Our blog is intended to inspire and educate others about documentary photography. In our Behind the Frame series, we’ve asked staff and students to go back to their favorite images over the years and tell us, “Why does this stand out to you as an exceptional documentary moment?” We hope you enjoy what they have to say!
These images were taken on the Momenta Project Portland 2017: Working with Nonprofits workshop in Portland, Oregon. Photo © Frank Woodward/Momenta Workshops 2017.
Student: Frank Woodward
Workshop: Project Portland 2017
Nonprofit: ReBuilding Center
Instructor: Tom Patterson
“One of the great things about the Project Portland workshop is the opportunity to work with photographers over the several days of their shoot, helping them find new angles and crafting their subject into a story. Having the time to be able to focus allows opportunities to experiment and deepen their involvement, which often leads to more useful images for the nonprofit client as well as a more satisfying experience (and stronger portfolio) for the photographer.
Frank Woodward’s project on Portland’s Rebuilding Center is one example of this. By returning to the center and spending lots of time onsite, but also focusing offsite on how people use the center’s products and classes, Frank captured diverse images that form a true narrative arc. Detail shots, establishing shots, action shots, portraits, moments of interaction between staff and customers: these are the building blocks of a well-told story that really takes the viewer there.
Frank’s photo of a worker leaving a construction job site through an open door, for example, becomes something of a metaphor, a photo that can be used by a client in many different ways. The worker waves to an unseen colleague while walking into the light. It’s a moment of transition that implies the bright future of the home under construction, certainly, but by extension it also implies a bright future for those who learn and create with the help of the Rebuilding Center. Any client would be pleased with such a versatile, authentic, hardworking communication tool as this photograph.”
Please join us for the next Project Portland in October 2018 in Portland, Oregon. For more information and to reserve your spot, click here.