Doing Documentary Work

Robert Coles

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about photography, both in gearing up mentally for the end of winter (hopefully soon) and a busy season of new work in the spring, as well as because of some new teaching I’ll be doing in the summer.
This is one of the most interesting titles I’ve come across, and although it is aimed primarily at photographes, its insights are readily applicable across a variety of documentary forms, including reportage and writing.
Coles’s thinking is particularly acute on the psychology, politics and ethics implicit in the relationship between “author” and “subject.”
In his own words, he describes the books as: “a look at what happens to those of us who venture into streets not our own in pursuit of the awareness those streets (one hopes) can offer — what happens morally and psychologically within us, and what subsequently happens to us as writers, photographers, filmmakers, or academic researchers.”
In a brief but intense book, Coles delivers.

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