Road Trip No. 2

October 30, 2013

As a photojournalist, I always try to find a good balance between content and form within my images. In most of my PJ classes, I have been told that content is paramount, but that's not the whole story. Try to publish your work, and you'll soon find out that form is almost equally important, and that visual attractiveness (however defined) is an undeniable part of photojournalistic success. 

After being juried into the Torpedo Factory, and especially after becoming a resident artist in Studio 306 (where I found myself surrounded by a bunch of fine art photographers), I started to investigate the connections between documentary photography and fine art. What do they have in common? What separates them? One of the ideas that I explored to some depth was to create "panels" that tell a whole story, by combining a number of pictures into a single, hangable frame (look here for examples).

"Road Trip No. 2" is a variation on this theme, and it plays, on different levels, with the "correct" ratio between content and form, between transporting the message and visual attractiveness, with the tension between low-fi and hi-fi elements, with the contradiction between publishing the individual parts of a story as quickly as possible and creating a thorough and interesting story as a whole:

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Its fifty-two travel photos are of questionable technical quality. Shot, processed and published exclusively with an iPhone over a period of two weeks, sometimes enhanced with an additional clip-on lens, noisy and with dark shadows, dressed-up and reduced in size by Twitter's image filters, with hand-written captions and annotations.

The whole piece is not easily accessible. 

But somehow it looks "interesting", doesn't it?

On closer inspection, you'll notice that the individual pictures actually look nice. Image composition is sound, and some of the photos are quite memorable. The images show content. They have interesting captions. They are informative, and personal. They reveal details about those who traveled. And about the places they visited. There is a real story being told inside the frame. 

But does it work? Can the image capture and sustain your attention? Does it keep your eyes inside the frame?

Judge yourself! Until Dec 31, 2013, the 24" * 36" piece is exhibited in the Torpedo Factory. As part of the "Second Annual Invitational Exhibit" for the FotoWeekDC 2013, it is on display on the 3rd floor, right between studios 307 and 310:

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And, by the way, there are even more great photographs nearby :-)

("Road Trip No. 2" has originally been published on my Twitter Channel. The images used in it can be seen in the Road Trip No. 2 Gallery on this server. The piece was inspired by a retrospective of Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss at Glenstone, and by an article about the particular value of small photographs.)