I stumbled on a Facebook Group “The Documentary Movement.” They are all about transitioning from posed pictures/sessions to the documentary style. I have been obsessed with this style for a while, I call it Mom-ography, mom photographers documenting the everyday. So I am starting a 365 Documentary Photography Project, here are the rules (yes! there are rules):
Documentary Photography Rules
- Do not touch or move anything in the scene. Not a window blind, not a light switch, not a cup, Nothing. Not a single thing.
- Do not direct your subjects or suggest anything to influence their behavior. This includes not asking them to “go play in that good light” or “stand by that clean pretty wall”.
- Keep the exposure as close to how you exposed in the camera. If the room is darker and the light is dramatic, do not lift the exposure drastically that it changes the feel of the space.
- Be complete and accurate in your representation of subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration and have empathy to those that are vulnerable. When culling, make sure the images represent the experience accurately.
- Crop only within you intended composition. Adjusting horizons is permitted, but not to the extent of changing from landscape to portrait orientation, or to attain a zoomed-in crop.
- Do not remove, clone or add anything to the photo. Composites are not allowed.
- Try for minimal edit that represents how you see it in reality. Filters and added layers for effects and textures are not allowed. Presets are fine as long as they retain colors that are true to life.
My first attempt
Okay, I have to confess it has been a couple days since I’d read the rules and so not ALL of the pictures below follow them all 100%. But the ones that are most crucial to me are the no touching/changing/cleaning up the scene at all and no directing subjects or influencing their behavior.
Documentary is not Lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is still pretty. You clean the house, you get dressed up, you stage and everyday activity in an everyday setting… but it is anything from everyday. And thats okay! It is what it is and I love it! But documentary photography is the EVERYDAY. It is life unplugged. Its real, its raw and its beautiful.
For my first real attempt I am pretty darn happy with the results.