I’d never really considered writing about photography, but once I started, I’ve found it really interesting to examine my own and others’ work. A bit of reflection is no bad thing. My hope is to be able to find new techniques that will help me and others on the photographic journey. You'll be hearing from me once a week, come rain or shine.
I thought I'd start with a bit of background. I've always loved photographs and felt the power of images. They affected me the same way music gives me an emotional resonance and great paintings leave me with a sense of awe. I had taken pictures when I was younger and when I found some of these recently, I can see some re-occurring themes (notably, no random people in the shot and perhaps a certain sense of isolation).
Then, from my mid-twenties to my early forties, I didn't really take any pictures. I certainly stopped using the Ricoh that my father had bought me by the late 1990s. It was only when I was travelling for my work with Phaidon Press that it (re)occurred to me to take pictures; something – and please excuse the pun – clicked. As a gradually refined my eye for images again, the images got better. Concurrently, I focused more on the quality of each image rather than their potential to get ‘likes’ online.
The really great thing was that as I became more conscientious and developed my style, people would reach out to me with responses – real and often unexpected responses – to my pictures. It was so interesting to engage with people’s reactions, discovering aspects of your own images that you may not have even noticed, seen through another’s eyes. And those interactions led to my first commission, a portrait session that eventually led to an exhibition (the one I talk about in the video).
I guess I'm saying all this because sometimes we're told we have to follow a certain route, a prescribed path. I'm not so sure. Indeed, I feel like I have taken a circuitous route to where I am now. And the journey – however unconventional it may have been – has been well worth it.
See you next week.