26 Feb 2019

the day the earth

The sun's splitting the stones in London and I'm torn. Sun is the prime ingredient of my photography. So what's the problem? It's February and I'm out on the streets, a month ahead of schedule. That's the problem. 
I confess I'm already uncomfortable with the environmental impact of using film. Now I'm facing up to fact I'm literally fiddling while the world burns. Movies set in the future but made in sixties had a big impression on me, especially, no surprises, ones set in London.
Now I'm wondering if my work is becoming more like a nature documentary. The sun is so strong yet still low in the sky. Shadows are still relatively cold. People wear sunglasses, shorts...and scarves. We're in the headlights. Transfixed by the sun, knowing the danger but compelled to stare. 
London 2019
Oh yes and London had a high pollution alert today. Apart from the risks posed by couriers, security guards and manhole covers I do wonder if particulate exposure is an occupational health hazard of street photography. That's if the sun doesn't get us first.. 
Stay safe. 


5 Feb 2019

the unbelievable truth

I'm trying to develop my ideas around New Europe so when I saw an event billed as Experiencing Europe: Borderless Artists I had to go. 
It was really rewarding in ways I didn't expect. Elisa Perrigueur described the motivation behind her powerful illustrations of refugees seeking to enter mainland Europe and the UK was to find a better way of describing her experiences than through her primary role as a journalist. The practice of photojournalism is well known but Perrigeur deliberately didn't choose this medium. Illustration as an art form without any obligation to be faithful to reality, visually at least, gave her the liberty to tell her own story.
Borderless Artists talk
For me it illuminated a topical debate about truth and photography. It's easy to say we're at the point now where it seems na├»ve to put both those words in the same sentence. As well as the ease and sophistication with which images can be manipulated, there is a broader cynicism about any attempt to document real life in words or in pictures. 
For those taking pictures on the street it's an even more contentious topic and the preservation of an unadulterated decisive moment an article of faith for many. Using film my only involvement with post production is scanning prints to publish on my website so my opportunity - and interest - in any manipulation is minimal. My interest in this topic has always been around context and the caption in particular which can be a far more powerful way that the viewer can be misdirected
All of which brings me back round to thoughts on my own work. Apologies for the tangents but hey it's why I blog. I've never used captions on my work - well OK then, maybe Untitled once in a while - but inevitably any kind of titling of a collection or a book certainly leads the viewer towards a particular interpretation of the related photographs. In the past these have been more around their compositional relationships.
Distance Between Us spread
Distance Between Us spread
That technique will certainly be a factor in the New Europe zine but I'm looking at another strand to help tell my story. Will it be purely how I sequence and layout the images or are there are other techniques I can use. Introducing other media as I've done before in Portrait of a Street Photographer? Perhaps different sorts or paper to give a more tactile impression? Or is now the opportunity to use augmented reality to really engage the senses? 
Well that was fun. Thanks for reading.