BELGRADE RAW WORKSHOP IN MUNICH
I’m a sucker for a workshop and when a workshop combines two things I love, I’m smitten. Yesterday, I attended the first day of the Belgrade Raw workshop in Munich, Germany where we combined street photography and art books.
The Belgrade Raw workshop focuses on showing your city in a new way using documentary street photography. The artists from Belgrade explained their interest in creating unexpected compositions to help viewers see photography and their city in a new light.
It is not an easy task for an artist to edit down 130 photos to 25-40. It is an even more difficult task when 12 artists with different aesthetics, ideologies and levels of professionalism put on their editing hats.
Luckily, the artists present at day 1 of the workshop were up for the challenge of jointly editing the photographs and shaping 12 views of Munich into one.
Some artists clung to their favourite photo compositions and asked to keep them in a specific way while other artists relished in removing photos from the white paper field as long as they were not their own. It kind of felt like we were in a sociological test, a feeling that was enhanced by having a sociology PHD student sitting next to me during the workshop.
All the photographers on day 1 enjoyed arranging small versions of everyone’s photographs and creating compositions. The initial edit spanned over the entire table and reminded me of a disjointed jazz piece heavily influenced by the Dusseldorf School of Photography. As a German/American raised in the US and influenced by American photography, the Dusseldorf aesthetic is a bit hard to absorb but I get it and have no problems playing along for two days.
Our workshop book will be three A3 pages in size so all those photographs spread over the table needed to be reduced down to a few compositions. Below, you can see the artists working diligently to bring some storyline to the compositions.
The general consensus among all the artists was that any photograph that screamed Munich would be set aside – Off went photographs of Oktoberfest, men in feathered hats and specific landmark buildings -Nothing too Munich or easily identified with the city would remain.
Figuring out a beginning and an end was problematic. The photographers faced the same problem writers face when deciding what should be the first line. The beginning of any art piece must be strong enough to keep people following through until the end.
As the hours passed, photographs were moved around the table and rearranged and rearranged again and new photos were added from the discarded pile or tossed off with regret.
During the workshop, each artist created a composition based on the photographs they submitted to the Fotodoks Belgrade Raw team. This composition allowed the artists to see what could be done with their photographs. Below, two instructors and two artists played with the photographs of one artist trying to strengthen the initial layout.
The Belgrade Raw idea of a photo documentary reminds me of film where you have clips that lead you into the scene and that add to the main shots – photos that strengthen the storyline. I submitted 15 main shots and no fillers. Now I know I should have sent in 10 filler photos and 5 main shots.
Below are the final 7 photos edited down from my initial 15. The Belgrade Raw team arranged the photographs to create an overall composition that tells a story of the city. What does this composition tell you about Munich?
I will be using this idea to create weekly galleries for the Munich Artists website from the photos I take each week. If you want to work on doing some of these, you can let me know.
Below are the photos I submitted to the workshop. You are welcome to print them out into business card sized images and figure out how to arrange them in a Belgrade Raw way. Use your own filler photos to beef up the story. Please do not use the photos below for any other reason. If you do try to do this and send me your composition, I will share it in a gallery on Facebook.
Please note that I’m giving you permission to play with my photographs. These photos are NOT in the Creative Commons, they are photographs from my art series.
Below are members of the Belgrade Raw team cutting up the photographs used during day 1 of the workshop. More information about the team and day 2 will be posted tomorrow and next week, I will also post some photos of the poster/art book from this workshop.
Munich will be hosting the Fotodoks festival from October 13-18th @ the MaximiliansForum, Munich City Museum (Muenchner Stadtmuseum) and at Lothringerstr. 13 RGB 81667. I will sharing images from the festival next week on our Facebook page and on our Instagram feed. I hope you will have time to see some of the documentary photography being exhibited in Munich before you visit me at the long night of the museum.
I personally would have each artist create their own book using the group photos so that each artists different style and idea of the city could be represented. 12 versions of the book using everyone’s photos would have been interesting. So, Munich Artists, please be prepared to do something like this in 2016 probably as a workshop during Munich Creative Business Week.