Inspiring Picture Story

August 24, 2012 § Leave a comment—pine-ridge/PINERIDGE_1200p_105

This photo story I chose for this assignment is titled, “Photographing and Listening to, the Lakota,” by Aaron Huey.  When I came across this story at first on the lens blog of the New York Times the opening image is what initially caught my eye. It’s striking and dramatic and, well, it’s beautiful.  As you progress through the story, however, you see the depth and the purpose to the photographer’s work as he builds his layers of what life is like on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  The viewer progressively views preserved tradition intertwined with the present day condition of the Lakota people and their struggles with gang violence and poverty.  Huey further developed this story for  the National Geographic after concerns were voiced by the residents of Pine Ridge Reservation, that he had not captured the entirety of their story, just a small piece of it.  He returned to complete his work by first listening to his subjects, and then photographing. His work for both the New York Times and the National Geographic demonstrated two very important things which we have touched on already in class. First, without enough time spent on research you run the risk of misrepresenting your subjects and perhaps not getting close enough to draw the viewer emotionally into the story.  Second, that with greater patience and devoted attention, the photographer will be able to find and develop the story that emerges, which is something natural, not an artificial creation from an outsider’s perspective.

Aside from the story itself I enjoy his relatively simple and clean compositions, his use of color and light.  These are the kinds of compositional elements I have always tried to accomplish, and I enjoy seeing it well done in other’s work. I also really like the way he incorporates nature as the people interact with it; in images that portray how they once held their place in their environment and what that now looks like on the reservation.  For example, the juxtaposition between photo 11 and photo 19.


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