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Coming unstuck

Photographs are interesting things - at their best they remind us of things we have loved, they journal events and capture important moments, they challenge us to view the world a little differently. At their worst they foster competitiveness, insecurity and fears. By virtue of our smartphones we have all become photographers, all of the time.

Highland cow

It is human nature to like to be liked or valued and so, as a natural extension of our photo taking, we share images for entertainment and for feedback. Invariably criticism is received negatively (even when well intentioned) as, along with us all becoming photographers, we have also all become critics. Have you noticed recently that everyone has an opinion on everything (and, there you go, me having an opinion!)? The point is, has removing the barrier to photography (virtually everyone owning a camera phone), helped or hindered - have we lost our way with photography or is the visual art evolving?

Californian Quail

I think that photography should be about taking how I have ‘seen’ the world and replicating it so that others can see what I have seen (or not, if they are not interested!). If we are chasing ‘likes’ this then becomes about taking something we have seen and replicating it in a way that is either going to be highly popular or highly shocking. The authenticity of the photographic process has been compromised; and, when you compromise the authenticity of the process you also compromise the truth of the story that the photograph seeks to represent.

There is nothing wrong with sharing and enjoying photographs on social media (I do!); for me it is about posting images that are authentic to who I am as a photographer and where I am on my photographic journey.

When I ‘follow’ people (interesting term - this doesn’t mean copy) it is because the way that they tell their story interests or intrigues me. From now on I am going to ask “who interests you” instead rather than “who do you follow”?


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