Sunday, 11 September 2011

Does your photography reflect your passions or the world you live in or both?

Last Friday, I set up my photography exhibition as part of the NEOS 2011 exhibition alongside fellow photographers from Deeside Camera Club. There was a real eclectic mix of styles and range of subjects - a healthy, interesting selection.
I've heard it say that the pictures you take of subjects that interest you are nearly always better than trying to make interesting pictures. Abandoned communities in the area where I live interests me. These images are becoming my most viewed, most talked about and most lucrative aspect of my work.

Exhibiting alongside some of your peers can also let you see how your images come across to the viewer. I was emotionally taken by the work of Lucy Telford who uses old cameras, 'toy' cameras, homemade cameras or no camera at all. I loved them. It got me thinking. What do my and my fellow photographer's pictures say about the world today? Should they say anything about the world we live in? What if your interest say nothing about the world you live in? Does it matter?
Today is the 10th anniversary of 9/11. There is much reflection and consideration of the actions taken since then. Have photographers represented, recorded, reacted and reflected the last 10 years?

To help me answer that question, I listened to Jeff Curto's class on 'The Atomic Age and New Frontiers' which looked at the work of photographers and artists who worked in the changing world after the dropping of the atomic bomb and the post war world. This was a world of abstract expressionism, be-bop jazz, anti-communism, rock 'n' roll, beat generation poets, civil rights, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War and growing mass media.
Having looked at some of the photographers in Jeff's talk, I personally think the images reflect the photographer's passions and interests that have been used, if that's the correct word, to reflect the times by others. Some photographers have documented their world, some have picked up on the mood of the times and others have used the technology and media of the time. It all adds up to a great and exciting body of work.

Take a look at this selection and ask - 'do they reflect those post WW2 changing times?'

Aaron Siskind:

Frederick Sommer:


Lucy Telford said...

Interesting stuff James. I suppose that we can't help but be influenced by the world around us and our position in it. Personally, I don't set out to comment on 2011 but maybe my eschewing of digital technology etc is comment enough? I confess that I haven't thought about this before but will now. Some great photographers you have included here :-)

James Dyas Davidson said...

Thanks Lucy. I know what I would like to shoot which reflects the world I live in but when I try it can often look ugly or mundane or so commonplace that I wonder why I'm doing it. Still a challenge, surprisingly.

Fredrik said...

Hehe...that last one was cool!