines running at its factory and even happier to watch this deep dive into how they make the film that you shoot today.

What Can Photographers Learn From Why People Go To The Cinema?

Have you ever heard someone say: "you have to watch it at the cinema"? This is usually when it's a movie loaded with action, special effects, and sound design that captures your imagination. Is this all that gets the cinemas to sell seats? If your answer is yes, this video might make you consider your opinion.

Is It Colder in Color?

Non-photographers often complain about black and white images: they’re dated, they’re just a gimmick, or they’re elitist and boring. These are personal preferences; however, we live in a color world, so you can't discount that black and white images can create a disconnect for modern viewers. To bring history alive, is colorization a solution?

How to Say Something With Your Street Photography

A street photographer’s task is to observe the mundane human interactions that take place throughout the day and turn them into something worthy of being preserved and shared through photography. This is not an easy task.

The Long Process of Capturing Time-Lapse Footage of Growing Mushrooms

The entire genre of time-lapse photography is a game of patience and preparation, but creating short films involving the life cycle of a mushroom is on an entirely different level. When 24hrs worth of frames can equate to only a few seconds of footage there is not a lot of room for mistakes.

Advancing Your Photography With Photographic Essays

We usually see a photograph as a solitary work, a passing moment in time captured to be examined on its own. However, creating a coherent story through a body of work can lift your photography up to a new level.

Protests Are Iconic, So Why Do We Want a Riot?

If there is one type of news story that is a recurring theme in journalism it is the protest. Think "Tank Man", "The Burning Monk", or "Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge" (with Ieshia Evans). They stick in the memory, their iconographic status forming a peg from which we hang related memories. So why then are we more interested in riots as opposed to protests?

The How and Why of Making a Travel Photo Essay

Instagram, in particular, is full of high-quality travel photography — there's no end to it. But if you want to tell a personal story from your adventuring or pique the interest of a commercial entity with the hope of landing a new photography client, then you need to be able to produce a cohesive set of images.

These Tips Will Improve the Storytelling of Your Photography

Putting together a cohesive set of images that illustrate a grand narrative is not an easy process, especially for those of us who taken up photography and end up just shooting single shots for a portfolio and/or to sell prints. This video has some great tips for those who want to break out of that mold and start something a bit more substantial.

Who Was the First Global Social Media Travel Infuencer?

You take photos, you write books, you're published in weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines, and travel the world with the sole purpose of... traveling. You sound like one of the early social media influencers of the 2010s who was "living the dream," constantly on the road, distributing a drip of photos and articles to the travel-enthused general public. However, it's 1888, and your name is Frank Carpenter.

Photographing Black Cowgirls on Film

Vuhlandes is a film photographer based in Detroit, Michigan. In this video, he collaborates with cowgirl Brianna and her horse, Dapper Dan, to create images that meld Vuhlandes’ urban style with a distinctly nostalgic, yet new Americana.

The Joy of Later Life Sex: Rankin and Relate's Collaboration

Renowned Scottish photographer, Rankin, has teamed up with Relate, the UK's largest relationship support provider, to help reduce the stigma related to later life sexuality. Shot with a stark black and white style, Rankin and Relate have produced something quite special.

Great Advice on How To Produce a Cohesive Body of Work

There are many ways in which a photographer can tackle a particular project in order to create a set of images that complement each other. — from color to composition, the list is a long one. This photographer points out some interesting themes which have influenced how he approaches his projects.

How To Make a Story in the Edit

This video takes you through the process of piecing together a documentary or any video with a story. You'll see the workflow, how the edit is put in a workable space, and how you can recycle certain parts of the shots you captured to strengthen the narrative.

These Images Show Perfectly Why Photography Matters

One of the most important things about photography is that it records moments in time so they are never forgotten by future generations. It also provides evidence that things actually happened. These incredible images from last week's monster ocean swells in Hawaii show why photography is so important in documenting history.

Creator or Destroyer: Photography, Drugs, and Substance Abuse

Drug and alcohol addiction often go hand in hand with art. Painting has Van Gogh and Pollock, poetry has Coleridge and Ginsburg, music has The Beatles and Jim Morrison, and novels have Burroughs and Welsh. I was, however, surprised by how little information I could find about photographers’ substance abuse. Where are the in-depth books about photographers that were inspired or crushed by their addictions?

Magnum Photographer Stuart Franklin Discusses His Version of the Iconic ‘Tank Man’ Photograph

The various versions of Tank Man are among the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, having a lasting impact on history to the point that the Chinese State banned the use of the word “Leica” on social media last year. In this short video, Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin discusses how his image came about, and the consequences of its publication.

How Not to Photograph Sex Workers

Two recent photographic projects focusing on sex workers stand in stark contrast to one another. One exploits them as a commodity, the other seeks to give them a voice. Why does the art world seem to value one so much more than the other?

Why Magnum Took Its Archive Offline and Why Its Statement Falls Short: We Need Answers

In the early hours of Friday morning U.K. time, Magnum took its entire archive offline. Later that day, it released a statement explaining that it was reviewing its practices following revelations about some of its photographs. Difficult questions still need to be answered and the sequence of events shows how, despite Magnum’s crisis management, they’re not going away.

Beneath the Surface: The First Time-Lapse to Record Coral Bleaching

Scientists are constantly capturing the devastating effects of environmental decline all over the world. However, doing so underwater has always proven to be a challenge. In the latest documentary binge watch, a team has successfully shown just how the world below the surface is declining at an advanced rate.

Documentary Photographer Busts Some Common Myths and False Beliefs

If there's one thing that seasoned professional photographers love to do, it's to dispel ridiculous misconceptions and myths around the craft. Daniel Milnor is one of these people, and in this video, he crushes a few commonly held false beliefs within the wider photographic community.