Finding your subject. How?
Increasingly, I'm finding the photography I look at mostly interests me aesthetically/artistically. On only one occasion have I actually thought "that is what I want to photograph" when looking at work.
The photographer in question made formal studies of intimate landscapes, but I've since realised that subjectively, it was his unique geology (often in exotic places) that interested me - which, as defeatist as it sounds, isn't something my part of the country is known for. I spent some time seeking out geological oddities - but only made odd pictures - and eventually became restless and disenchanted with the natural landscape altogether.
As some might have gathered from my previous threads, I'm caught between a rock (no pun intended) and a hard place photographically.
Since my move away from the natural scene I've been interested in the New Topographics and more modern work of that lineage - mostly large format colour.
I'm coming to the same painful conclusion; that this simply isn't my forte. It has only led to fruitless and empty aesthetic explorations. As mentioned in another thread, when looking at my recent negatives, I'm just thinking "what the hell did I SEE!?"
My subjective conflict, summed up, is essentially this:
In my heart of hearts I feel investigating the medium is what interests me ultimately - I don't mean endlessly playing with paper and chemicals, but work which is about photographic seeing. Think Kertesz, Callahan, Eggleston and Raymond Moore (for those Brits who are familiar). But then there's 'documentary style' work (think Walker Evans, Paul Strand's later work and Alec Soth as a modern example). This kind of photography has a certain nobility, a straightforward, direct and dare I say, humanitarian approach which attracts me - subjective seeing, yet artful in construct. I'll get some flak for this, but quite simply, I live in a lifeless place. I'm uninspired by what I see.
But how did you find your subject? Some, I'm assuming, will say they didn't think about it, that it was just intuition - but what if your intuition works against your better judgement!? What if it's wrong? By that I mean - leading to pictures only you understand or care about. I said in a recent post that making photographs to 'share' is a dead end, but what I do think is of absolute importance is connecting. For that, you have to find some striking universality in your subject. And I guess to find that, you have to be looking in places that you connect with. I'm still not sure I've found that. Where is it? :(
In short, do you ever feel like you're just making compositions, as opposed to photographs?