I learned so much through the documentation process. And I had a blast being with them, making art, and exploring the wonderful city of Paris. I wanted to take some time to share my experience and some lessons learned.
Lessons Learned Documenting Artists in Paris
Even though I’ve been documenting artists for years and years now, I feel like I learned a lot of new lessons on this trip. Here’s a quick summary, and I’ll go into more detail below.
- Capture everything, even the quiet moments.
- Understand the artist’s vision so you can understand how they want to be portrayed.
- Understand your own vision as a photographer.
- Catalog your work and organize it.
- Have fun and don’t forget to capture the light-hearted stuff too.
Documentation is so so important, so documenting every moment possible is critical. I used to get caught up in wondering if this photo has “commercial value” or if it’s worth capturing. Everything is worth capturing. Obviously, use your best judgment and don’t just spray and pray. But at the same time, don’t limit yourself. I enjoyed this trip so much because I was able to see more of the process than ever before, even the painful side of art.
As a documentarian, I care deeply about respecting my subjects vision. This is especially true for artists, where their work is so personal to them. Take the time to talk to your subjects before, during, and after the documentation process to fully understand their vision and goals. That will help you better capture them and shine light on what they are doing.
Your Own Vision
That being said, it’s still important to capture your own vision as a photographer. You can respect your subject’s wishes and still capture images that are meaningful to you and through your own eyes. It’s all about finding that balance and meeting in the middle.
Organizing your work is important, and I am certainly not the best at it! For this trip, we were in Paris for over three weeks total, so it was critical to catalog and organize. My method was as follows:
- Make time to export photos daily to a “raw” folder.
- If necessary, sort the “raw” folder by certain shoots, subjects, or purposes. For example I was documenting multiple artists, locations, and sometimes promo shoots (like the video above), so I would organize it based on those parameters.
- Don’t fall behind. It’s easy to let a day or two slip, but then you spend more and more time trying to figure out when you shot what. Do your best to set a time each day when you can export everything and keep track of it.
- Charge your devices at the same time. Battery life is key when you’re shooting nonstop.
Nothing is more important than having fun on the creative journey. What do we do this for? We’re sharing our authentic expression with the world. If it’s too serious and staged, it isn’t fun, and it isn’t authentic. Have fun and lighten the mood to make for a more enjoyable time, and to truly document life as it happens.
Photos from HERE NOW – Art Exhibition
Statement from Joe Taveras:
“This collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture is an embodiment of the tumultuous times we currently find ourselves in at the end of the year 2023. With humanitarian crises occurring throughout the world, this moment is felt by all. The works depicted below discuss the themes of life and death, the separation of Oneness, and the return to Nature. All works in this collection were created and exhibited in Paris alongside fellow artist Matthew Moloney in the Joint Exhibition HERE NOW in November of 2023.
This is a story of humanity, a reflection of the here and now.”
See the fully detailed photos of each artists’ respective artworks on their websites.
I hope you enjoyed seeing and reading more about my experiences documenting artists in Paris. I sure did and wanted to take the time to reflect on it, and share it with the world. View more of my photography on my website and Instagram.
Check out some other relevant articles and features below.
- Artist Feature: Joe Taveras of Boston, MA
- Artist Feature: Makai Murray in his Stoughton, Mass Studio
- Artist Feature: Bridget Harvey in her SoWa Boston Studio
- Artist Feature: Katie Southworth in her SoWa Boston Studio
- Artist Feature: Nicholas Cordeiro, aka Dead Cowboy, in his Salem, Mass Studio
- NEW RENAISSANCE TRIBUNE Launches in Boston