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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Random Conversations #6: Photographers are Conservative

L: It seems to me that photography people are very individualist really.

Me: I don't think so.

L: I do. Going off on your own all over the place with a camera to photograph people. On your own, with nobody else, drifting by, drinking and smoking and hanging out with a camera round your neck and shooting off a couple of rolls or whatever the digital term is now. It doesn't really matter if it's street, war, documentary, commercial or fashion. That's what it's all about really. Getting into your own little world.

Me: Not everyone does it on their own.

L: No, but then if they don't do it on their own, if they have a crew and gear, then what is the point of having a still camera. I mean, who's the guy I'm thinking of?

Me: Gregory Crewdson.

L: Yeah, that's the one. The big shoots out in the suburbs with the large format camera. Has he moved on to films yet?

Me: I don't know what he's doing now.

L: Well never mind then. My point is every photographer who isn't a bit of a loner, a bit isolated...

Me: A bit serial killer profile?

L: Exactly; quiet, on the spectrum, wouldn't hurt a fly, but underneath... ?. Anyway, if you're not like- and you're successful  you move on to films don't you. It's the natural progression. Forget about all that audio slideshow stuff you're always going on about. You make the big jump. Why go still when you can make movies? That's what all the good photographers do isn't it. But they can do it because they aren't loners. It's only the ones who can't really work with other people that stay with still cameras.

Me: I'm not sure I'm with you on that. What about Robert Frank?

L: Well exactly. Could he work with other people? I don't know - seems to me like a classic individualist who liked hanging out and smoking and drinking! And not only are photographers individualist, you're also incredibly conservative.

Me: Er, don't think so. Photographers are just about as left-leaning as you can get.

L: You like to think so, of course you do, but photographers are driven almost exclusively by their own selfish needs. In an ideal world, you'd do what you want, go where you want, photograph what you want, manipulate people into believing its in their own interests for this to happen -  destroy the environment in the process and then pretend that you're doing it for the sake of mankind. And when anything goes against you then you raise all these self-serving arguments about ethics which really only prove my point even more; reactionary and conservative

Me: That's just nonsense.

L: How much do photographers work together? How often do you undercut each other's prices? Or work for free? And if you're talking press or paparazzi, what are those media scrums or agency promotions other than the survival of the fittest in its most brutal form? And all those competitions and portfolio reviews you're always moaning about. Anyway, who did you vote for in the last election?

Me: Who I voted for doesn't prove anything!

L: Does too, Tory Boy!

1 comment:

Darko said...

Nice, enjoyed this one!