Monday, September 29, 2014


One of the things you do as a photographer — you stare.

You stare at a single point until you feel yourself beginning to disintegrate and disappear.

'The self of solipsism shrinks to a point of no extension, and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it' (Wittgenstein Tractatus).

Maybe I was subliminally influenced by horror movies like 'The Ring' (2002) and 'Kill List' (2011). An image can have a healing effect. Like a mandala. It can also be toxic — even life threatening — in the hypnotic spell that it casts upon the viewer.

Why look for these images? What's the point? I am not looking for them. They catch me unawares. They pull me in.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Point and shoot

I am trying to see where this is going. It's what photographers do. You stare at your images, trying to see a pattern — or a point.

For me, it's about the Metaphysics of the Photograph, uncovering something hidden amongst ordinary appearances — but what? An appearance. Just like the others, and yet different, somehow. Something ordinary which acquires the attributes of the extraordinary.

Like Edward Weston's peppers. Except — as I noted in my talk — Weston is looking for, commenting upon, visual beauty whereas I am not. For me, it is more about making ordinary objects speak, giving them a voice. Human beings are just part of the landscape. It is the background, the context, that 'speaks'.

Taking a cue from the Lomography crowd, I've gravitated towards plastic 'point and shoot' cameras. It is easier to pass through the human landscape unnoticed. Every one is waving around an iPhone these days, taking 'selfies' or images of their latest purchase to upload on Facebook.

You can photograph anything that moves — or that stays still. My new philosophy. Don't think too hard about it. But then again, do take care. But quickly. Focusing takes too long, so autofocus takes care of that. Ditto light meter reading. An electric winder takes away the last bit of effort. Keep your finger poised over the shutter release. The only thing that matters is the frame. And you must look.

The last image disturbs me. Maybe a plastic cam gives the photographer too much power. The woman (she looks Vietnamese) was preoccupied with a misbehaving child, who doesn't appear in the photograph. I don't think she even noticed that I'd taken the shot (from the chest — no time to raise the camera to the eye). But it looks as if something is threatening her. The viewer is reminded of war photographs from the 60s/70s.