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Social Documentation

Aug 01

This week we have chosen 2 winner’s to win a Phlearn PRO. To the left is Sarah Allegra, and to the right we have Beata Rydén. We loved your photos so much, beautiful work. To get your Phlearn PRO please contact us here. Thanks so much everybody for your entries, and be sure to check out the CONTEST for this week (at the end of this post) to win a Phlearn PRO.

Social Documentation

By: Kate Rockhold

Some photographs take hours to produce – both with setting up the shoot, and editing. Photographers can spend all their time and effort into creating a powerful photograph. But sometimes, it’s nice to take a step back and take a photograph without any planning, and without any editing. Whether it’s vacation photos, or family photos, it’s nice to just shoot without all the planning. Shooting on a whim is something that I’ve recently gotten into. And, being a college student, something I really like to document are parties. I always bring my camera to parties and nights out, to document nights with my friends.

Trixie on the Cot, NYC, By Nan Goldin

I first got interested in party/social documentation because of Nan Goldin. When you look through her body of work, it’s almost as if you were there. The emotion in her subjects is so raw and powerful, it’s as if you know them. When I go through all of her photographs, I almost feel like I was with her during all these events.

French Chris at the Drive-In, N.J., By Nan Goldin

Goldin has documented everything – from crazy parties, to the morning after, and to more serious events, like friends in the hospital, and funerals. Goldin covered topics that the public doesn’t want to know about – the transsexual community, the AIDs crisis, and drug users. Her photographs were not pretty – they were honest photographs, showing what it was like to live in the fast lane.

While I don’t live a life remotely close to Goldin’s, I still manage to stumble into interesting scenes. I shoot with either my Polaroid One Step 600 camera, or the camera my mom used in college, a 35mm Canon point and shoot. The Polaroid photos have their own unique effect to them – they’re usually blurry, colorful, and have a crystallized pattern to them. There’s something about shooting, and then having the photograph in your hands, that I love about working with Polaroids. The fact that what you’re going to get is unpredictable, I also enjoy. Working with my mom’s 35mm is a little more predictable – I know the photos will always turn out. The camera creates high contrast, cool-tinted photographs. What I love about it, is that I’m using my mom’s college camera for my college experience. The aesthetics of the negatives look like they belong in the 1980s, when in reality they’re shot in the 2010s.

The Challenge:

This week Angela and I looked back on some of our party photos, to show you some of our favorites. Alright party people! This week, we’re looking for your best candid party photos! It can be from a crazy Christmas party, or a rocking birthday party, or just a fun BBQ. Please submit your image in the comments below for a chance to win a Phlearn PRO.  All submissions must be in by noon CST on August 8st.

Kate’s Results:

Beer Pong By Kate Rockhold

I chose a handful of party photos that I’ve taken over the past couple months. The photo above was from a trip I recently made to Santa Barbara, taken with my bulky Polaroid camera. Wow – the parties in Santa Barbara were crazy! Everywhere I turned there was something new to document. The above photo is of two students playing a popular drinking game. At the end of the night, I took a photo of the aftermath (see the first photo in the gallery below). The next three photos in the gallery are taken with my 35mm camera, and document a night in my hometown. I love capturing my friend’s (and some strangers) emotions and personality on film. Not only do the photos have fond memories of nights out with my best friends, but they also allow other viewers who don’t know them personally, to get to know them on a somewhat personal level.

Angela’s Results:

By Angela Butler

Photos in the moment can be so interesting. That unexpected click that no one in the room was anticipating, and in turn you capture something real, something raw, something awesome. In complete and total honesty though, I don’t always bring my camera out to a party. Mainly because when I party, I really party, and I worry for the well-being of my camera because of this. I’ve started to bring my point and shoot with me as of lately, but the photos featured here were taken with my DSLR in my first year of college, March 2011. This party in particular was a themed party I threw at my apartment in res (or as you Americans call it, dorms). It was themed off of a music video called German Sparkle Party. Give it a watch if you like, but I warn you, it is a very silly, crazy, messed up video. But because of that craziness me and my friends loved it, and decided to throw a party based completely and entirely off of that video. Everyone showed up in neon colored outfits, sparkles and jewels on their face, and massive rubber boots (for the line “yes I wore my rubber boots!” in the video). It was seriously one of the most memorable, and amazing parties I’ve ever had the pleasure to throw in my place of living. Everyone had a blast — it was a great evening! All of the photos I featured are from this party, and I’m so glad I documented that night. I actually have over 100 photos from the party, but I will spare you and only feature 5. I’m excited to see your party photos Phamily!!


Make sure to become part of the Phlearn Family on Facebook, conversate with us on Twitter, and #hashtag your Phlearn inspirations on Instagram. We want to know what the Phlearn community social chatter is about, and who is sharing it. You all keep us motivated to do our best.

  • Waf_67

    12:00am on January 1, 2012. Ringing in the New Years.

  • OK but not OK

    Kate, your cover image does not reflect the spirit of what I think of Aaron and Phlearn. This image only shows, in my opinion a personal hidden agenda that you are trying to convey to people that do not agree with your views. I am not against gay people but I think this is an “ON YOUR FACE” stance. This is my opinion alone. If you do not agree with me I respect you and I ask the same from you.

  • Artripoli
  • Kate Rockhold

    Thanks for your feedback; it’s always appreciated. I respect your opinion, and did not mean to push any personal agenda. This is merely an example of the article: a quick shot of a real-life party. Admittedly, it’s not something you see everyday, but in the style of Nan Goldin, sometimes photography makes us uncomfortable.

  • Mark Harless

    Had no place to stay and everyone too drunk to drive.

  • Mark Harless

    Had no place to stay and everyone was too drunk to drive.

  • James Brown

     It would seem that you do not know Aaron very well to come to this conclusion. It would also seem that you did not read the article as all of the photos posted on this page fit the discussion perfectly. I find it very strange how this can be misconstrued, and turned into anything other than a discussion on photography.

  • Berniharris

    Ah! the most fun kind of photos! ones you don’t think about! 

    It’s so hard to choose just one photo to post! All my party photos are shot with point and shoot film cameras and I have boxes and boxes full of them which i love but never know what to do with! 

    This photo was taken in tokyo on a visit to meet my long lost sister! This is a photo of one of the electro poptresses the trippple nipples.They totally know how to party!

  • Angel

    I took this at the USS Nicholas holiday ball. There was tons of military and tons of booze

  • Pingback: Removing Shadows Underneath Eyes

  • agustin

    Party at my house in New year!

  • Victoria Boulanger

    A show a while back!

  • Fanny Boucher

    Animal Halloween Party. Rrrraaaawwwrr!

  • Monsieur Horreur

    when was the last party you were at, bro?

  • eferryanto

    A day out on the lake before we all head off to our first year in college. 

  • Aaron Brown

    [ Porn and Chicken - Every Monday at Evil Olive in Chicago ]
    I definitely recommend that you girls check it out before your internship is over.


  • Sam Andrastek

    Here are my 5

  • Timmy Reynolds

    Just saying if your thinking this is a halloween party this was in April we kind of just felt like it love my friends

  • MichaelSantini

    99 Red Balloon Party and Mardi Gras Party

  • Rob Rice

    House party for my 24th birthday. Such a fun night full of dancing, wall of balloons, tramp, and close friends!!

  • Angela Butler ♔

    Sam, Kate and I loved your 4th shot! You are the winner of this week’s contest! Fill out this contact form to receive your Phlearn PRO. Awesome shots!!

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