A few days ago I would most certainly have written something different from what follows.
But that was before I watched a documentary film about one of the leading American art photographers of the 20th Century. His name ~ Paul Strand.
There were few words recorded in his voice but of photographers he said this:
“In order to be a photographer you must have something you want to say about the world.”
I think he’s right, and that this bleeds over into the ability to create and sell successful images.
This is why Bill Eggleston was a successful photographer whose photographs of the mundane sold well as limited editions, and he was frequently commissioned to record the details of factory plants for the likes of Cocoa Cola and the Getty Museum. Nearer to my own heritage it’s also why the work of Charlie Waite is popular. He too has a unique eye.
Lately I’ve been making some portraits of young people for a school yearbook. The normal way to do this is for hundreds of sitters to form a line and be photographed under a standard set up in a few seconds.
The results are invariably unmemorable.
Group shots tend to be predictable and lifeless when shot by bored photographers who have seen it all before. What happens is that they lose their ‘eye’, which is an industrial disease affecting photographers and related to other forms of alienation in other disciplines.
Pictures of young people need action, with something of the style of old-time record sleeves.
More to come . . .