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Thread: What are you photographing close to home?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    What are you photographing close to home?

    My wife is ready to burst at any time with our first born, and I'm toying with the idea of only photographing within 100 miles or so of home for a period of one year. She is from L.A. and her family is still there, so there may be a trip to SoCal some time this year, and if that happens I'd probably visit Death Valley and the Joshua Tree. But other than that possibility, I'm thinking about only photographing within 1-2 hours of home, or maybe only in my hometown itself. I think this will be a pretty refreshing experience, particularly if I limit myself to photographing within city limits, as I've always gravitated toward landscape subject matter before.

    So I was wondering what some of you might be doing within your home cities. If you had half a day to expose some film before you had to get home to change diapers, what would you spend your time on? I plan on photographing some city parks, ornate buildings, and some warehouses and factories. It would be cool to hear what others are doing in similar circumstances.

  2. #2
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    USA, North Carolina

    What are you photographing close to home?

    Some of Paul Strands best photographs came out of his back yard. Go for it.

    Bruce Watson

  3. #3

    What are you photographing close to home?

    I work on series -- the same corner through the seasons, plants growing in cracks in buildings, etc. I live in Brooklyn, NY. Richard Misrach has a nice view from his deck and did 100s of pictures of the golden gate bridge with different light and clouds. Maybe that would work for you.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2000

    What are you photographing close to home?

    "The grass is always greener...". If I could afford it, I would spend a month photographing only in Los Angeles. I was there for the first time 3 years ago and loved it. You don't have to photograph the southwest deserts and parks just because Adams did and others do. Personally, if I see ONE MORE photograph of Half Dome I am going to throw up. I found Los Angeles to be a remarkable city, full of things that I had never seen before.

    Raymond Chandler, who helped make LA famous by the way, once commented that the topic alone did not make a good book. There are some very bad books, he said, about God and important stuff, and some really great books about quite mundane things. Yosemite doesn't make great photographs, great photographers do. Who was that eastern European photographer who only photographed in his apartment while under house arrest by the government? Just because we use Great Big Important-Looking Cameras doesn't mean we have to photograph Great Big Important-Looking Things.

    For my own photographs, these days I rarely venture beyond the range of my bicycle and my favourite subjects are usually pretty unimportant: patterns in leaves in grass; rusty railings, that kind of stuf. A friend of mine just showed me some terrific photographs he took of stairways in a cancer clinic while waiting for his wife who was undergoing treatment. When Sally Mann was forced to stay close to home because of young children, she photographed them and became famous.

    Congratulations in advance on advance on the new addition.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    What are you photographing close to home?

    I've been photographing houses and other building in my (suburban Chciago) town. Evanston has a rich history, and many of the houses have architectural interest. Recently, there has been lots of building going on, so I want to catch some of the current Evanston before it is torn down. One of my projects is to photograph all the houses designed by the architect who designed the house---recently sold---that we lived in for 35 years. One problem I've encountered is my relative lack of knowledge about architecture. I find I can do a better job if I have some understanding of what I am photographing rather than just visualizing it as a visual pattern without further meaning.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    What are you photographing close to home?

    You don't hint where you are so that makes comment a little difficult. I'm in Wisconsin, so we have nice forests to photograph (see: The forest in this website is actually within the city limits. I find that the more intimate and long-term my knowledge of a place, even close to home, the more I am likely to produce photographs that please me. A couple of summers ago we made a trip to New Mexico for two weeks and I found myself wishing for more time so as to get a sense of light and seasonal change that would lead to better photographs. I didn't feel that I made very many photos that really pleased me because I barely began to feel at home. Last year I spent six months on the Island of Pantelleria between Sicily and Tunisia to do research (it is a place I've known off and on for 35 years) and found myself able to produce photos that pleased me very much because of the familiarity I attained (not LF, however). Recently I've set myself the task of photographing rural churches, most of them dating from the 19th C, and their surroundings--often cemetaries. Here LF is essential. Most are within a half hour of the city where I live, but out in the country. Many are becoming abandoned as rural populations change and dwindle. Conceivably then, the photos become significanat documents as well as pleasing compositions. So I guess what I'm saying is that the familiar is often the best place to start.

  7. #7

    What are you photographing close to home?

    when i am in my home town in southern california (imperial valley area) i just go everywhere, taking on different sections of the town day by day. it is such a small town that i try to take in anything that i can. anything from canals to a dumpster to rotting oranges to powerlines. personally i find it limiting to simply focus on one subject or one type of thing; i prefer keeping my options open and shooting whatever it is that grabs my interest when driving around.

  8. #8

    What are you photographing close to home?

    I enjoy photographing still lifes with items I find around the home. If you do not have studio lights, window light and fill cards makes great lighting. One of my favorite and most challenging subjects is food. Try to "focus on how to photograph something uniquely, rather than how to find something unique to photograph."

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 1999

    What are you photographing close to home?

    Hi Mike,

    I've got a young son, so I tend to stick close to home when I get a chance to photograph (which isn't too often these days). I like architectural details, sunlit textures, landscapes and playing around with still lifes done by dining room window light. There's an old highway that runs near where I live, and I like to hunt for old buildings and stuff along the road to photograph.

  10. #10

    What are you photographing close to home?

    Wow...I have no kids and few distractions but I almost always shoot in my house. Why not join me in the wonderful world of still life?

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