i guess it is like cheap "therapy" --- part of me feels that i am missing something, something that i can't put my finger on, something that makes me feel different isolated from others around me. maybe it is because of my grandparents' story - being forced to leave a place their ancestors lived for close to 2000 years. i know that is the story of a lot of people that come to this country - it is american dream, a promise of a better place. somehow, the photographs i take, lend some perspective into my own life. kind of like therapy i guess ? [/QUOTE]
I can see that, too. When I first started photography, B&W film photography to be more precise, it was very theraputic. It delt with my memories from my childhood, allowed me to go back to the places where I had been left off, and I was able to start from there. It's not that I was in need of some psychiatric care or anything, but back then I had a few friends who were occupational thrapists, and they told me about their goals in their practice, which I found similar to what I was getting out of.
Over the years, I've overcome certain emotions and no longer react to them so dramatically, but they are still there just like in the beginning. And that's part of what has helped create my vision today.
I don't discuss vision because "following your vision" has always seems a very arrogant and prescriptive way to do photography. The artist imposing their will on the world, if only by acts of selective memory.
I prefer to take a more experimental approach, and enjoy being surprised by the world's powers of invention, and my own ability to respond to them. I have no need to strive for a coherent portfolio, or to produce a body of work that is convincing as a whole. All the same, themes and modes of expression do run through my favourites file, and it is a pleasure to discover myself by identifying and nurturing them. Far more pleasure than playing the role I originally thought was mine by birthright.
I think the bottom line for me is to take direct action and have involvements in certain events. For example, last year, I did some disaster-relief volunteer work in Japan. That was due to too many hurricanes and too much damage to simply ignore, so I packed my stuff and headed out for a couple of weeks for each gig.
Initially half of my motive was to photograph what was going on at the site and come up with a series of documentary photos later, but soon after I arrived there, I got my hands all covered with dirt and mud and held a shovel instead of a camera. I failed as a photographer because, unlike those from the newspapers who managed to stay out and snap photos only when they wanted to, I was in the picture.
My attitude hasn't really changed over the years. Way back when I got involved in another volunteer work, an after-school program, helping so-called, "at-risk" children, I took a similar approach. My photos went nowhere, but I was rewarded as a dedicated volunteer worker by the city. That's how I was recognized, and that even made me think to start my career as a social worker for a short while.
But there was an enormous amout of trust that these kids, their parents, the neigbors, the teachers, and the social workers who ran the place, had in me. We developed our relationship over the course of six months while I was there. When they gave me an opportunity to have a small exhibit at an event before my departure and talked about the half-permanent photo display on the wall, I was really pleased.
My point is, for what it takes to have people allowing you to take their photographs, you may have to do a lot of ground work. Maybe it's just obvious and not so philosophical or sophisticated. But when I look at hundreds of photographs in the relavant themes presented by other photographers, I know why I'm doing with my own method, that is to keep my point of view as a photographer. That is a significant part of my vision I can define.
I photograph to document reality, partially because I want to document my memories as well. With my black and white I want to channel Henri Cartier Bresson at my take on artisitc black and white shots. I also want to leave behind long after I am gone something for future historians to show how we lived in the early 21st century. I think digital format be it pictures and sound will be cursed due to incompatable storage technology, very little will be left behind. That should be part of our mission too document the now for the future.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
Photography came to me as a language. A way to express my feelings when confronted to a subject that attracted me. But the attraction came via the light that illuminated the subject. So I had to reccord the light. Actually I feel like a descendant if the impressionist painters, in mind ofcorse.
Photography is my writing (with light...), the reccord of my wondering about the world arround me. But I happen to select, unconsiencely, I am attracted to the forms of nature (not the birds, beasts and bees) but a tree or a rock or water..., the 'material' and the texture.
My pupicturesr an response on the world araround me, as I am living in a rather big cicity, the silence of nature is a welcome compensation.
As a dislecticus, written langugae is not my thing, light is it!
Just like spelling, phototechnique is usefull in expressing. It is like the camera is the pencil, no more no less. But like manny 'writers' I happen to like one 'pencil' more than the other. That is when a camera becoms an tool.
The hand (head and belly) and the purpose (job or subject) dictates the selection of the 'best' tool. The seem for film and paper.
P.S. Sorry for my pigeon English.
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For me, pictures scream to be taken. I don't express myself, I just stop their cries.