Last week I attended a workshop by Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey. He was in the region, photographing for the French Development Aid program and the French Institute had organized it. Since it was all in French, I did not understand everything he said, but from what I did, I was already very inspired and motivated.
Bruno Barbey has photographed in many different countries and settings. What I noticed about his work is that he doesn’t stick to one specific way of portraying subjects or landscapes, every aspect of the image works towards what he wants to show. For example his photos from Marocco emphasize on the colours and light of the landscape and how the people seem to be visually part of this environment. In other photos, especially those taken in Istanbul, it is clear that he is fascinated by the clash of European and Asian culture, which is reflected in the contrasts between the European look of the people and their Asian habits and beliefs and the other way around. He focuses much more on the people, their interaction and less on the city itself and its landscape. Looking at these striking differences I learned that the most important thing about photography is to to be clear in what you exactly want to portray in and let the lighting, composition and other techniques facilitate that. It was obvious that that has become Barbey’s second nature.
The workshop was very motivating. I’ve been working hard on getting the techniques right and have felt pretty inadequate at times. But Barbey’s work showed me that the heart of photography is all about seeing what makes people, places and things special and that being able to portray that is really worth the struggle.
For his work, have a look at: http://www.brunobarbey.com