Kids at Pigu. South Bougainville 2009

The chance to see things, to be invited to see them, to go and ask permission to see them. Often an undertaking that is at times far more challenging and requires more consideration than deciding where to plant your feet and when to push the button.

The ‘subject as participant’ is inherently a vital part of the social documentary projects that I am working on (a ‘title’ for the work that I hesitate to use, but often need to give as some sort of description). The pictures simply wouldn’t come about without the people in them allowing me to be present and actively snapping. I am not much good at ‘blending in’, I don’t work as a ‘fly on the wall’, and probably lack the spine to hammer away anonymously like Winogrand.

Most of my photographs are not spot-news single pictures. Unfortunately I seem to chase things that require images to build across the body of work, and subsequently must spend the time standing there, as the only way to make the photographs is to be present. While someone will no doubt blow a hole in that with references (guaranteed), it is the manner in which I work at the moment.

Now this scribble is not made to complain about the methadology. It is probably in celebration of it, as the time (and plenty of it) spent in discussion, trying to describe what you are intending to do (even when you’re sometimes a little unsure), and the extended periods spent photographing are so rewarding that the finished prints (that no one will bother to look at) are at times a curious end to it all. A wonderfully complicated, communal curiosity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *