Photographer – storyteller or history writer?
I think it is a little of both, a photographer is both a story teller and someone who sets history in the images that they make. There is a little fact and fiction in every photograph through the choices made by the photographer in what to include and what to leave out of the frame. These choices are important too, and can decide whether what we are seeing is a truth or a fantasy. Eggleston appears to pick up on colour in objects, (although I am looking at them online where the screen brightens all the images in a way that may not be right in their place.) and has the implied presence of people. Wentworth appears to have no people but still the implied recent activity of people.
Personally, Fact or fiction?
I suppose that my approach is more that of fact, of wanting to represent something that I see in the way I see it. I am, to all intents and purposes, a snapper of things that catch my eye rather than a serious photographer. But I can see that on certain occasions, the angle of a particular shot could be tending toward the fiction as I consciously crop out something that may spoil the frame, ie a person, a rubbish bin, a car passing through, someone crossing the path and so on. So a phot of a wide open space may in fact be just one small part of a place that is teeming with people. An example springs to mind from when I went to Washington DC in the USA and I visited the Lincoln Memorial. One photo I have is of the monument with no-one around it – I zoomed a little to isolate the monument and waited for that moment when no-one else was nearby. The next one is the wider angle with lots of people as it was a really busy day.
How could you blend your approach?
Maybe doing what I did at the Lincoln Memorial, wait more for a better moment and move to change perspective. I am very good at standing still rather than move around. I enjoy snapping things that I see, such as a lock where someone put two round stickers to look like eyes. Or graffiti that is colourful or in an unusual place. Visiting cities and new places means a different look at life so It is important to look beyond the usual things that visitors will capture. Look further and wider, look behind me, and find another view of a place that I don’t know. For other subjects, the same approach can work – step back, think, watch, see and then capture.
Where is the departure from wanting/needing to depict reality?
I think that when you stop and start to look around you rather than reacting instinctively then that can be the departure point. Travelling and visiting other places away from home is an opportunity to try a new way of photographing what I see. It is my natural instinct to capture what I see. I find it difficult not to do that.