Need massive critique... Residential photo essay

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by Lackoffunding, Feb 23, 2009.

  1. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    This set is weird. I like it and absolutely hate it at the same time. Some shots I am fond of and some of them are **** and I know it. I am posting this set for critique to try to bump this into a proper direction as I think I am going with the vintage residential life in spokane. I want to make images that tell a story, within a photo essay. This project is routed in Walker Evans-ness but I will agree with plato in saying the things I can make are only shadows of the real thing.

    So yeah, if that last sentence confused you, I just need direction with this. I want to do an essay on residential life. Tear these photos (but more just the concept) apart so I can rebuild it into something stronger.

    1.
    [​IMG]

    2.
    [​IMG]

    3.
    [​IMG]

    4.
    [​IMG]

    5.
    [​IMG]

    6.
    [​IMG]

    7.
    [​IMG]

    8.
    [​IMG]

    Adding this one only because it fits. Shot a long time ago.
    [​IMG]

    So, a little more background. Spokane is just starting to get into the 1980's. I want to document that in terms of residential stuff. I dont know what I need to do differently quite yet, but I know this isn't successful work. I shot this all though in about an hour, so this is all preliminary "blueprinting." Should I include people? Maybe knock on the doors and ask them to pose on the porch? Can I do that without looking or sounding like a child molester?

    Yeah, your input would be much appreciated.'
     
  2. mathogre

    mathogre TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oakton, VA USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    These are recent photos?! It's a keeper for concept. Ford Ranchero. Convertible (real) Beetle. Mid 1970s Chevy Caprice Classic 2 door (the blue one buried in the snow). I don't know how you'd proceed, but it's an *interesting* area, that's for sure. Go for it!

    There may be a real story here, if you look at it from the photo journalist perspective. Let them tell you their story, whether you like it or not. There are lots of different people in the world, and you just found one of those interesting places.
     
  3. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yeah. Took the photos on sunday. Weird place. I will definitely spend some more time in the area, thanks for the input.
     
  4. FondestBianca

    FondestBianca TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    soooo.... funny thing.... I grew up in the Spokane area and only live 10 minutes out currently. Before I jump into c&c I'm of course curious about the story you're building here since I have 24 years experience with good ol' spokane under my belt. I'm not finding this series to be representative of spokane as a whole. If you're diving into one particular neighborhood, (hillyard, lower south hill, lower sprague, courthouse area... ok, I sort of get it but, I'm still not seeing the story in reguards to Spokane). You could go many directions with this and I'm wondering what specifically you're trying to pinpoint. please elaborate! so far it's looking more like your basic real estate photography. Like what you'd see in "homes for sale/rent" ads.

    I found this thread totally my accident. Just clicked on the first thing I noticed in this subforum. weird!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  5. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    So that is my basic concept. I think that a very large portion of spokane falls into this straight middle class bracket. It seems like half the cars I see are over 10 years old. Of course, there are nicer parts of town, but there are also parts that are much worse. But I am trying to represent the fact that a large part of spokane is behind the times/neglected (in terms of our cultures standards).

    Basically, all of these houses would be torn down and replaced by Mcmansions if they were located in, say, Southern California.
     
  6. FondestBianca

    FondestBianca TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    the homes and houses you depicted were not representing middle class spokane or otherwise. Aside from one of those houses I wouldn't call it "vintage life" I'd call it poverty life. I'd try to narrow the field a bit more. How long have you been in the area? I've explored every angle of Spokane with an artistic and cultural dynamic eye... if you can tell me EXACTLY what it is you're looking for (a certain kind of people, ethnic background, specific kind of homes be it by age or condition, a particular income or lifestyle bracket) I'd be happy to send a highlighted city map. No really, I could totally do that. I'm very interested in lifestyle and of course lifestyle in the very place I've been dwelling my entire life. I've spent a fair amount of time breaking it down bit by bit. I could also accuratly break down Airway Heights, Cheney, Medical Lake, and Spokane Valley (which everyone considers part of Spokane anyway) if you're interested.

    I'm not trying to be rude in any way shape or form and I hope I'm not coming off that way. The idea to photo document a specific landscape interests me.

    and yes, spokane highest percentage sits in middle class, many as well below middle, and fewer still above. BUT, I think middle class in Spokane is much better kept and visually maintained than what you have captured in the photos above. You may want to also try to narrow the field down a particular neighborhood or era of home. The mix of 70's, 50's and early 1900's homes seems a bit wide.

    If you wanted to stick with you later statement about "neglect" then yes, definatly, you're on to something there. I think that would be a better view than vintage living or middle class living. I've often driven around being sick to my stomach with how many beautiufl victorian estates sitting in ruins, inhabited by crack heads for low or no rent. I've oftne wished for a rich, bored, devoloper to fly in, wave a magic wand and restore these sorts of neighborhoods to their glory. If you're after the older homes, 1880's-1930's that have been neglected I know every single neighborhood to look!
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  7. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Everything I photographed is within about 5 square blocks. The most run down house was sitting right next to a 70's style ranch.

    I guess it depends on your definition of poverty. I wouldn't claim that until I saw the bank statements from those residents. Some people dont pride themselves on aesthetics, and the exterior of your home doesn't always have a direct correlation to your financial well being.

    When I say vintage, I am referring to aesthetics. The cars, the homes, everything looks like it was from decades ago.

    That is a big statement. One that I sincerely doubt. If you gave me ten years, I guarantee I couldn't study a town of 200 that thoroughly. I am not trying to be rude, but just because you lived in spokane for 23 years doesnt mean you know everything about every square block. That being said, neither do I. I am not trying to represent what the ideals of spokane are, or what it truly is in it's heart, I am showing what I see. When I think of spokane, I think of that neighborhood. I do my best to take photos that represent real life. My camera sees things in a pretty objective manner. If you look at my site, I think my work reflects that.

    As nice as parts of spokane may be, the vibe it gives me is one of low/middle class. We have the poorest neighborhood in washington. The majority of the town is a pretty real place. Spokane is a huge geographical area, and the majority of it is pretty average. These houses are pretty average. These cars are pretty average. That is what I am showing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  8. LuckySo-n-So

    LuckySo-n-So TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm sure Spokane is lovely in the spring/summer, but it looks like a dreadful place to be for 6+ months out of the year.

    I could not IMAGINE a winter lasting more than 10 weeks or so (it's just about done here. I doubt we get below 35 deg. F. anymore this year!:lol:).

    I like where you are going with this. That one neighborhood looks like the one in which I spent my childhood...from 1968-1979. Same size houses, same vehicles. And yes, these people are the "working poor"--not poverty stricken, but def. paycheck to paycheck types. They don't know that they are poor, and probably don't care, as long as they have the basics.

    There are very few neighborhoods like that in my town now, if any (for reasons I'd rather not get into here, but this is the South, so I'm sure you could figure it out).

    I like where you are going, but the actual photographs are rather pedestrian.
     
  9. FondestBianca

    FondestBianca TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    As a long time resident I don't see this as an accurate portrayal... I actually found your assumptions insulting. I didn't jump right out and say that because I was trying to be constructive in some way. Apparently I failed at that task but, point being.... you've insulted your targeted audience. With no real depth of matter as of yet your only shot at captive audience is going to be those familiar with the city. Furthermore, the 70's and 80's isn't exactly the best example of vintage. I'm saying that I think your range is too wide. Reguradless of the subject you can't stick the late 70's next to the early 50's and and call them brothers. It just doesn't "go" yk. I LIVE in a low-middle class neighborhood in Spokane county and a majority of the houses are kept much better than most of what you have captured.

    and as far as my study of the area, I never said I was an expert by any means. What I said is simply that I pay attention, I know the general lay of the land... and much better than most people because most people donm't pay much attention to the city they live in. Every neighborhood is going to have a mix no matter what part of town it's in but, it will have a general theme.... I happen to know those themes. You give me a range of a few blocks and I can tell you what the general theme is. Race, income, and home value breakdown. I'm not as dumb as I look ;) honestly.... I really, really do spend quite a bit of time and energy in informal study. Do I know everything about it, no... have I driven every road, no.... do I know a lot more about it than your average resident, yes! Thought I could be useful, offer is still out there.
     
  10. Lackoffunding

    Lackoffunding TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    231
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Lucky, thanks for the input. That is actually kind of the angle I am trying to shoot from I guess. I think once I am able to spend more time on the sidewalks I should be able to get a better feel for the area though.

    Fond, I think I sounded a little rude earlier, so my bad. But, I am not really looking for input from an insider. Its valued, but not a necessary qualification. I know a lot of people in the area that I can get that kind of critique from. But, I am shooting this from an outsiders perspective because I dont live in this specific neighborhood.

    A lot of my long time resident (from birth) acquaintances in spokane would, and do, consider this to be an accurate portrayal. It just depends on the way you see the city. I am not a long time resident, but you have already assumed that. The thing is, that doesnt matter. I am not showing these neighborhoods in a bad light, I am showing them as they are. Another thing, I am not trying to represent every demographic of spokane in ten images. I am simply showing a couple of square blocks. This isn't my complete essay, this is only a preliminary shoot.

    And why cant I call houses that are right next to eachother "brothers"? I disagree with you there.

    I thank you for your willingness to help, but I dont think you understand what I am doing exactly.

    And if you are referring to my comment on spokane being stuck in the 1980's as being offensive, I will still hold to it. I took these photos last weekend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  11. FondestBianca

    FondestBianca TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    nuff said. i understand what you're saying. the part that was taken offense was that spokane as a whole has the money but no pride in ownership. i dont find that true i guees. though real estate here is pretty cheap, many of us are house poor and dont want to run up credit cards trying to keep up with the jones' yk. we're not credit card crazy here. most of the nasty places are rentals with out of town or out of state landlords. it also depends where you're looking, like you said... just dont base your view of the general population of 5 square blocks.

    ok, done bugging you now. :wink:
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

critique photo essays

,

fondestbianca