Light to Get it Right

Posted by Michael Coyne on 18/04/2018 12:42:03 PM

The Chilean piper played patiently while we waited for the light to be in the right place. I had allowed an extra  day on this assignment to research the location and determine the best time to make the image.

I arrived a lot earlier than I needed too, a habit I acquired early in my career from watching other photographers  at work. As a young man I assisted a National Geographic Photographer on a project. He asked me to get to the location early in the morning and I thought I had but he was already at there when I arrived, planning and preparing. By the time the talent arrived and the sun was rising, the photographer had everything in place        and was ready to shoot the image.

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Topics: documentary photography, Travel Photography, Photography Tips, Mentoring, Dr Michael Coyne, photojounalism, Fuji Cameras

PSC's Master Of Arts Photography is Underway.

Posted by Daniel Boetker-Smith on 05/04/2018 12:44:00 PM

The Photography Studies College Masters programme is underway and our students are currently working with their Mentors – a unique part of the programme where we pair students up with high-profile photographers in Australia and internationally for an extended period of time to help them with their projects. This semester our Mentors include:

Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan), Melinda Gibson (UK), Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore), Rohan Hutchison (Australia), Mathieu Asselin (France/Venezuela).

Over the next few weeks we will be featuring each one of our Mentors, and telling you more about their work. Our first featured Mentor is Rena Effendi

Rena Effendi’s early work focused on the oil industry’s effects on people’s lives. As a result, she followed a 1,700 km pipeline through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, collecting stories along the way. This work was published in 2009 in her first book Pipe Dreams: A chronicle of lives along the pipeline.

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Topics: Photography Education, photographer, Mentoring, Master Of Arts Photography, Rena Effendi

Documentary Photography Can Be A Force for Good

Posted by Michael Coyne on 04/04/2018 2:08:24 PM

The smoke was slowly spiralling from the woman’s ear as the surgeon leaned over to complete her work. 

The doctor was performing a middle ear operation for a patient on The Lifeline Express, a train that has been converted into a travelling hospital. The train journeys across India to poor, remote villages, and the medical staff from India and overseas donate their services for free. On this occasion, we were parked at the Wardha railway station in the state of Maharashtra while the medical staff performed surgery and provided treatment for polio, cleft palates, middle ear infections, cataracts and dental conditions. 

Documentary photographers are often accused of focussing on the negative side of life, only taking pictures of dead bodies, conflict and misery. One critic claimed that some photographers climb over loving couples, cooing babies and contented grandparents in order to shoot the only negative aspect of an event. To a certain extent the critics are right but I don’t believe this is always the truth. 

For instance, in my project about Village Life, I am trying to look not only for the challenges facing rural communities but also the joy, rewards and life enhancing moments that can be found in villages.

Recently, I was in Italy photographing Italo Mondovecchio, a farmer from Tuscany. “Can I get my chicken?” Italo asked. He returned from the shed tenderly holding a beautiful looking bird. I lifted the camera to take the portrait and immediately Italo burst into song serenading, with gusto, his best friend, the rooster.

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Topics: documentary photography, photojournalism, michael coyne, Mentoring

Senior Fellow Michael Coyne writes about a recent assignment in Asia

Posted by Vicki Bell on 20/03/2018 5:24:16 PM
http://www.michaelcoyne.com.au

Waiting is a big part of my working life as a photojournalist. Waiting to be contacted, waiting for permission, waiting for the light and waiting for the right moment to happen. Recently, I was waiting at a Timor Leste prison for permission to photograph the inmates. I sat behind the metal bars watching the sun going down hoping we could start taking pictures before it got too dark. Getting into a prison as a photographer is not always easy. Permission has to come from the guards, warden and often politicians, all of which takes time. Everyone has a vested interest in what I see and photograph except regrettably the prisoners themselves. Waiting was uncomfortable, the buckled chair wobbled and threatened to collapse each time I moved. Across the compound I could see men with the word prisoner, emblazoned in bold letters on their shirts. I’ve photographed prisons in other countries. Sometimes it’s easy to get in and on other occasions I’ve waited days, weeks, even months to be told no, I can’t come in. Once when I was at a prison in the Philippines a guard with a gun strapped across his chest, performed karaoke for me as I waited to meet the prisoners. On this occasion I was lucky. I got permission, passed security, went through the gates and then I waited for the prisoners, also the captive audience of the guard’s karaoke via loudspeakers. A poorly performed Elvis Presley numbers doesn’t make waiting any easier!

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Topics: documentary photography, photojournalism, timor leste, Mentoring, Dr Michael Coyne, Photojournalist

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