On 10 July I took part in an online seminar come workshop with Edmond Terakopian (Terakopian 2020 A), part of a series that can be referenced on his blog (Terakopian 2020 B). Edmond is a veteran press photographer, photo-journalist and teacher. The occasion was largely to celebrate 31 years in his profession. Several things emerged for me about the skills required in professional photography today.
- In order to put people at their ease and stop them ‘posing’ for the image, one needs to learn how to relax with people in all kinds of situations and walks of life.
- One has to be super adaptable but still know how to produce images clients will want. Edmond’s round can take in fashion and events, music and arts, disasters and news stories, portraits, advertising photography and his own longer-term projects.
- One has to be creative enough to think on one’s feet. A client might say they like your style, then ask you to come up with a photographic proposal for a marketing pitch for a new product, all of which has to be done to a very high standard in about two weeks. It is all down to you and your creative ideas.
- One has to be canny enough to know the difference between a good image and an image that will make the front page of a newspaper or magazine. Many photographers might arrive at an event and then make quite similar and perfectly acceptable images, but the image that makes the front page will almost always have a telling detail or nuance the others do not have. It might be a gesture, an expression, an angle of view, a small child intruding into the frame, etc. A talented photographer needs to be alert to these perhaps small, fleeting gestures that in the end make all the difference.
- One needs to be a ruthless curator of one’s own work, particularly under tight deadlines. That can only be done if one has a clear idea of what makes a powerful image and a clear idea of one’s intent in making the image throughout the whole process.
I realize these ideas are perhaps not what art photographers are looking for but they do appeal to me as an amateur flâneur and street photographer. The seminar with Edmond has rekindled my interest in photography and reminded me of some important points it is easy to forget.
TERAKOPIAN, Edmond. 2020 A. ‘Edmond Terakopian: Photojournalist’. Edmond Terakopian [online]. Available at: http://www.terakopian.com/ [accessed 14 Jul 2020].
TERAKOPIAN, Edmond. 2020 B. ‘Photo This & That’. Edmond Terakopian [online]. Available at: https://photothisandthat.co.uk/ [accessed 14 Jul 2020].
Figure 1. Edmond TERAKOPIAN. 2018. ‘A child runs around whilst bathed in rays of sunlight in the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, during a heat wave Bank Holiday. Bankside, London, UK.’ This image was shortlisted for the British Photography Awards. From: Flickr [online]. Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/terakopian/40305778310/in/dateposted/ [accessed 05 Jul 2020].