Monday, 25 November 2013

In Two Minds (Both my own)

I find myself discussing with myself all aspects of photography. This may appear a little confusing and like playing oneself at chess. An impossible pursuit as one always knows the opponents next move and will result in stalemate on every occasion. These discussions are wide ranging and move from the self doubt of why am engaging with photography to issues relating to technique, style, lack of coherent thoughts and a suspicion that I am a Luddite masquerading with a digital camera when I aught to be basing my work entirely on that of the 19th century. Atget, Strand, Weston, Edwin Smith and others all have made images within a style and genre that attract me and I have the need to make similar work. I am may of course just be caught up in the nostalgia of those times. A simpler way of life where pointing the camera at oneself was called a self portrait and society didn't consider it necessary to invent a new word (Selfie) and were content. So I know the photographers I feel an empathy with but on the other hand I feel I should be having the same feelings for 21st century street photographers and some of the so called modern masters such as Martin Parr, who for instance I find most unremarkable. This irreverence to a member of Magnum is almost heresy but I find it very difficult to engage with his work and the man ( who I have only seen on television) and maybe that will change one day. My question then is should I bother to research work that I have no connection with or to pursue it with a vengeance and make myself enjoy it. Do we have to engage with all photography ?.

Another dichotomy to deal with at the moment is the need to understand how and where PWDP is helping me with professional practice. On the one hand I fully appreciate that there is a need to apply certain academic standards and this requires a body of work that has taken 600+ hours to complete. On the other hand my experience of preparing work for customers is that the amount of time available is much less and after a simple Scope Document (maybe just an email) the work has to be performed very quickly, and by implication to a budget. I add this comment only as a note and fully realise that I will have to spend more time in the future to elaborate on (and publish here) the Ideas and Concepts that I am taking with me when working. They exist and I hope the work I make demonstrates this but without writing it down I am aware of the shortcomings.


  1. I don't think you can necessarily make yourself enjoy some arbitrary piece of photography but in general by engaging with new material and developing an understanding of that material it will inform and so change your own work. The question of whether you like something or not can almost be irrelevant to the ability to critically appraise that work.

  2. Thank you Duncan, the voice of reason. I just feel so caught up in not knowing what influences me and what doesnt.