MUSINGS & MISCELLANY
It is interesting to look back at work one has done some years ago and the thoughts that have accompanied it. I have written very little about it, mainly due to the belief (contested, I know) that images speak for themselves. I have not changed my mind regarding this and continue to rebel against the pressure on all photographers, regardless of the genre they work in, to explain their images and/or to tell stories through them. For documentary work text and context are indeed crucial, but photography isn’t only there to provide a visual record of a person, place or event. On its own, an image has the potential of opening up experiences that reach beyond words or concepts.
Photographs are very different to paintings, they do however share the fact that they are images or pictures. Gerhard Richter, whose artistic output often uses, simulates or plays with the perception of the photographic image, once stated:
"A picture presents itself as the unmanageable, the illogical, the meaningless. It demonstrates the endless multiplicity of aspects; it takes away our certainty… It shows us the thing in all the manifold significance and infinite variety that preclude the emergence of any single meaning and view." Notes, 1964-65, Gerhard Richter: Text, Writings, Interviews and Letters 1961-2007, Thames & Hudson, London 2009
Like music or dance, photography has its own language. Using this visual language I am, with each image, somehow trying to build a particular bridge between the external world, myself and any fellow human being who cares to engage and look. Once there, the bridge can be crossed from both ends, it can be observed in part or as a whole, from below or above, crossed half-way or not at all. I cannot control the bridge, nor wish to, I do not own it. And the key for me is that each one of them depends entirely on the external physical world and my being receptive and tuned into it when wandering through streets and alleys, just as all the flaneurs with cameras have done before me.
Looking into Urban Parallels, my very first self-published book, I see on its frontispiece a quote by Dorothea Lange, which still resonates with me:
“To know ahead of time what you are looking for means that you are then only photographing your own preconceptions, which is very limiting.”
And there is another quote:
“I look outside myself and the tree inside me grows” Rainer Maria Rilke