Photographer Nic Dunlop has made a career out of the telling stories through images and now wants to help demystify the area for amateurs at an upcoming workshop in Bangkok.
Nic Dunlop has built a storied career behind the lens, having spent the best part of two decades travelling back and forth to Myanmar – previously Burma – to capture images of life under the military junta. On his travels he photographed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during her time under house arrest.
Next month, Dunlop is holding a workshop in Bangkok to share his skills with committed amateaur photographs interested in creating their own portraits and photo essays.
“My idea was to provide a crash course for people wanting to improve their photography,” Dunlop says. “I learned the hard way – I learned from making endless mistakes.”
For Dunlop, the key message is that anyone can take interesting photographs. It is, after all, an increasingly democratic medium. That said, quality photographs aren’t produced by simply pointing and shooting at random. Developing a certain creative and technical approach is also important.
“Taking good photographs isn’t now to having some unique talent – it’s down to perseverance,” Dunlop says. “People are taking more photos now than ever before but what hasn’t changed is the need to understand how pictures work and how to tell that story through them.”
Preparation and planning quickly emerge as key platform in Dunlop’s approach to photography. That means undertanding the subject of the photographs as well as the kinds of images required.
“If you’re trying to tell a story that has a narrative flow, there will be certain key images you’d be expected to include. In a visual language, there’s still a beginning, middle and an end. Once people develop that visual literacy, they can build on that and then present their own unique view of the world.”
“If you’re trying to follow one person through a story and turn it into a photo essay, you’re going to need certain key images – you’ll need a tighter portrait shot, as well as a wider establishing image.
“If, for example, your story is about what they do for a living, you’ll probably need something of them at work. So it’s good to map it out like that – I used to sit down with a sketch book and come up with the kinds of images I wanted.”
“It can be very arresting and very powerful,” Dunlop says. “You think about the famous portrait of Che Guevara that you now see everywhere. It’s important to step back and think again about why the person you’re photographing is interesting. But everyone can learn how to do it.
“There’s a whole realm that’s accessible to people and it’s not only the realm of the elite. There’s a way of thinking and a set of skills and a few tricks of the trade but we want everyone to have access to those and get really fired-up about their photography.”
July 27-August 1
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