Art apes reality?
‘Everybody starts off with the most essential quality of a good photographer – honesty to himself. A mother taking pictures of a baby on a beach with a box Brownie has this honesty. No illusions, no pretensions. She is not trying to be arty or clever. She photographs what she likes, simply and directly. All photographers start off with this honesty but most unfortunately lose it as soon as they attempt to become a “better” photographer. Their integrity is swamped by gimmickry and the control of technique. Too often photographers aim for visual effect. Pure boredom. They should forget about being conscious of composition and attempt to be more conscious of feeling. Good photographs come from a photographer having a genuine feeling towards a subject and a desire to record it. If you photograph something that really interests you in a direct and simple way it is a fair bet that your pictures will be more significant.’
I know that I am out of step with most of the photography I see or read about on the net, but I think that David Hurn summed up what makes the whole business interesting to me in this quotation. Photography’s one great strength is the representation of what is in front of the lens. Of course it’s not impartial or even ‘truth’, but it it is representation. For me, an interest in the subject makes it worth taking photos and an interest in and a care for the subject prevents me from making the photo into something else. The image serves reality rather than reality existing for the sake of the image (my art!).