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What is my opinion of modern photography?

7 March 2018

One answer to the question is that we live in a blessed age where there are countless styles of current (i.e. modern) photography that we can make, study, enjoy, dislike etc.

I think what is meant by the question however is – what do I think of highly conceptual photography, and hybrid photography where other art forms are also incorporated? These can, perhaps, be considered the essence of modern photography. Together, of course, with the tidal-wave of ubiquitous mobile-phone photography.

I struggle to be interested in, let alone enjoy, much of modern conceptual and hybrid photography. I find it to be too cerebral, too left-brain, too ‘clever’. I like photography that stirs emotions, and that implies a narrative – photography that touches me. So much of the modern style appears to lack meaning or any sort of feeling.

As for the mobile-phone photography addiction, I largely fail to understand if, and when, and why the vast majority of these images will ever be looked at or at best they will be looked at only once. “I was there, I saw nothing, but I got a photograph of it, which I then posted.” Getting ‘likes’ validate my existence, my identity, and my popularity perhaps? Hmm – I don’t think so.

Do you think there are better and worse environments to take photographs?

7 March 2018

My first response is that there are photographs everywhere in every environment if one looks.

Having said this I do believe that some environments provide better or worse opportunities for photography.

Familiarity of location can make it much more difficult to find photographs. The ‘known’ can deaden the attention and focus is often harder. The corollary is that new and unexplored locations often provide a wealth of photo opportunities through the stimulus of the newness and unexpectedness of everything.

For street photography, which is one of my particular loves, more crowded places and busy times of the day often provide more opportunities. But then again the lone person in an empty street, or indeed a completely empty street can be equally rich in opportunity.

I am reasonably bold as a photographer and will go into most places to take photographs. But there are environments that are either sufficiently dangerous or sufficiently intimate that I would at least think twice before venturing too far with my photography. In an edgy location I am always attentive to whether there are any ‘bad guys’ around that might do me harm or make off with my camera equipment.

My fundamental answer to the question as to whether there are better and worse environments for photography is that the photographer must find inspiration in wherever they are photographing. When the stimulation is there the photo opportunities will be more obvious.