Photographic Social Experimentation

On Monday, I conducted a small strobe light workshop with my photojournalism class. After the set-up and technical discussion in the studio my ambitious students took to the campus of Point Park University to practice quick light set-ups on unsuspecting subjects.

Armed with Nikon SB-800’s fired with Nikon CLS, they made their first stop at the Point Cafe and made a photograph of a patron eating dinner. They bored with that pretty quick and soon came up with a social experimentation concept of photographing people as they exited the elevator.

Two important things happened, first, they learned they are in control when the camera is in their hands. Most folks passing through asked the student photographers if they could still use the elevators, pretty humorous to watch.

Secondly they learned that most people don’t react negatively when photographed. This was a good lesson because students often express their fear of taking pictures of people beacuse they are initimidated by the reaction they think they will get from the subject. Some people didn’t react at all, most people smiled and walked away, only one person seemed annoyed at the experiment.

The experiment got their wheels turning about other ways to conduct the exercise and how it could be implemented into longer term projects for publication. Most importantly it helped them think quickly and creatively about the image making process.

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