Nonfiction Photography Workshop

Nonfiction Photography Workshop

Nonfiction photography (documentary) A group of people camp out for the New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. They have a streetside campfire and a ring of chairs around it.
Campfire on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, 31 December 2018, 11:11 pm

New Meetup: Nonfiction Photography

I’m thinking about launching a new Meetup: Nonfiction Photography Workshop. The focus would be on nonfiction forms of photography, like:

  • Photojournalism
  • Documentary
  • Street Photography
  • Sports, Music, etc

While the group might have the occasional Photowalk, I think that group photowalks are not that productive. A group landscape or architecture shoot might work fine, but I think for genres like Street Photography, you really need to be alone to do good work. So rather than focus on group photowalks as many Meetups do, we might let peeps shoot on their own, and then use the group for critiquing the work, both F2F and online.

The Power of Nonfiction

We live in a world of manufactured images. From Game of Thrones, to Kim Kardashian, to Donald Trump, to Victoria’s Secret, to your best friend’s perfectly Instagrammed life, we consume a daily diet of highly manufactured images. These images speak of hopes, dreams, fears, fantasies, and many other things. But they do not speak of life as it is actually lived. Manufactured images exploit the power of Photoshop and many other tools to create an impossible, hyperreal world.

Nonfiction Photography arguably does "less" by limiting the tools it uses and thereby tells us more about real life. Manufactured images are great for marketing, but they can leave us feeling inadequate and depressed. Nonfiction Photography celebrates the diversity of life and experience and helps us realize that we are not alone.


  • Projects (Photo stories, environmental portraits, 100 Strangers, etc)
  • Critique
  • Speakers
  • Information
  • Photo walks
  • Exchange forum for pro bono work

Nonfiction Photography Workshop

Instead of thinking of the Meetup as a series of one-off events, it might be nice to structure it as an informal course. Participants could come and go as their schedule & interest permit, but we might think in terms of 10-week sessions where we try to cover some ground and develop a new level of ability and insight into Nonfiction Photography.

Nonfiction Photography (photojournalism) two women stand in the street at the end of the 2018 LA Women's March. One holds a sign that reads "Babes against Bullshit" and the other holds a sigh that reads "We're not ovary-acting"
We’re not ovary-acting, LA Women’s March, 20 January 2018, 2:35 pm

Launch Event: LA Women’s March: Saturday 19 January

A great Nonfiction Photo opportunity to launch our group is the LA Women’s March coming up on Saturday 19 January 2019 from 8:30 am – 2 pm:

In the spirit of the Nonfiction Photography Workshop, instead of trying to meetup on the 19th and interacting with each other when we should be focusing on our photography, we will instead meetup the next morning, Sunday at 9 am. Grand Central Market has become so fashionable that it’s almost impossible to get a table there these days. But I’ve noticed that if you get there early, 9 am on Sunday morning, for example, there are plenty of tables.

  • Meetup 9 am Sunday 20 January ’19, Grand Central Market, tables near Broadway entrance to the Market

If you shot the Women’s March on Saturday, try to put 5 images on a tablet and bring it along for discussion. If you didn’t shoot, come anyway to meet and talk. Although our focus is critique and discussion, of course, you should still bring your camera, because you should never go anywhere without your camera! So look for people with cameras!



Seems ideal for coordinating F2F critiques & other events.


The Meetup Website/App don’t seem as ideal for OL discussions & critiques. Slack could work well here.


It’s easy for anyone to create their own Website, Instagram, or to publish their work in any other media of their choice. Still, some may like the opportunity to publish their work on a group site. Depending on levels of participation and interest, this could be a downstream project.

Nonfiction Photography Resources

Nonfiction Photography (street photography) photo of a woman in conversation with Batman on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
My friend Bruce, Hollywood Blvd., 5 May 2018, 6:34 pm

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