TEDx Talk: two visions of documentary photography

Here’s an inspiring 14-minute TEDx talk from photographer Billy Weeks on documentary photography. Weeks explores that precise moment when a photographer and a subject “meet with a single point of view”.

Coming from a poor background, Weeks has built a career in photojournalism. He spent much of his time documenting people, especially those with similar backgrounds. His first job was for the Chattanooga weather in 1984 as a personal photographer, and in 1999 he was promoted to director of photography. It was only relatively recently, in 2010, that Weeks became a freelance documentary photographer.

Since then he has covered World Series missions to document the lives of those living in small villages in Central America. His images of poverty in Honduras won an “Award of Excellence” for Editorial Photography at the Communication Arts Photography Annual. Since then he has won many other awards and seen his images published in top magazines.

Weeks reminds us that there are two visions in documentary photography: that of the photographer and that of the subject. This talk should give you some inspiration and some insight into the responsibility documentary photographers have to always remember that there are of them people at every photo.

Throughout the talk, Weeks gives examples of his past missions and factors from his own experiences that shaped the images he ultimately produced.

“My photographs are my autobiography,” says Weeks. “If you dig deeper, you will discover an understanding of a photographer whose politics and human rights are at the heart.

“In the end, I always photograph myself.

(via TEDx Talks via Fstoppers)

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