Noah Miller

noah-miller
Noah Miller

Industrial and urban landscapes

by Noah Miller (United States)

I have mainly shot in a photojournalistic style until now and I most recently covered the parliamentary election in Kuwait on behalf of the Ministry of Information. However, Kuwait is not the most conducive place for people type photography.

I’ve hence been contemplating an architectural project since the city boasts a mixture of interesting 1960s and 70s style building, alongside more contemporary skyscrapers. I hope this course will help me develop an eye for compelling composition as well as the necessary technical skills used in urban type photography.


Portfolio from the Paysages industriels workshop with Mark Power, April 2012.

Written review by JULIÁN DUEÑAS,
Director at GEO magazine

The first portfolio that I have been able to look at do actually suggest an eye that is trained for photojournalism. On the one hand, in the black and white series, although it is too crammed for my liking, it does offer a different type of suggestive framing. Despite it being a shooting, it also has an air of political event coverage (perhaps the Kuwait Parliament elections left their mark), as it plays with the composition and the depths of field, through focuses and blurs, telling a story without saying anything. Good, everything here is fine.

The second portfolio, despite having a much weaker composition than the first, has somewhat more impact. The image quality is correct, but there is no sign of any post-processing. There is a sense of consistency and perseverance – I can see that you have spent the whole day photographing the chosen object, which is commendable.

However, it lacks proximity. I did not want to broach the subject, but what Robert Capa said about proximity and photo quality (“If a photo is not good it is because you are not close enough”) is very relevant here. The images are taken from too far away (I do not know if this was intentional, or if not then it is not achieving the desired effect). It is as if you were afraid to invade the portrayed subject’s space, or that you would hurt their feelings by taking their photo. If you don’t dip your toes in the water, you will not get wet. But you have to do it. Don’t be afraid of getting closer, its part of the job. The viewer will understand that your presence distorts the reality which is being photographed, because this is true, but that should not worry you.

So what is lacking is decisiveness. More courage is needed in the approach, more creative suggestions in the composition; otherwise, it runs the risk of being boring. What is inside the tent? What possessions does this homeless person have? A blanket? Perhaps a small photo of his family in Senegal? Beers? These are the type of questions that the viewer wants to see answered in your images. This is how you will achieve the intensity and emotion required by this type of project.

In my opinion, Photo 7 comes the closest to a real photojournalistic approach of an urban scene with the following features: you can almost feel the chill of the night, the loneliness and the helplessness of the individual facing a big city whose lights are drawn in the background, contrasting with the tourists who enjoy the city lights.

Lastly, I would have liked you to play more with the depths of field: in the foreground a beaten face, showing the suffering (if this is what you wanted to capture) of living on the street; hands that tell the story of an immigrant seeking a better life, eyes that show discouragement, excitement, sadness or joy, whatever it may be, but that tell some sort of story.


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