As photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs. Move on objects with your eye straight on, to the left, around on the right. Watch them grow large as they approach, group and regroup as you shift your position. Relationships gradually emerge and sometimes assert themselves with finality. And that's your picture.
Ambiguity may be the clue: there is the material, and there am I intruding my private intent. I know the imminence of the world and experience it with full sensuality; at the same time I am involved with the projection of myself as idea. Strong tensions are inevitable, pleasurable and disturbing. Is not the esthetic optimum order with the tensions continuing?
The start of a photograph is from a previous picture. There is no preconception, rather predisposition (which predisposition includes the camera, lenses and the film with me at the time). I will usually return to a familiar place or one that seems familiar. I stand still or move slowly, feeling things like the impulse of shapes, the direction of lines, the quality of surfaces. I frame with my eye (sometimes with my hands) as the ground glass would frame. Nothing that one could reasonably call thinking is taking place al this stage. The condition is total absorption; the decision (a picture) is spontaneous ... Ambiguity may be the clue, there is the material. and there am I intruding my private intent. I know the imminence of the world and experience it with full sensuality; at the same time I am involved with projection of myself as idea. Strong tensions are inevitable, pleasurable and disturbing. Is not the aesthetic optimum order with the tensions continuing?
First, and emphatically, I accept the flat plane of the picture surface as the primary frame of reference of the picture. The experience itself may be described as one of total absorption in the object. But the object serves only a personal need and the requirements of the picture. Thus, rocks are sculptured forms; a section of common decorated ironwork, springing rhythmic shapes; fragments of paper sticking to a wall, a conversation piece. And these forms, totems, masks, figures, shapes, images must finally take their place in the tonal field of the picture and strictly conform to their space environment. The object has entered the picture in a sense; it has been photographed directly. But it is often unrecognizable; for it has been removed from its original context, disassociated from its customary neighbors and forced into new relationships.
As the saying goes, we see in terms of our education. We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect. And indeed it is socially useful that we agree on the function of objects. But, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs. Move on objects with your eye straight on, to the left, around on the right. Watch them grow large as you approach, group and regroup as you shift your position. Relationships gradually emerge and sometimes assert themeselves with finality. And that’s your picture.
Producing a photographic document involves preparation in excess. There is first the examination of the idea of the project. Then the visits to the scene, the casual conversations, and more formal interviews - talking, and listening, and looking, looking. ... And finally, the pictures themselves, each one planned, talked, taken and examined in terms of the whole.
I may be wrong, but the essentially illustrative nature of most documentary photography, and the worship of the object per se in our best nature photography is not enough to satisfy the man of today, compounded as he is of Christ, Freud, Marx. The interior drama is the meaning of the exterior event. And each man is an essence and a symbol.