10.6.11

What is documentary photography?

Yesterday i was talking with a gallery owner who will be part of the Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival, and i mentioned that Documentary photography was a much bigger genre than just photo-journalism.
  The gallery owner than asked " So what is documentary photography?  If i take a photo of my family i'm documenting them...  so ins't everything documentary photography?"   

I tried to explain what IS documentary photography but wasn't happy with my own answer so i though a bit more and wrote this.

Documentary photography can be on any topic really,  including families and fashion,  but differs a lot in the approach from most family photos or commercial photography. 
Do you want to show only your baby and wife when they look their cutest?  , or do you wanna make more of an examination with a camera to explore a topic like,  "what is a family"  or "what makes my family different" " how will my family change with time" 

Same for fashion or any topic,   do you just wanna show sexy girls?  or do you wanna use a camera to explore how much women can expose their bodies in public in different cultures around the world.   Both are photos about fashion and family but approached very differently. 

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