Tag Archives: photojournalist

Tiny Planets…just having fun…and selling gallery wraps!!!

Emily and Tim on another planet

Emily and Tim on another planet

OK, I know, all my serious photog friends (and apparently I’ve many, especially the journos and doc peops) have asked politely and even not so, that I please, please, not do this any more–They’ve related it to the first time someone got ahold of a fisheye lens (we’ve all seen that) or the first days of Photoshop (yikes!). One friend asked if this was the new Fibonacci lens. This was an iPhone app and meant for fun. My wife, bless her ruthless business heart, is always reminding me how important social media is for my wedding photography biz and how I should use Instagram for that purpose. I know but my iPhone and Instagram are for fun. I don’t want to be “on” all the time. As an artist I want to have places where I can explore, let my hair down and just shoot, edit, manipulate and photoshop my head off.  All work and no play–right? We can’t be afraid to have fun or make fun (of Life, ourselves, etc).

This is obvious manipulation or Photoshopping and I don’t think I’m fooling anyone (not even trying)–also, this technique has been around for years, too. Wedding photography is hardly the standard for serious visual journalism (but sometimes it is and that is important too). But here is the kicker: These tiny planets make great gallery wraps that sell for $600-$1000 a print. I’ve a print that is going in a show this weekend as part of the Somerville Open Studios (http://www.somervilleopenstudios.org/) and BLINK! (http://digitalsilverimaging.com/digital-printing-blog/). That print is from a visual journalism workshop we ran in India as part of our Visual Reportage Workshop series (http://visualreportage.com/). It is a serious piece shot in the Dharavi slum. It is printed in black and white (because we all know how much gravitas that elicits–said with half a laugh and a wink). It shows the area in all its abject poverty and surreal beauty and I’m very proud of it. It is for sale there for $500 and nobody will probably buy it. But these gallery wraps of tiny planets from peoples weddings–well they are so fun and look great on canvas and folks love to have them hanging.

Em and Tim's wedding party are the total population of their planet

Em and Tim’s wedding party are the total population of their planet

 

Tiny Planet Enagagement

Ashley and Brian walk along the swirling scenery of their own tiny planet at Crane Beach.

As a Boston wedding photographer, trained journalist  and teacher/mentor of visual journalism I am always shooting, editing and thinking about photography. It is my Life right down to the everyday constant of documenting my family (sometimes to their protest). So while I was with my class shooting the Boston Marathon I again had some fun with the images from there. I know it is a serious sporting event but it was much more this year–my students did an admirable job with their video projects, the runners ran, the crowds cheered and security secured. It was festive and light and so to was my favorite photo:

Shalane Flanagan runs toward the finish of the Boston Marathon.

Shalane Flanagan runs toward the finish of the Boston Marathon.

 

This was one of my most “liked” photos on Istagram (http://instagram.com/dmpj) and while “likes” are no measure whatsoever of a photo’s merit or even worth–they are an indication of its dollar value to some degree. As artists we need to feel the value of what we do deep within us. It must scratch the itch on the ass of our Soul. But we also must eat, pay our bills and have enough money to by more camera gear, or paints or clay…and crazy iPhone apps ;-). And we must have some fun.

 

 

 

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The God’s Child Project – ’tis the season

A young boy takes a break from his work in this dump collecting scraps to hold his baby sister.

I wanted to take opportunity to promote a wonderful cause that does so much good. I’ve been lucky enough to witness it first hand for the past 6 years and we are headed back this March to continue our partnership.  The God’s Child Project is the NGO (non-governmental organization) that we work with for our Visual Reportage Workshops.

Since 2007 when we brought our first group of photographers down to La Antigua Guatemala we’ve been returning each year with another buch of students eager to learn about what the project does for the poor and voiceless of Guatemala while at the same time expanding their photographic visions.  We work alongside social workers, doctors, nurses, teachers and volunteers as they serve the children and families associated with the projects various organizations in Guatemala: Casa Jackson (a home and care center for malnourished children), The Scheel Center ( as specialized technical school), The Santa Madre Homeless Shelter and the Dreamer Center (the heart and Soul of the project and the main campus housing a school, medical and dental clinics, social work department, a library, chapel and weekly food distributions as well as the ITEMP (The Institute for Trafficked, Exploited and Missing Persons).  Our students learn first hand through outreach and direct immersion with the professionals that run this incredible organization.

