So why do you bother?

Posted on 21/05/2017 by Admin under Uncategorized
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I was at an Exhibition in Bradford yesterday for the recent BBC4 series on the history of photography:

It got me thinking.  We are taking more photgraphs than ever before.  But we hardly ever print them or put them in albums to keep. We forget all about them…until Facebook reminds us with a ‘3 years ago today…’ memory.  Snapchat takes this impermanence to extremes.

But if we printed our photos like our parents did it would be a disaster for the environment:—but-what-are-they-doing-to/

Maybe we just want to take photos as ‘evidence’ that we were there (or that we were with the Danish PM at Mandela’s memorial service):

But if that were the case, why do we want to learn how to take better photos? Why do we want a better camera when the one we have is generally fine?

Susan Sontag believed that we took photos to overcome our guilt and shyness – hiding behind it while intruding into the lives of the natives on holiday.  We would never stare at people like that – without hardly talking to them – unless we had a camera.  And having a ‘job’ of taking holiday snaps temporarily filled the guilt where the 9-5 job would normally occupy our minds.

I take photographs to explore myself in slices of 1/125th of a second.  Each time I pick the camera up I’m looking into an imaginary mirror:

  • Why do i find that thing appealing, unusual or beautiful?
  • Do I have the skills to make this camera ‘say’ what I’m actually thinking?
  • Given that, at one level every photo is therefore a self portrait, how much of my soul am I exposing when I show this photo to others? What if they think the photo is rubbish?
When we look at photography like this, perhaps it takes a lot more of your courage to put a photo on Instagram for the public to examine, instead of being hidden in Grandma’s family album.  Well done!


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