It’s difficult to write well about a photograph. The power of the photograph is how it employs imagination; its ability to transport the viewer to a unique place or moment in time. Viewing an image is the sum of visual stimulus plus the unique life experience belonging solely to the individual viewing the photograph.
In that moment these two things combine to produce an experience unique to that person, that image. To then sway or influence the viewer with excessive commentary is a little like telling them how to feel about something. To focus on technical details is to pull the curtain back, removing the wonder and causing any use of imagination to instantly disappear, like a dream as you wake.
Often times there’s no reason behind an image beyond the simple truth that it elicited a response from the photographer. That response resulted in a photograph. Other’s reasons for making an image range from the etherial to pragmatic. Dianne Arbus said, “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know…” Robert Adams spoke of the decision to make a photograph “as a kind of seduction, and the seduction is worked by light.” And finally William Eggleston frankly states, “You take photographs to see what the world looked like, photographed.”
When visiting a place – especially for the first time – identifying the typical targets is something I avoid. You’ll see exceptions to this, but generally speaking I’m more apt to be found slowly wandering alone, seeking the things others may pass by. For me really getting to know a place is a process requiring time, solitude and observation. Wim Wenders once said,
“Taking pictures is a very solitary thing, at least for me. That’s why I wouldn’t even want to have an assistant with me, because the very presence of somebody else would make that more important than my relation to the place. And to immerse in a place is strictly only possible when you are on your own. You can fake it and you can pretend to want to listen to a place but as soon as there is someone else there, even if it’s just a bystander looking at what you are doing, it is over. You are no longer in the privileged position of being a listener.”
This for me is one of the greatest joys of wandering with a camera; using it as an excuse to be in the world – not just looking, but earnestly listening. This is what I hope Blue Hour Journal does for you: inspires you to get out into the world, listening and discovering. Then be able to share with others upon your return. Please enjoy Blue Hour Journal and use it to fuel your own journey.