Sunday, 9 August 2020

FINDING THE GOLDEN THREAD - HOW TO MAKE A SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPHS

What Is A Series Of Photographs
And Why Should We Start One?

The 'golden thread' is a term I use to name something that makes a group of images work together. It can be a visual theme, a narrative, a colour, a 'look' or a subject matter. Sometimes the thread is obvious in a group of photographs and sometimes it's not. Finding it can fuel a series of photos.

Creating a series of photographs can deepen
and enrich our experience of photography.

After we make photos (maybe during a trip or outing) it can take weeks, months, or years before we see a thread running through them - sadly, often we never see it. That's because the golden thread can be hard to see in our own photos. After buying our cameras, learning our technique, exploring different kinds of photography, what's left? This is where many people give up on photography - they hit the wall created by the question - why am I doing this?

For many aspiring photographers it’s a rite
of passage to develop a series that originates in us.

What is a series? simply put, it's a group of related images. For example, if we make fifty photographs of fifty different seashells, all with the same focal length, on the same background, in the same light, then we have made a series. In a series often the images are related through similarity of subject matter or theme. To see an example of a series we made one night after a thunderstorm click here.

A series can become an agent of growth,
self-expression and self-discovery.

Unless we intentionally start to make a series most of us need help to see a latent one in our own photos - an editor, teacher or trusted mentor - someone who is 100% on our side. Some of the best photographers in the world need help with this process. An example is epic photographer Sebastiao Salgado and his wife Lélia Salgado - she's worked hand in glove with him to develop and produce his heroic themes and narratives - she also designs his books and how his work appears in exhibitions. All this led them to what they describe as their most fulfilling work - the Instituto Terra.

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