Documentary Photographers share their experiences

10 photographers on their most memorable moment as a documentary photographer

I asked some of the photographers who have been interviewed in the Documentary Photography Review podcasts to share their thoughts and experiences in response to a series of 12 questions. (You can read the responses to last week’s question, and sign up to the DPR newsletter to be kept informed of future articles.)

This week I ask:

What’s been your most memorable moment as a documentary photographer?

Lewis Bush
Giving City of London police officers impromptu lessons in optics and art history during the shooting of one project was pretty fun.
Lewis Bush
I shoot, write, talk, curate, and teach about photography, journalism, history and art. Lecturer at the London College of Communication and run the Disphotic blog
Jonathan Goldberg

[divider]Jonathan Goldberg [/divider]

The launch of my most significant exhibition at Brighton Station, the culmination of 3 months intensive work.

Jonathan Goldberg
I am a London-based portrait and documentary and documentary photographer with 20 years of experience. In between my regular portrait and documentary commissions I undertake personal projects relating to issues that I'm passionate about.

[divider]Ingrid Guyon [/divider]

I guess what I am experiencing now. I am documenting the Latin American community and retailers in Elephant and Castle, London and I became part of the decorum. Everyone knows me, welcomes me and informs me of everything that is happening – sharing their personal stories around a beer – this is priceless.

Ingrid Guyon
I have lived and worked as a photographer, community worker and photography facilitator in London since 2001 and graduated at the London College of Communication and Social Anthropology in 2006.

[divider]Eduardo Leal [/divider]

It is hard to pick one, I think in this last years there was quite a few, but maybe I will choose when I was covering the funeral of President Hugo Chávez. It was the moment where I actually felt I was living a piece of history.

Eduardo Leal
Eduardo Leal is a Portuguese freelance documentary photographer focusing on Latin America social issues and politics and Portuguese traditions.

[divider]Claudia Leisinger [/divider]

Once ‘The Last of the Billingsgate Fish Porters’ multimedia piece had been published on the Foto8 website and on the Guardian online, I went back to the fish market a few days before the porters were made redundant. The love I got from the porters was unbelievable. They were just so happy and grateful that I kept my word, portrayed them with humour and dignity, and got their story out before the end.

Claudia Leisinger
At present I work as freelance portrait and documentary photographer, based in London. I have had my photos published in the Guardian, the Telegraph Magazine, the Big Issue, the NZZ newspaper and the Foto8 website, amongst others.

[divider]Tim Mitchell [/divider]

I don’t have a very good memory although I can tell you pretty much where every photograph I’ve ever taken over the last 18yrs as a professional, was taken. Photography is potentially a surrogate memory for me. I’d also say I don’t have a most memorable moment. There’s loads of them. The ones that are the most absurd are my favourite. I was a guidebook photographer at the start of my career and there were some extremes encountered while doing that, bizarrely, given what a safe form of photography guidebook stuff can be. As a visual storyteller I’d rather stick to looking outwards but here’s one for you: Nearly freezing to death in -34degrees while walking back to the town of Van from its nearby magical lake, being attacked by a dog and then being rescued incredibly slowly by a baker driving a milk float type vehicle. All while accidentally being out after dark in contravention of a curfew in eastern Turkey due to the current fighting between the police and the PKK. I ended up thawing out at a post-sundown Ramadan meal and finally being given a lift home by Gabriel Burn’s scary doppelgänger.

Tim Mitchell
Tim works as a photographer, artist and educator taking on photographic commissions, workshops and teaching within the UK. Often working collaboratively, his projects document our relationship with our surroundings.

[divider]Hannah Mornement[/divider]

I think the first time I saw my work in print.

Hannah Mornement
Originally a painter, Hannah Mornement is now a freelance documentary and reportage photographer, currently based in Brighton. Hannah has focused on people, places and humanitarian issues and has had over 10 years experience within the humanitarian and development sector.

[divider]Lucy Piper [/divider]

I really enjoyed working on my city farm story – Urban Utopia. I’m not a massive fan of London, but it was so great to meet and be welcomed in by so many people. It was the first project I really got stuck into and spent a lot of time on, and it was very rewarding to have created such a large body of work for the first time.

Lucy Piper
Editorial & Documentary Photographer based in South-west UK

[divider]Roberto Zampino [/divider]

being invited for lunch in a house in the Andes. It was memorable because for the first time after a month I had been accepted in the community.

Roberto Zampino
I am a Sicilian photographer and filmmaker. I have been based in Italy, Cyprus and London working as a freelance photographer, commercial and photography teacher.

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Not sure that there has been a single most memorable moment. I feel that every time I meet a new subject it is memorable moment.

Cinzia D'Ambrosi
Photojournalist and documentary photographer. My photography work is motivated by my desire to investigate, expose and stimulate public response seeking the potentials to change a path, to modify a legislation, to tell a story otherwise untold.
Cinzia D'Ambrosi