So what can you do? Sure, throwing money at it will help but as I’ve come to find out, direct involvement is what really makes the difference. If you want to get involved and need more info please click this link: http://www.godschild.org/get-involved. Another way to get involved if you are a budding photojournalist in the making or even a professional photographer that has always wanted to see how your photos can make a real difference–come join our Visual Reportage Workshop  this March 8 – March 16. All the details are below:

Residents from the small Mayan village of Tuila look at photos from a previous VR trip. Photo by Jessica Rattner

The what.  As you might already know, this is an intensive 9-day workshop where you are fully immersed in a foreign culture and work shoulder to shoulder with a top non-governmental aid organization deeply involved with social and human rights issues as they do their work.  Additional to the work we do with the Gods Child Project, we also have a great working relationship with the Bomberos of Guatemala City – these are the ambulance drivers who are called for any and all occasion they are needed.  This is usually an overnight (of no sleep) and its an amazing opportunity for image-making.
There are many more details to give you but the important thing to know is once in Antigua on Saturday your basic needs – breakfast, dinners, and a clean and secure place to sleep – are handled.  All you need to concern yourself with is the day-to-day immersion in all the amazing photography opportunities available here.  Each evening you will return to your host family for dinner, back up your files and do a soft edit.  After dinner we will be meeting together as a group to run a crit on the day’s work.
These are long and fabulously full days that will forward your work in ways you cannot imagine.  Our invitation is simple…join us!
The schedule.  The dates for the workshop begin Thursday evening March 8 and run thru Friday night March 16.  Beginning on Thursday night March 8 all of your accommodations are taken care of through Friday night March 16.  You will arrive in Guatemala City where we will host your stay at the Hotel Colonial for Thursday and Friday nights – your meals are on your own but we will probably be dining together.  On Saturday morning the aid organization will pick us up and take us to La Antigua where we will be staying with host families who provide your housing, breakfast and dinners on all days (except Sunday).
What you get.  You get is two nights at the Hotel Colonial in Guatemala City (March 8 and 9 – meals on these days are not provided), transportation to Antigua on Saturday, once in Antigua your housing from Saturday, March 10 through Friday night March 16 with breakfasts and dinners for these days (except Sunday) are covered, transportation from Antigua to the Guatemala City airport for your return flight.  Each day you will be transported to any one of the God’s Child Project worksites or facilities and brought back in the evening.  Most days you will be meeting after dinner for a review of the day’s work and critique – this is an important part of the whole experience.
The cost.  $2,495.  As in the past this trip will fill quickly, a $500. deposit will hold your spot, don’t delay if you want to be on this trip.  This rate does not include airfare, and the good news is airfares to Guatemala City are very reasonable if bought in advance.
Let us know if you have questions.
Looking forward,
Michael & Glen, Visual Reportage Workshops (www.visualreportage.com)
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Chris, his landscapes & the photos he creates…

Chris Gagne– DMPJ’s Senior Photographer: how does he do it?

Many couples often ask what other types of photography I’m involved in.   My first love in photography is documentary style.  Working as a photojournalist at Boston Now and attending Glen Cooper’s Reportage field trips in Guatemala have helped craft me into the photographer I am today.
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There is however another type of photography that inspires me and has had an impact on how I look at wedding photography.  Its landscapes.   Landscape image making has always been a passion of mine.
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From road trips cross country to California to flying high above shooting stunt planes over a incredible view of Rhode Island.  Landscape photography is the work I love to hang in my home.  I love to be reminded of all the wonderful places I’ve traveled.
Most of my work is representational, but some photos are starting to move slightly into the impressionistic.   Urban, rural, city-scapes, industrial, environmental,  it’s all wonderful to capture.
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The wedding work I see myself producing has a certain kinship with the landscape photographer’s eye.   Example, I love to shoot at the 24 mm focal length. The lens itself shoots wider then almost all point and shoot cameras giving you a real feel for the environment.  This is a focal length popular with landscape photographers and photojournalist alike.  Also, there is a big relationship between the landscape photo and the environmental portrait.
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Some of my favorite portrait (engagement or wedding) sessions have been here on the beautiful Massachusetts beaches.   The goal for me, is find the perfect light, compose a compelling background, and shoot at a wide angle to give the couple a sense of presence.




My next self assignment is to venture into America’s National Parks to document and take away the most amazing natural landscapes ever.   Ken Burns six part PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea has been the catalyst. Stay tuned.
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Chris Gagne is a graduate of New England School of Photography and has been a Boston Wedding Photographer for DMPJ for over two years. He blends photojournalism & artistic photography to tell stories. We are proud to have him as part of our team!
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