i like photography. i like it because it is ….. well …. easy. and accessible. and now that it’s mostly digital, it’s immediate as well. i like photography because it’s easily understood. it’s easily shared. but i don’t really think of it as an art.
years ago i had a roommate who was divorced and had two daughters. two darlings, at the time aged 6 and 4 years old. we did lots of stuff together. i was into film photography and shot with all manner of old cameras because i could not afford good stuff. i shot on box cameras, cheap polaroids from thrift stores, 110 cameras, disposable cameras. my main shooter was a 40 year old canonet rangefinder camera i had bought for 10 bucks. yeah. and sometimes when babysitting we’d go somewhere and i’d give the girls point and shoot cameras loaded with film and say – ‘go take pictures, try not to use flash’. and they would. and i was often so pleasantly surprised at the results when my film came back from the developers. my point was, these little girls could take perfectly fine pictures. it’s just the eye. we most of us can see the same beauties. some of us just can’t get over them as easy. and we feel compelled to record them.
that is really all i think i do. i like documenting my experience. i travel a lot and i notice a lot of things – and i’m not above burning the extra calories to snap some pictures of the things most any of us would notice, but only a few of us would bother to photograph. many times i’ve had someone say ‘i drive by that all the time, how cool!’. etc.
i don’t like contrived photography. that is to say, everything i take a picture of would exist entirely without my involvement. i like that. my photography really isn’t so much about me or my influence. it’s just the world as it is, sometimes. and not even so much as i see it – but just as i happen to find it. i don’t even think it’s ‘my photography’. you can share it, or have it. it’s ours.
that being said, i think contrived photography is probably the only real art to photography. knowing how to create an image from a few parts, making a portrait compelling through the manipulation of lighting, setting, scenario – that i don’t think i’m capable of and it’s that i think it takes a real craftsman to do. it’s just not my deal.
for me, photography is just about sharing experience. i don’t own it. just as if you were with me and i nudged you and said ‘look at that thing’ – i wouldn’t own the viewing of it, neither would you. we would both experience it and share it. that’s all. that’s just how i see it.
even this seems pretentious to type. i don’t think most photography is an art. i hope i don’t take myself seriously. i don’t want to become one of those guys who buys too much camera and thinks everything he snaps is somehow art. that just because they happened to be nearby when 1/500th of a second occurred, they somehow own that moment, or even the image. i know a couple of guys like that. they really seem like douche bags. it’s not like they painted the damn moment, just used a device to capture some light. meh…