A great deal can be learned in two years, according to Denver-based photojournalist, Rick Wilking.
Wilking discusses a photo documentary that he began shooting in 2010, “Obesity in America," on the Reuters Photographers Blog.
Here are some reasons why photography projects can--and sometimes should--take time, according to Wilking:
Gaining access to subjects: Wilking discusses the legal hurdles that can sometimes cause a project to stagnate before it can be put into motion. In his case, it was the “various permissions from individuals and institutions and working through the convoluted American HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) that protects patient privacy” that postponed his project.
Getting a grasp on complex topics: Even more difficult than getting through the red tape, Wilking said, was developing a sound understanding of the subject—a process that occurred over the span of two years. Since beginning in 2010, Wilking has researched topics including the impact obesity on childbirth, obesity in reality television and measures being taken by schools and hospitals to combat youth obesity.
Tracking a long-term story: The journey of a Jazmine and Veronica Raygoza, a mother and daughter who both received bariatric surgery, yielded some of the project’s most rewarding work, Wilking said. “I’ve been covering them consistently from the days before Jazmine’s surgery, through her procedure, and post-surgery life with gym workouts, learning exercises with other bariatric patients and just hanging out with friends watching her get thinner,” Wilking said.
You can read the entire blog post here.