Friday, June 19, 2009

An example of the type of mundane subject that I gravitate towards.

If you follow this blog you will know that most of the subjects that I choose are ordinary places and moments that most of you have seen before or can identify with. I have always been interested in portraying the everyday. I don't go searching for wars or Goth kids or any of that kind of stuff. And so the question that sometimes comes up for me is: so why would anyone want to look at this stuff? True I have a penchant for beautiful light and I can hopefully make the ordinary look interesting through choosing the right light and composition, and yet it is still ordinary.

This was brought to my attention by two things today. One was that while working on images I was listening to an old episode of This American Life. Episode 219 to be exact, the testosterone episode. The first act of this episode is an interview with someone whose body stopped producing testosterone for a period of time. In the interview this guy is recalling his sans-testosterone time and one thing he remembers is that during this time everything he saw seemed beautiful to him. And I mean everything he saw. And I can say that I sometimes have days like this. If the light is right and I'm in a good mood I can see almost anything as a potential subject to be photographed. So is this a particularly female way of being since we have less testosterone? This would explain the disproportionately large number of women who photograph the everyday.

Then in catching up on some blog reading I saw a quote that Joerg of Conscientious mentioned: "The other day, I talked with a friend of mine about photography, and he said what he expected of photography was: "Tell me something I don't know.""

So I don't know where I'm going with this. Just thinking out loud. Does photography have to show you something that you don't know? Sometimes I like to think that my work, in turning the camera on the everyday, helps us to see the familiar in a new light (no pun intended). Is my view of the world unique and interesting enough to catch the attention of others? Does it inform us on the world we live in? I don't know. It is one of those questions that I grapple with and that sometimes sends me in new photographic directions.

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