The topic for this first week was that common metaphor of photography being both a window on the world outside of our own environment (and experience) but also a mirror which projects itself on the sights and objects around us.
For me I think historically I have always used my photography as a window on the world around me and have occasionally used windows to frame images such as the one below which was taken in 2021 at the abandoned Dinorwic Slate Quarry in Llanberis, North Wales.
Part of my rationale for studying this program was to widen my understanding of photography and the mirror analogy is a good example for me of an alternative way of looking at the images that I produce especially as I move away from single images towards creating bodies of work which articulate a visual story.
I am very much drawn to photographing people as I enjoy the interaction and building a repour with whoever I am photographing be that a brief encounter comprising a single image or a longer set of images for example from a fashion or music shoot. I have always considered that photographing people is about representing how they look and act and the context within which the image was taken. I had never considered that the very act of taking a photograph of a person allow me the photographer to see them in a way that they don’t see themselves and never have or will. (Ibid:14 Topic 1 notes J Alexander). That brings a set of ethical and moral obligations onto the photographer.
An interesting question posed to be answered as part of this reflective post is “what is my motivation for Photography” which is a challenging and thought-provoking question and one that in my years of taking photographs I have never really considered! I like the technical challenge of taking images that are technically correct and appeal to an audience whether family and friends, followers on Facebook or Instagram or occasionally in publications. Is there a narrow focus of these images, not all they cover people, fashion and model images, documentary style images of people and events, transport (trains and traction engines!) and landscapes…animals especially big cats! Almost anything that isn’t inanimate (trains & traction engines have a personality!) but I do need to focus on a genre or subject and develop my creative and artistic story telling.
However to answer what is my motivation I think it is partly about being an inherent archivist and want to record things that I see and experience and partly to tell a story, I do the first well I think the second less so but its improving since setting out to (hopefully) gain my ARPS this year I’ve started to see the narrative in images and to be able to build a small but coherent body of work which tells a story!