In my college days – in Stockport, working at photography, early on, a question was asked by our tutor – “why are you obsessed with taking pictures?”
We all had to think…… ‘Obsessed’ seemed a bit strong.
If I don’t take pictures for any length of time, I start to feel out of sorts, a bit ‘antsy’, and restless – My other half has no thoughts whatsoever about taking photographs. He has a camera, yes, but hardly ever uses it. He’s quite normal, but doesn’t have the same drive that I do to make an image – in fact he has none at all…..
Yet, all of us who are photographers, who are driven and motivated, and have sacrificed money and time, and effort, and space in our homes for equipment and computers – maybe we are the ones who are just a bit crazy….. a bit ‘obsessed’.
But why do we spend so much time, and expend so much energy in making photographs?
Well, for me anyway, I feel almost compelled to share with other people the way that I see the world. I operate under the illusion (or maybe delusion) that other people might be just a bit interested in the way I see things, or imagine things.
It’s egotistical isn’t it, that photographers think that others will be interested in seeing how we see – and thinking that the way we see, is different to everyone else.
I look at work produced by other photographers, so that I can produce something that is different, so that they can look at my work and maybe produce something that is different – ad infinitum.
Which brings me nicely on to what other people hang on their walls.
In the good old days, when we were able to visit other people’s homes – remember those halcyon days – must be – well, over 12 weeks ago (ish) now…… I was always interested in what was hanging there.
I was in an office a while ago, and there was a picture on the wall of Scotland – Skye in fact, and what caught my eye, was that it was taken from a place I had been, and stood, and taken my own photo.
I mentioned later that I’d admired the picture, and was told that it had been taken by a friend of his, when they were on holiday together. He told me all about the trip, how much he’d enjoyed it, how he intended to go back as soon as it was possible to do so.
The way he described it – I could tell that the photograph meant an awful lot to him, and how much he enjoyed having it hanging there.
Being a bit of a picture person, I took another, better, closer, look – as a photographer would.
It was pixellated – and obviously an enlargement of a much smaller image, and the colours were a bit ‘off’. It had looked OK from 10 or 12 feet away, but once I got closer, I saw the flaws. I started to see it, not as a memory of a place visited, but as a flawed piece of work, yet for him, it was a beautiful picture that evoked a wonderful memory, thus showing the difference between how just two people can view an image. Double that, triple it, and then think of how many people look at your work, and think about how they view it.
It’s not all going to be the same way…. and sometimes we are lucky if ‘anyone’ likes what we are doing… good to experiment though isn’t it?
Have fun, stay alert! as the saying now goes…..