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Photography Question 
Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004

How to photograph a series

I'm looking for tips on how to photograph a series. I'm in a college photography class using slide film and an SLR. I have had ideas about barns/farms and cars of different years and conditions. I'm not quite sure how to work these images together though. I have some general pictures of a farm and some closer pictures of stuff around the farm. Most of my pictures show really old ones that probably don't do much farming anymore. I have pretty much abandoned the car idea.
I really need to think of some other series ideas but I've been drawing a blank. At first our series had to include some aspect of life in america but we have since abandoned that idea. Does anybody else have any ideas for creative series'? Thanks for your time and your helps!

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4/2/2005 12:06:27 PM


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4/2/2005 12:33:06 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Yeah, I like that idea, but right now I'm in the middle of Indiana. Usually there are larger fields but I'm getting more into the area that has many hills.

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4/2/2005 12:46:49 PM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Do you live in a historic district or near one? Any historic churches, homes, or theatres in towns and cities around you? How 'bout old granges or silos. I live in Idaho and we have an abundance of old granges that look lovely in the right light. Seems like Indiana should have more than Idaho! Another idea is cemetaries. I can't stress enough how lovely and photogenic cemetaries can be and every town has at least one.


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4/2/2005 1:50:44 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Andrew: I'm assuming your college has a library of sorts and that it has a section on photography and/or photojournalism. I'd start there, and look for books by photographers like
W. Eugene Smith and other WPA photographers. I think what you're looking for here isn't so much "how to photograph" a series but rather "what to photograph IN a series". Look around you. A series is any group of photographs that relate to one another, particularly in a story book fashion, i.e., a group of photos that tell a story without many words to describe it. It has a beginning, middle and an end, whether it's at sun-up, mid-day, and sundown, or the story of someone's career.

As a suggestion, don't try to rework past work that didn't have a central theme into one that does, but rather come up with a new concept. For example, try thinking people instead of structures or objects. Failing that, talk to your instructor and tell him or her that you're stuck.

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4/2/2005 6:00:22 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  First time we met
How the dog got out
what happened to your face
why you don't let friends borrow your clothes
college, bound to be somebody trying to beat getting a parking ticket by taking one off another car and putting it on their own windshield
find a spot in the union and record how many different looking people sit on a bench or their different things they do

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4/2/2005 6:44:35 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Use friends or family members to set up a little "story" which can be illustrated photographically.
I remember reading of a good example of series of photos,...(In Ron Engh's book I think.)

Photo #1...Dad is working outside on a new patio, while his young son watches intently.

Photo #2...Junior, wishing to help,...points to the hammer Dad is holding. Dad's stern expression say's "It's too dangerous."

Photo #3...Dad relents, and hands the hammer and a nail to his smiling son.

Photo #4...A close-up of the the child holding his finger and crying.

This was the order in which the series was presented, even though #4 was the first shot taken. The other three photos were staged by the photographer another day to record the events leading up to the fateful event.

Try to think of a similar theme relating to college life and get your friends involved. It will be as much fun for them as it is for you.

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4/3/2005 3:13:29 AM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  What about a series on the loss of the family farm life. Something like a beautiful picture of a farm first, then the farm withering, further withering and then finally a huge city scape with a farmer in rough overalls looking at the city scape. Or something to that effect. Just a thought.

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4/3/2005 7:18:43 AM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/26/2005
  Further thought this might actually fit your american theme!

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4/3/2005 7:19:33 AM

Lori Carpenter
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/31/2004
  Andrew, I'm in Indiana also and in Parke County there are 46 covered bridges that are beautiful. You can find maps at most gas stations in Parke county showing you all of their locations.

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4/3/2005 7:24:03 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
I really like the last idea on Gregory's list. I was actually going to do something just like this when I was in a college photography class almost 20 years ago. I had a spot picked out in the Quad, a heavily-traveled courtyard in front of our library. The idea was I would set up my camera on a tripod aimed at a particular bench in a nice setting. Then I would take photos over a period of several hours showing how different people moved in and out of a constant background.

Well, by the time I had my plan in place, it started raining. It rained every day for a week, and I was worried about finishing my portfolio in time, so I had to scrap the idea.

So technically, you wouldn't be reusing my series -- you could do it first.

Good luck.

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4/3/2005 8:46:17 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  Thanks everybody! I really like some of those ideas. I would try some of the other ones that involved more of an opportunity or something harder to set up but it's coming closer to the due date and I just don't want to chance not having much.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this but we have pretty muched scrapped the american theme and gone with "pretty much any series you shoot that has an idea to it" will work or something like that. I was thinking about something having to do with taking different pictures showing some common and bizarre phobias. Although it may not be obvious by just looking at some of the pictures, I will title it something like Panophobia (Fear of Everything): It's a Scary World Out There. Does that sound to cheezy or not obvious enough if you didn't have the title? Each slide will have it's own title though. Thanks again!

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4/3/2005 8:17:13 PM

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