May 24, 2018
What makes a photographer follow their moral compass and photograph the stories they feel need to be told, no matter what the personal costs? Furthermore, how do they do so without the support of a news outlet or even an agency to distribute that work? And then, what if they decide to shoot primarily with black-and-white film?!
On today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, we speak with Greg Constantine, who made and continues to make these decisions. In this affable conversation, we find out what prompted Constantine to pick up a camera and how he made the subject of “statelessness” a recurring theme in his work. We also learn why he continued to shoot film, even after digital became the more affordable and accepted format, and why the more established route of assignments for news outlets was not the best path for his storytelling. We also discuss the financing of his work through a combination of grants, commissions, and out-of-pocket spending, the obstacles to exhibiting documentary photography, and ultimately, the satisfaction of seeing the positive impact his work has had.
As mentioned, Constantine’s work documents oppressed communities, and he has lived and traveled extensively in Asia and, more recently in Europe, to follow stories of migration and persecution. Specifically, he has worked in Burma with the Rohingya people, with the Nubians in Kenya, and with communities around the world that live without the basic right of citizenship. His current project, Seven Doors, has brought him back to his home country to document stories on immigration detention.
Constantine’s work ultimately did make it into well-recognized newspapers. He has published books and won awards, and his work has been exhibited in the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building, but he continues to press forward—guided not by credit lines, but by the desire to grow as a photographer, to be inspired by the people he photographs, and to tell the stories that demand to be told. Join us for this inspiring conversation.
Guest: Greg Constantine
Photograph: Greg Constantine