Stefan Joham

stefan-joham
Stefan Joham

Documentary

by Stefan Joham (Austria)

I am a freelance Photographer, 30 years old. Iam based in vienna and focused on Photo-Journalism working for wienlive, Looklive, Vormagazin and i also did Streetstyle Photos for the german Vogue. My target is to change the world and to make the people see their life in a different perspective. My speciality is Portait – Photography and Reportage – Photography.


Portfolio from the Documentary workshop with Patrick Zachmann, September 2014.

Written review by SANDRO IOVINE,
Editor-in-chief at FPmag

« If your pictures aren't good enough, you weren’t close enough ». Everyone involved in photography has heard this sentence at least once. The proximity mentioned by Endre Friedmann (Robert Capa) is certainly a physical factor, but not only. This basic interpretation is correct, but at the same time very trivial. Closeness is something that everyone can can physically reach. For somebody it is difficult for someone else is more natural. But this is not the problem.

The distance between a photographer and his subject is not only physical. Distance or closeness are also mental or spiritual.

«The most important thing -said Stefan- for my photography is to capture the character of the human being iN portrait». I totally agree with Stefan. However, it is difficult for me to find what he says in these nine, or better (or, better, eight?) photographs. Why is it better to say eight, instead of nine pictures? Because in a short series like this, repeat twice the same subject (or a subject belonging to the same category) is strongly recommended.

In other words, why in nine portraits of the working people in Amsterdam, two concern bicycle-fixer? Surely bikes and people who repair them are very important in Amsterdam, but two photos on nine equals a higher percentage of 22.2%. Nearly a quarter of the work.

Still on the distance from the subject. The first photo (Cab Driver) is taken close up with a good context due to landscape format. The second one (Worker shop owner) is taken from further away and is framed in portrait format. The subject is standing. The third one (Salesman) is in landscape format and like the first one shows a sitting man. In the fourth pic (Instruction worker), again a vertical format and a man standing. We can see a distance to the subject similar to the second picture. That sounds like a good sequence and rythm. From here, however, everything changes: three photographs framed from below (low-angle shot), but two photographs are in landscape format and one in portrait format. Finally, two horizontal with the subject at distance and close up again. Where is the initial rhythm?

In my opinion there are also many other questions that call for a response. For example: Why three low-angle shots? Why the tonal range of "bicycle Fixer Portrait" is higher of other photographs? Why so often there are visual obstructions between camera and subject? Why in only one picture is used the débrayage énonciatif? I’m sure are all choices of the photographer, Stefan is a professional and knows what to do. Nevertheless, these choices contradict in part the initial statements. In my opinion most of these photographs are images of reportage. Not portraits of people, but photographs of working people. in the latter sense are very good pictures. No doubt.: Stefan is a great photographer. My advice is just to work on consistency and rhythm in the sequence.


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