A Classical Documentary

It’s time to present another of the participant’s work from last year’s online workshop. Pat Callahan made a classical, visual documentary story for his personal photo project when participating in the online workshop «Finding Your Photographic Voice» last year. And he did it with conviction and through a entrancing narration. In his portrayal of the Irish village Courtmacsherry, Pat captures the daily life of its villagers, whether kids and youngsters having fun in the harbour, a quiet moment of in the local pub, a burial or the bliss of a wedding.

The strength of Pat’s visual portrayal of Courtmacsherry is his well-developed talent both to perceive good composition and finding those smaller or bigger moments that bring the story together. He is a master of the decisive moment as articulated by Henri Cartier-Bresson. His eye is sharp and his technical skills foster the stories each of the photos tells so well, as it does the overall narrative of the photo essay.

What really impresses me with the essay is Pat’s ability to get close to the people he photographs. I mean both literally and on an emotional level. The people he photographs aren’t even noticing Pat, they go about doing there things as if he is not present with a camera. People clearly trust him. They let him into their sphere and into their lives, as if he is one of them. From that standpoint, he quietly and gently goes about photographing whatever they are doing, seemingly unnoticed and without interrupting the proceedings.

The black and white format fits perfectly the story of a village where time seems to have stood still and life goes about as it has done for decades. The photos become a glimpse into time long forgotten in most other places, where the community and care for each other is still the important factor in life.

If you like to see more of his work, look up the website and blog of Pat Callahan.

Later in the spring I will start up another round of the online workshop, more specifically May 22nd. If you are interested, you will find more information about «Finding Your Photographic Voice» on the web site of Blue Hour Photo Workshops. Furthermore, if you sign up before the end of April you will get the workshop for a discounted price. Only this week left for the reduced price!

55 thoughts on “A Classical Documentary

  1. Incredibly sensitive images. a gift – I feel like I’m intimately visiting a place I would otherwise never have access to, as a member of the community and not as an outsider.

  2. Thank you Otto, I really appreciate your kind words! Your class and the feedback you gave me were extremely valuable to my development as a photographer.

  3. Well, these photos took me straight back to Ireland, though I would have been proud to come back with these photos. A really good set from Pat, and a photographer I expect to see again.

  4. Reblogged this on Pat Callahan Photography and commented:
    I took Otto’s online workshop last year while I was in Courtmacsherry, Ireland. I appreciated his detailed and thoughtful feedback. And I enjoyed this blog post he wrote my documentary on life in a Irish village. Check it out!

  5. These are awesome! I often have a hard time trying to decide whether to stick with color or go with black and white. I think this helps give some guidance on that decision. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I have neither the personality nor the gift for people photography. Pat clearly has both. I especially love the interactions shown here…the boys at the pier, the two men talking, and the two girls at the counter. It’s lovely work.

  7. i’m not sure if i left a comment on these lovely pictures, and they ARE lovely… when black and white is done just right, it takes me back, to when life was much more simple 🙂

  8. Pat, I enjoyed sharing in the workshop with you. Your photography speaks to the love you have for the art and for the amazing interaction you have with people. I fell in love with the photo of the two girls when I first saw it. What a radience–and what a story line this photo could have. Keep up the good work. Best wishes!

  9. This is a classical documentary indeed. About a passionate woman about photography, and about passionate people that love their place of abode passionately going about their day-to-day activities with such a serenity, and the best of thing fresh. But I am not sure whether they have potable water, trekkable road, and constant electricity supply.

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