In this final part of the course and getting my work ready for assessment, I have been thinking a lot about how I work and what drives me. Looking at all the assignments I can see that most of it has been driven by what was asked from me and meeting the criteria that were laid out in earlier exercises. I know it is good to explore technical possibilities as well as starting to find your personal view and ways of working, but it hasn't been until these past weeks that I feel I should explore my motives and ideas behind what I'm doing more. I have to say that reading 'Train your Gaze' has been a big influence and it has felt entering a new level of understanding myself and my work.
For example, going back to assignment 2 and the images I took in the desert camp I am still not clear on where I would place myself in regards to approaches to street photography. Some of the images are a bit on the cynical side in this set, but overall I don't feel that I was trying put a cynical view of the tourists too much. I was just photographing in an intuitional mode. Of course, there is nothing wrong with it and especially when you're somewhere for the first time it is hard to have a well thought out idea of what to do to begin with. Later on I realised that my images were more about the meaning of the reality of an experience and the creation of this reality.
After this set, I have been photographing in the streets more and realize that I don't like to take pictures of people in their weakest moment, even though that might make up for more sensational images. I remember being a bit put off Martin Parr's exhibition because he had photographed all the stereotypical elements of people in the streets and the things of which one can know that they will bring a certain reaction, I found that it didn't do justice to the people or city themselves and showed that Martin Parr's interest in a place didn't go much further than the superficial layer of pre conceived ideas. On the other hand, his photos were interesting, made people laugh and caused for an immediate response. If you have been the photographer that is just the kind of response that you might want to get, that people are immediately drawn to what you've done, than you can say that the images were very successful.
But then, if I think about Boris Mikhailov's work and the provoking images of people that he took in post communist Russia, one might be tempted to have the same conclusions that he knows how to shock his audience and uses his ways of work to get a big audience in such a way. But I don't get that same initial response when I look at his work, because all of his photographs show a kind of intimacy between him and his subjects and most of all show a genuine interest in the people, the lives they are living and in a very raw way, their humanity.
However, I'm wondering if I would be true to myself if I went about working in the same way. In the end it all starts with what interests me, what triggers me, what do I want to show, do I want to object to something, or show something and am I bold enough to photograph that? And are these personal restrictions true to what I really believe and who I am, or more based on what is considered decent or moral and all the other things I'm supposed to do and behave? I feel that I need to really think about this, explore other ways of thinking and work of photographers more and give myself the time and freedom to investigate this more.
This weekend, I went to Old Delhi with a few friends to photograph and here are a few of the images that I'd like to share. Especially compared to my work from Assignment 2, I do notice a difference in my approach. I see that in these images I am very focused on individual expressions amidst the business of the city. I was triggered by the looks on the people's faces, the stress people feel when they've just woken up and are facing a rough day in the streets, school or at work. This was my first time there and I had not thought about what it was that I wanted to show. I really want to go back and be more deliberate on what I want to do.
Boris mikhailov - Sprovieri gallery. Available at: http://www.sprovieri.com/artists/boris-mikhailov/ (Accessed: 9 November 2015).