The Photographer’s Playbook by Aperture features photography assignments, as well as ideas, stories, and anecdotes from many of the world’s most talented photographers. Many of the assignments have an air of whimsy, but despite their seeming playfulness, they are a fundamental attempt to re-address the way we see photographs.

For the gallery opening and release of the book, Aperture assigned a select group of photographers to create work based off of their own assignments. We created a film with Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg around the premise of his quote in the book:

Eric William Carroll: Chicken
(Inspired by Jim Goldberg)

‘Choose a person, preferably a stranger, to make a portrait of. After securing their permission, begin photographing them. Ask them to try a few poses, move the camera around, suggest a different location. Never stop photographing. If/when the subject becomes visibly irritated, snap the shutter at an even faster pace. Fake technical problems to prolong the session for as long as possible. The only rule is that you cannot choose to stop photographing; the subject must tell you that they no longer wish to have any more pictures made. Bonus points for those who get a model release signed post-shoot.’

Our Role

Production · Edit · Finish

Project Overview

Robert Saunders is a 54 year old man residing in San Francisco’s rapidly changing Mission neighborhood, while surviving on on government-issued Supplemental Security Income. Every day of the week you can find Robert busking for change at the intersection directly below Goldberg’s studio. Over the years they’ve developed a casual bond and, coinciding with this assignment, we decided to get closer to Robert by spending a day shadowing him with wireless microphones and cameras.

As Goldberg snapped away on his Leica and conversed with Robert, we documented the intimate discourse as well as the entirety of Robert’s day out in the city. In post production, we weaved a poetic portrait of Robert, a resilient and sad man, contented with his lot in this American life.