Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Do Photographers shoot for other Photographers?
That's what I am wondering. Or put a different way, does it take a photographer to recognise what is going on in an image and look a bit deeper? And does that matter? I have been taking pictures long enough now to make it very hard to disengage my viewpoint. I become an instant critic - whether that be good or bad. I critique and I don't even know I am doing it. I would really like to get back to looking at a picture with fresh eyes, the same way a child produces a painting that they could never recreate as an adult.
I see the light, the composition the impact and effect it has on me. It's a bit like my curse as a drummer: when I listen to music it's the drums I hear first followed by the bass. And maybe percussion if there is any. It takes a while to hear the whole band. It's a switch that cannot be turned off no matter how hard I try. It's been hard wired into me.
But I know that people who don't take pictures, or at least, don't take pictures on as regular a basis, see very different things. Fans of cycling see the rider's brand of shoes, helmet, the way he wears his knee warmers, the colour of his sunglass frames before they look at The Picture. I think the picture hits them but in a very different way. Like it takes me a long time to pick up song lyrics. Never at the first listen.
The point of being a working photographer is to make money from one's images but I do wonder how big the market is for buyers of imagery shot a little bit out of the box to what is the norm. This was brought about by watching a video of a recent downhill race posted over on Twitface. There was nothing new, nothing that challenged the viewer. The format is a clip of the rider with his name on screen and then onto the next rider with his name on screen. The seminal freestyle motocross video Crusty Demons of Dirt broke that ground way back in the early 90s. And yet On Any Sunday still remains the more satisfying watch.
In the stills game it is similar. Despite what the comments say, I don't find it particularly 'awesome'. When a photographer picks up a camera and produces something like Lifecycles then I pay attention. Nothing to do with budget, all to do with ideas. Approaching the subject matter from a different direction. Making a new statement. Documentary can be still be art. It doesn't have to be a 100 riders all shot with the same light set up in the same spot. Is that a personal challenge? Only when it is cold and wet! Or maybe you think differently? Then let me know.