How can you capture the wind on a photograph? How can you make the viewer feel the cold or the warmth of a place? How can you make landscape photography communicate the sense of a place? Can a photo be a substitute for the simple, raw emotions that one feels when he’s out in the woods or in the mountains?
These are the things that lately have been on my mind. I’m pretty sure it all started with something that Andrew Molitor wrote on his brilliant blog. He keeps bashing on these points but right now I will not search those two or three relevant posts but here’s the gist of it (or more correctly, my interpretation):
- landscape photographs that get millions of views on the internet are mostly about totems that get abused over and over; the silky water effect (tranquil seascapes, fluffy waterfalls), the obscene, over-the-top colors which are nothing like real life.
- the absurdity of somebody shooting basically the same photo in seven different continents, just to preserve his “style”.
- the sterility of such photographs, that are incapable of communicating if it was blazing hot that day, how damn hard was to get to that viewpoint, if the photographer was feeling dehydrated, if he got sick as a dog only to take that last photograph at sunset.
I got into this loop probably after realizing that I have lost any interest in street photography (which I honestly thought it was my thing1) while at the same time struggling to give a meaning to my photography. Apart from recording my family life (which is totally fine, and very likely to be the most important thing I can do), what are these photographs I take? Do they have a deeper meaning? Do they need to have any meaning? Are they therapy? An outlet for restrained energy? Do I really need to do a stupid “project” with a pretense of a social message just because it is the accepted norm?
So I told myself, let me try to make photographs that are able to speak for themselves. I don’t want to rely on technique or good looking models or extraordinary faces or any narrative (social commentary; daily observations; travelogue). Just the images that will stand on their own to comunicate a mood or a physical sensation.
For example: if the thing I want to shoot is warm or cold. If I was warm or cold when I shot that thing. If it was easy to get that photo; if I had to climb a mountain or figure it out how to shoot that thing. Tell something, a basic emotion, or a sense of place.
Consider this my first experiment. I will leave to the reader the task to find out what is it that I wanted to communicate here.
Why I am no longer a street photographer (if I have ever been one): because too many people call themselves street photographers; because I don’t see the point in having as main subjects of all my photos some random strangers; because I despise the macho subculture that force wannabe photographers to shoot people right in their faces with some silly excuses to “make connection”; because it is too easy to create emotions relying on some borderline extraordinary character that you meet by simply walking; because I have no time to roam the city streets in search of the elusive street photograph. ↩