Photography is a new means of expression in society. In a hundred years it has evolved to a state of being a primary visual force in our lives. ‘The present standard of visual expression in any field, painting, sculpture, architecture and especially the advertising arts, is nourishing by the visual food which the new photography provides.’ In the past it was the painter who brought the behaviour and expression of peoples to the surface of consciousness, today it is the photographer.
The infusion of personality into a photograph is basically the factor which renders it subject to emotional responses. That this is possible has been well illustrated by the old trick of using several photographers to photograph the same object. This always result in a varied range of approaches and technical manifestations, each one expressing a different impulse or subconscious energy stimulating its realization. In other words, this means the photographer’s individuality or self-identity works in varying degrees according to the degree of emotional contact with the subject matter.
Subject matter comes to you, you don’t go to it... Although I shoot extemporaneously a lot of the time, I prefer to have half a dozen shots in my mind. Probably I have seen them many times under different conditions and I have been thinking about them. The moment shall come when I shall go back to them and make the photographs.
Photography is a new means of expression in society. In a hundred years it has evolved to a state of being a primary visual force in our lives.
Theoretically the photographer has been possessed of an inferiority state; this has been created by the critics’ disdain. ‘But photography is not Art’ has been their loud utterance ever since they witnessed the first efforts of Daguerre and Talbot. The reflex of this scornful dismissal has been a tremendous survival action on the part of photographers to assert their egos and to beat the critics into the dust. Slowly, with sweat and tears, they have achieved this end; their efforts have been so enormous that they have almost overshot their mark and created a new aesthetic pertaining to photography alone, isolating it from the dogmas of pictorialism and professional picture painting. The boot is now on the other foot; photography is food and inspiration to the artist. Its influence on the futurist movement in Italy is a good example of this.
Dealing with architecture brings me very close to the state of mind required to make pictures. One also needs an old seeing eye, appropriate reflexes which embrace sensitive observations coupled with appropriate emotional responses.
One hopes that the new generation of photographers in Australia will graduate to the outdoors and make naturalness and spontaneity the underlying qualities of their work rather than a superficial pleasantness which characterizes so much of it today.