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  • Writer's pictureJeremy H. Greenberg

Blog #157 Magnum Workshop

Blog#157 Magnum Workshop

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📷 📷 📷 Professional

In April of this year, I participated in a five day Magnum Workshop. The workshop was hosted by Jean Gaumy, a spritely old Frenchman with an accomplished repertoire as a professional photographer and filmmaker. The workshop was attended about about a dozen photographers ranging from amateur to professional.

The format of the workshop was designed around the development of a project or body of work produced with the five days. We all tended to gravitate towards street photography although one of the participants made street portraits (with permission) mostly of fashionable women.

In my case, I used the workshop to push forward on one of my two projects that I’m currently working on. I thought that I had a title and clear concern going into the workshop but that proves to change in the early stages as the path forward seemed to become more clear.

Each day we would have some “class” time to review images and learn the “Magnum” way of editing photos. Here are a couple of points from the editing process that I learned. Some of these techniques were derived from looking at contact sheets from the grand master Henri Cartier-Bresson. Jean showed us this process.

1. Don’t delete anything.

2. Four (4) colour codes are applied to all images from each shoot (day).

3. Blue are 3rd choice selected images.

4. Green are 2nd choice selected images.

5. Red is reserved for 1st choice images.

6. White or Gray or non-colour-coded images are simply ignored.

7. Sequence and order the images in small groups such as 2, 3, or up to 6 images.

8. Take a screen shot of this order.

9. Re-oder images and take another screen shot.

10. Some images work and some do not.

"One photograph is a word, many photographs is a sentence" I think he said at some point or something similar.

No adjustments were made to any images during the workshop for the most part. We focused instead on editing or ordering images.

We had a few hours just about every day to make images and then share them the following day as a group in a brief portfolio review.

In reflection, the process of shooting, editing, and sharing improved the quality of my editing. When there is an immediate audience for your work you are more discerning about which images you with share. Images should stick with the theme of the project. This is one of the most (probably THE most) challenging task for any photographer. It’s certainly the most difficult in my view.

I’ve blogged about the value of critique previously and this experience has validated the process for me once again. Critique should be sought out by any artist looking to improve their work. Avoid asking friends or family as they will like just about everything that you do. You need a more objective and critical eye to give it to you straight. Jean most certainly did!

The light is always right.


*Images: © Limelight Limited

Where: PMQ, Soho, Hong Kong, April 2019

Subject: Magnum Photography Workshop April 2019

Gear: Fujfilm X-E3 + Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/ 2.8 - 4.0 R LM OIS

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