Podcast: Taking the Long View—Social Documentary Projects02/10/2017
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we discuss long-term documentary projects, particularly those that deal with immigration and social issues. Both of our guests are currently working on projects that span several years, and we talk about the commitment, the technique, the goals, and the gear that go into their work.
Our first guest is Griselda San Martin, a Spanish photographer who has been telling stories of immigration, deportation, and the often-blurred lines of national identity. One of her series profiles Las Delfinas, a girl’s flag-football team from a high school, in Tijuana, Mexico. Her project on families who meet on both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border wall for weekly reunions centers on a deported man who sings through the wall to his daughter on the other side, and her current four-year project profiles U.S. veterans being deported as a consequence of criminal convictions.
After a break, we speak with Salwan Georges, a staff photographer for the Detroit Free Press who, in addition to his daily assignments, is documenting the immigrant communities of Dearborn and Detroit, Michigan. This is a subject close to his heart—Georges came to the United States as a refugee, in 2004.
With San Martin and Georges, we talk about the practical aspects of their work, from camera choices to raising funds to simply making time for the work. We also discuss communication, establishing trust with subjects and the inspiration and goals for their projects. Finally, because both photographers incorporate video into their work, we ask if there is a limit to what a still photo enables them to say.
Guests: Griselda San Martin and Salwan Georges
Host: Allan Weitz
Senior Creative Producer: John Harris
Producer: Jason Tables
Executive Producer: Lawrence Neves