Photographing Strangers: Practical Tools and Ethical Questions
For many photographers, one of the biggest challenges in taking street portraits or working on a documentary project is how to approach strangers. In this class, we’ll examine practical tools you can use to overcome your fears and confront the ethical questions that are an inherent part of this practice. We’ll discuss how to make pictures that represent people fairly and why that is necessary to consider. We’ll ask ourselves important questions, including: who is the community and why are you the right person to take these pictures? and what guides you in making these photographs?
We’ll look at the work of artists, photographers, and filmmakers — including Baldwin Lee, Judith Joy Ross, and Gianfranco Rosi — to assess the past and present of documentary work and what the future may look like. With weekly assignments, you’ll learn to face your fears through real-world practice. Gain a better understanding of how to navigate the anxiety-inducing act of approaching and photographing strangers, as well as the necessary mindset and tools to do it with a good conscience.
Scott Rossi is a photographer based in New York who is originally from Canada. His work captures the poetic nuances of daily life and the complex relationship between people and their environment. Rossi is a Documentary Practices and Visual Journalism program graduate from the International Center of Photography (ICP) and holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Victoria. Following his move to New York City in 2020, he began his project, Common Place, a visual meditation on Central Park, resulting in his first monograph. His work has been featured in or commissioned by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Vogue, and the British Journal of Photography, among others. He has exhibited internationally at the Rotterdam Photo Festival, The International Center of Photography, and Photo 2022 in Melbourne.Scott teaches photographing strangers for StrudelmediaLive.