Grain destined for export stacked on Madras beaches (February 1877) I've started writing a series of posts on photography on World...
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Where Photography Dares Not Tread
There is a lot of commentary, from myself and others, on the self-replicating nature of photography, how all pictures look alike, how themes are jigged and rejigged again and again.
At the same time, it is astounding how shallow most photographic examinations of various themes can be - how the most photographed and cliched subject matter remains to be pursued in any kind of detail.
My favourite unphotographed theme is mother and child. It has been been romanticised, glorified and idealised since photography began, but there is nothing that I can think of that captures the emotional and physical depth of motherhood. I think there is a reason for this - motherhood is messy, both emotionally and physically, it involves tears, trauma and leakage from all parties, and sticking your camera into the mess doesn't make the tantrum, the mess or the smell go away. Motherhood doesn't always look nice, childhood doesn't look nice - the two together can be horrendous. The last thing you want is some useless other half with a camera making you look and the offspring look bad.
That's my great unexplored area in photography. But perhaps I've got it hopelessly wrong - if I have, do let me know.
And any other suggestions for unexplored areas would be welcome - and that includes areas that have been explored in an unsatisfactory manner.