Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Had Enough?

Photographing The Destitute
3-Day Photographic Workshop
by Blake Andrews, with special assistant Rob Cooper of Union Gospel Mission
Workshop open to all experience levels, but best suited to hardened street shooters

May 10th-12th, 2013
$1195 (or $1885 with airfare included from U.S. cities)
all meals, local transportation, and accommodation included

The destitute. Downtrodden. Street beggars. Homeless. Whatever appellation is applied, these colorful urban characters have long been a favorite subject of street shooters. Photographers have taken a a variety of approaches from formal portraiture to quick grab-n-go captures to contemporary Google Street View surveillance, all in a relatively frictionless and liberating environment.

Richard AvedonRichard Garber, drifter, Interstate 15, Provo, Utah, 1980

In this special workshop offered here for the first time, we consider this rich legacy in an aesthetic and historical context before getting our hands dirty making photos. Are you jealous of the many street bum photos you see on Flickr? Have ever felt the need to objectify those less fortunate than you, but weren't sure how? This workshop is for you!

Classroom sessions will be held in the conference room of our workshop base, the luxurious Embassy Suites Hotel located conveniently near the China Town and Old Town districts of Portland which form the city's skid row core.

Little girl cleaning face of street beggar. Available as a poster for only $89.99 here

Rob Cooper of Union Gospel Mission will be our guide as we make daily field trips into the surrounding streets, parks, and sometimes further afield. With over two decades of experience counseling, feeding, and tracking the underclass, we'll be in expert hands, and we will have unique access to transient camps not normally visited by other photographers. Prepare to get dirty as we explore bridges, vacant eaves, cardboard placards, and railroad infrastructure, all off the beaten track, in search of that elusive "money shot" which signifies urban pathos. 

All of this takes place in beautiful downtown Portland, a rising art mecca, and a city which has long been a gathering point for the poor and destitute due to its mild climate and tolerant social views.

Garry Winogrand, New York, 1968
Day One -- In the classroom:
• Brief historical overview of homeless/destitute photography
• Examination of technique, lens choice, and safe distance evaluation
• 5-Course lunch catered by Lewis and Clark Restaurant
• Ethical considerations, Part 1: Can the homeless feel pain?
• Review Session
• Dinner, Relaxation, Open schedule after 6 pm. Grab a drink, network, etc.

Day Two --In the field:
• Transportation to skid row and/or I-5 overpass depending on circumstance
• Learning to shoot from safety of the pack
• Techniques for capturing grit, expression, and "unphotogenic" scenes
• 4-course brownbag lunch catered by LePigeon
• Visual juxtapositions and formal elements in the depiction of grime, decay, and despair
• Techniques for divesting emotionally from the scene

Day Two --Evening:
• Retire to Embassy Suites for debriefing
• Ethical considerations, Part 2: To pay or not to pay for a photo? On-the-street price negotiation techniques
• Review the day's shooting
• Dinner, Relaxation, Open schedule after 6 pm

Day Three --In the hotel: 
• Morning shooting session with choice of location:
Hotel Balcony with telephoto, or computer surveillance using Google Street View
• Ethical considerations, Part 3: Do street people have names? A look at legal obligations, photo licensing, and model releases.
A historical examination of street attire and its photographic possibilities
• "Working" lunch at Embassy Suites buffet, as we wrap up and compare notes
• Transportation to airport or other return arrangements


Anonymous said...

This looks great. Is there a package that includes first class airfare?

Anonymous said...

I'm an advanced shooter, Leica MM+ 35/1.2 Asph, 50mm Noct., Leica M9 backup+ 24/2 Asph, thumbgrip, Luigi case+ strap. Smell avoidance: it was troublesome in the slum expedition in Delhi that we went on last year. You are taking care of that, correct?

One small point, the Embassy Suites is so, well, unprepared I often find. Isn't there someplace nicer in Portland? My rock, my soulmate will likely be coming too, and she does so like a high thread count on the sheets.

Unknown said...

Where do I sign up?

Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking of Swift's "A Modest Proposal". I've always loved that Winogrand image, which should now perhaps be classified as a guilty pleasure. Nah, it's all fair game. Winogrand's image isn't great because it's about its subject but because of how it's about its subject.

John Goldsmith said...

This looks really fantastic, Blake, but I'm going to wait for the contemporary workshop that features the up-and-coming Instagram rose-nostalgia filter. Also, it would be great to have an introduction to busker photography with an emphasis of how-not-to-pay to take a picture.

Unknown said...

Funny. Well done!

mikepeters said...

I will mark my calendar accordingly. If I bring my lighting crew and first through ninth assistants, will there be adequate room at the ES? I will book them there. How far is the closest Grand Hyatt? I'll ask my driver to refrain from washing the vehicle for at least two weeks before he drives out so as to not draw undue attention while we troll for pathos.

Unknown said...

Sign me up, B. This will be a great opportunity to round out my portfolio of homeless people. Out of respect, I usually shoot them when they're sleeping and I use a telephoto lens to, you know, give them their space.



Gregor the monkey said...

Russian street photographers sometime turn suddenly to see if anyone's behind them. We call them "Crazy Ivan." The only thing you can do is go dead. Shut everything down and make like a hole in the sidewalk.

Anatov Molvinsky said...

It seems that the initial reports that one of our street photographers was missing were not completely accurate. The street photographer in question... is Sergei Popov. Apparently he's suffered a kind of mental or nervous break down. Just before he flew to Oregon, he posted a letter to Joel Meyerowitz, in which he announced his intention to, to photograph the streets of Portland.

Serg said...

You CAN NOT identify me by NAME, Anatov. You will see me ACROSS FROM THE POWELLS - I AM THE MAN with homemade camera, toilet roll = 75mm lens barrel. I AM NOT local in flannel shirt pretending to be me with OLYMPUS PEN or other western SWINE camera. RUSSIAN NEVER SMOKE YOUR MAIRJUANA, EAT YOUR STRANGE DOUGHNUT.

Gregor the monkey said...

For once I'm completely in agreement with my partner. I'm not going to Portland Oregon or any other Portland. Do you know what those Russian street photographers can do? Suck the chrome off a Leica and give your film a permanent orange glow.

Anatov Molvinsky said...

There are people who think of Sergei as a clown and a buffoon, but I do not. I despise Sergei and everything that Sergieism has come to stand for. I think, if Sergei Popov were a paid Soviet street photographer, he could not do more to photograph this country than he's doing now.
Gregor, I know you have strong, personal feelings about Sergei and about me. But, what I would like to find out is, how strong they really are. To put it as simply as possible, If Sergei's name were to be put forward at Magnum this year, would you attempt to block him from membership?

Gregor, This "Serg" is obviously an impostor. I have located him already him by his Identity code 16X20300PPI7000X5000PX. said...

Gregor, This "Serg" is obviously an impostor. I have located him already him by his Identity code 16X20300PPI7000X5000PX.

Gregor the monkey said...

Duly noted but I'm still not going anywhere near Portland, or Oregon for that matter. Also, his identity code is common knowledge. I would not rely on it for identification purposes.

Rob Cooper - Union Gospel Mission said...

Enough with this bullshit Gregor. Are going to help us track down Sergei Popov or ain't you? Why are you even here? Do you enjoy the hunt but fear the battle?
With God's help we will track Sergei down and force him to photograph the homeless. WE WILL PREVAIL (God willing). He says he wants to attend the workshop. Well I say lets give him what he wants.



Blake Andrews said...

OK boys, let's break it up. Relax, go back to your corners. Forget it ever happened.

Rob Cooper - Union Gospel Mission said...

We've got no alternative! This minute the Russians are watching their street photographers, trying to figure out what they're up to. If we can't convince them Segei has gone insane, we're going to have something on our hands that nobody bargained for, and only a lunatic wants!

John M said...

Somebody once wrote, "Hell is the impossibility of reason." That's what this blog feels like. Hell.