Documenting the Mundane

TellThatStory decided to conduct research on two genres of photography that often have been confused as one and the same thing. In light of this, some artists attempted to give it a go. Below is one of such responses. The content of this post is an opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of TellThatStory. Enjoy the read.

In your own word and from your experience what is Documentary photography?  I will define it as ‘capturing the mundane in thought-evoking ways. Quite literally, if you ponder a bit on that definition, it aptly interprets what documentary photography entails for me.  It also allows me to explore places in which I find myself, finding new reality to record and comment on.

How is it different from Street photography? Are there cross-cutting edges? Honestly, I think the major difference between both is in their names. Street photography is strictly street while Documentary photography is all-encompassing. While the former can be limiting, the latter gives room to explore.

Some say documentary photography should always be done in projects, how true is this? This is very true, especially for the ones doing it professionally. But it doesn’t nullify the need for single shots and how relevant they are in documents. The essence of projects I think is to project a focus/topic/idea from the viewpoint of the artist.

What is the essence of documentary photography to you? The essence of documenting to me is underlined in the capturing of real life, which reveals the core of our humanness. Also, I knowing that each time I photograph, I am a part of something way bigger than me.

What will you say now is your documentary photography voice? What sayest thou? Thus far, I’d say it subtly lies in my double-exposed images. I find solace in the process of its creation, as it allows me to create another reality from reality. That excites me. So for now, there lies my voice.

Is it a profitable venture? Yes, how I can make a profit from it? It’s a great feeling when you’re rewarded for what you love doing -it’s a double win. But personally, I’ve not been intentional about its monetary value partly because I’m still focused on growing and evolving with what I create. That said, yes I think it is a profitable venture. Sales of print (aside from opportunities/competitions that one may be fortunate to win) is a solid way of making money off it but it’s not easy-peasy.

Last words to those in and those who will enter in? The world needs every voice and perspective, and yours is included.

This contribution was made by Ololade Lawal. The images attached in this post are from her project titled ‘It’s the face for me’. They project the story of Temitope and her continuous battle with self-esteem-devouring acne/breakouts. Through these photographs, I explored the layers of inclusion and visually accentuated what’s inside.