Theory & Practice

4 Photographic Approaches to Try This Summer

Discover new ways of approaching photography this summer with Magnum's on-demand courses

Still from Jonas Bendiksen: Curiosity in Practice

As the summer draws on and the world begins to open up, a multitude of possibilities are available to photographers looking to get outside and shoot new work. If you’re looking for inspiration or looking to evolve your own photographic practice, you can hear from Magnum photographers who have shared their knowledge as part of our video-on-demand courses — each course is on sale now for 20% off when using the code SUMMER at checkout, valid until 31 August 2021.

Below, consider four tips in your photographic practice, and watch the trailers for each Magnum Learn course. Find out more about the courses here.

1. Make the most of the streets

After more than a year of pandemic restrictions, much of the world is reopening, and photographers can once again ‘hit the streets’ with camera in hand. What are the key ingredients to making successful photographs of the fleeting moments that occur in shared and public places, at home or elsewhere? What mindset is required? In The Art of Street Photography seven photographers share their richly varied array of practices and their unique approaches, sharing insights and advice learnt across careers spanning decades. Whether it is moving your feet when framing a scene, having patience and pure perseverance to rally against failure, this course arms you with tips and tricks to improve your work. Follow Bruce Gilden on the streets of New York and Martin Parr at a country fair, and watch how they edit and sequence their photographs. Susan Meiselas, Peter van Agtmael and Carolyn Drake advise on how they approach subjects, photographing and collaborating with strangers. Mark Power shares a slower approach, and Richard Kalvar speaks on the power of framing and composition. Find out more here.

2. Find an unconventional story

In the age of digital media, we are all constantly exposed to news and visual content. How might we uncover the lesser-documented aspects of modern life and seek out the stories that really matter to us? Jonas Bendiksen’s course, Curiosity in Practice, explores how the photographer has dedicated his career to documenting the stories on the fringes of Western media, from the forgotten towns of former Soviet republics, to the everyday lives of slum-dwellers across the Global South. In the course, learn about how to combine an enthusiasm for adventure with practical skills like editing, proposal-writing and book-making, and follow Bendiksen as he creates new work in the field. Find out more here.

3. Build deeper relationships with subjects

How do you create photography that feels intimate, and images that convey truth about a person? Can you use your photography not only to say something about someone else, but also about how you relate to them? Perhaps you’ve tried making images of people you have just met and you want to forge a stronger connection? In Chance Encounters, Bieke Depoorter shares her experience of working with people she meets by accident — from Egypt, to the US, to Paris — some of which have developed into long-term relationships and transformative moments in her creative practice. Find out more here.

4. Craft a narrative using photographs

How do you tell a story using photographs? What stories do you want to tell? How might you use real-life elements to try and visually ‘write’ your own script? In his course, Photographic Storytelling, Alec Soth draws on his experiences creating his renowned long-term projects and monographs, unpacking his creative process and evolution, the struggles and breakthroughs encountered along the way, Soth speaks on creative momentum, portraiture and the power of editing and sequencing in developing narrative experiences, and how the book form can bring these narratives to life. In this course, see Soth spark a photographic exploration by throwing a dart at a Minnesota state map, leading to multiple creative encounters and scenarios. Find out more here.

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