#032 – Documentary Projects + Confluence Magazine with Katie Jett Walls

You may remember Katie Jet Walls – she was our guest in episode 003 all about Documentary School Photography.

Today, we’re talking about Documentary Projects. More specifically, projects that emulate something you might see in the news, but photographed + told by “one of us” family photographers who don’t have connections in the photojournalism world.

Now, if you’re not doing a documentary project or don’t have them on your radar, don’t tune out. We cover a few really cool topics in here that I think you’ll learn from.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How going from Katie’s perception of Craftsman to Artist was what sparked Katie’s love for documentary projects
  • Katie’s process for project ideas – what to do when you have one
  • The big problem after you execute a really, great documentary project that Confluence Magazine is working to solve
  • Pivot into a big of a side topic: starting a bigger business project like Confluence or F&F
  • The September issue’s Featured Project by Felicia Chang that’s images were curated by photojournalist Ryan Christopher Jones
  • Sequencing like a photojournalist – specifically sequencing your photos for narrative
  • All about Confluence – submitting, how it’s a space for photo editors, photojournalists, and new voices

As always, get all the links mentioned in this episode in the shownotes at ff.com/032

Enjoy the story.

Homework:

If you’re not working on a documentary project, but it interests you, what might that be?

  • Katie Jett Walls had an interest with her Grandma’s grief group.
  • Upcoming episode with Paul Gero – he has a passion for High School Football & he spend many Friday nights with a local team until they didn’t even notice him and his camera anymore.
  • We published a story on F&F where photographer, Elizabeth Marquess, documented the souls of her small town
  • I mentioned I’ve been noticing the big Christian presence here in upstate SC, which has piqued my interest since it’s not a culture I was a part of growing up in Michigan. I’ve always had a fascination for religion, probably because of it being a void in my life.

I have no idea what that “layer deeper” could be for that story, all I know is that it’s something I notice + something that moves me – the way people have so much trust + love for their faith.

All I know is that, for me, starting a documentary project or covering a story you might see in the news doesn’t have to be bland or mean you have to be at the scene of an accident, but can start from a story that you don’t know the whole story of, yet.

And, you know, Katie mentioned how she took her Grandma’s widow story a step further and learned about it a layer deeper from a social perspective too.

POINT BEING: You might not know what that “layer deeper” is for the story, but what I’d love for you to do, if taking on a project outside of your routine shooting, is simply explore what COULD be a story for you to dive deeper into.

Go tell Katie + Confluence Magazine about it. Or come tell me – I’d love to hear + play operator to fill Katie in on what this sparked for you as well.

Until next time, Stay Fearless. 

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Katie Jett Walls on Personal Documentary Photography projects

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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