So much of my photography is devoid of people. I often explicitly exclude people from photographs, wait for people to exit the frame, move myself and re-frame to crop them out. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s partly (or mostly) due to fear. Whatever it is, of the 20 photographs I selected for this first exercise, 12 of them included people: 1 of a single stranger; 2 of groups of strangers; 1 of my dad; 8 of my wife.

I have loads of pictures of my darling, adorable wife that I snagged while on one of our walks: in almost all for them, she’s walking away… Does this show Independence? Confidence? Stalking? What am I trying to say?

In general, some of these, some pictures like this, are ok, but it’s better to get out front some, get Hana from the front, walking towards, or angling towards, angling away. I need to get away from this constant chase scene. To do that, I need to be more aware of what’s behind her, backgrounds for her to emerge from; foregrounds for her to enter and move through.

This is better: it shows something of the Hanabibti’s hobbies and interests, with some indication of personality (though more would help). Sadly, due tot he framing, this still has the creeper factor.

This is sorta different… The composition seems awkward,  but the bamboo in the background and that blown out blob on the left makes the eye boomerang back to Hana, around her, up the line on her scarf, back up the plant, back to the plant, hit the blob, and back to Hana again. There’s something arty about this, some sort of nod to Art History, sorta, but I can’t put my finger on it. Still, it needs work.

This is my dad, Alex. What do you see in it? I’ll keep my thoughts to myself.

Family is easy to shoot, maybe, though if my hundreds of shots of Hana, at 20 or 50 paces, from the rear, are any indication, I need loads of help and much more conscious practice.

Strangers are harder, for sure…

-this falls a bit flat: a lower angle and some faces may have helped; shows variety of “American:” what does the flag mean, what does “American” mean?; what would this be like with faces? Why no faces?

-singly together; there’s something about the composition and gesture that I like, but I’m not sure what this is trying to say, what story I’m trying to tell or thought I’m trying to encourage; bunch of white folks at the zoo, more or less,  culture, sorta, as if we need more explorations of whiteness.

-Here’s a story… all the criss-crossing branches like barriers, but there’s an opening, a clear path, right to the object (of desire, longing, gaze, etc.); vantage point, though, adds a removal, distance to it; the woman sits alone with her thoughts, a red line int he sand between the viewer/photographer and her.

When I posted this picture on Twitter, Gordon (@filmdevelop) said

-Singly, this is a personal tale: Hana picking beans. If it was part of a larger, longer saga though, could maybe do more if it needs to: maybe it can just be a family photo; in a broader context, more obvious hijab, more family around, could normalize a group… 1) gathering, great POV, almost as if Hana took the photo; right edge a bit bare, maybe needs cropping; 2) offering: composition good, focus good.

This, too, was a great exercise for me. I print so rarely, and it was good to see how well the Canon printer handled the photographs, even on some rather automatic settings. I also rarely have so much distance between the me writing about them, and the me that took them. InshaAllah I’ll keep printing, keep looking back from time to time, keep thinking about and critiquing.

Please pass on any comments, suggestions you have. If not here, then somewhere.

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