A couple of weeks ago, my friend Eric came to town to visit and teach a mini workshop with me here in Seoul. He stayed for a couple of days, and somewhere during the couple of days I really had to have a think about photography.
What it is for me, now.
These photos were taken while we sat in an upscale cafe in the Hongdae district of Seoul. We talked about photography for a couple of hours. We often critique each other’s work. We often say don’t post this and don’t post that.
“You post too much.”
“It isn’t your best.”
But, what is my best? I’m not sure I care about what my best photos are. Photography has become something much different for me. “Finding” my best photo really isn’t what it is about.
Eric’s girlfriend Cindy. It was the first time I had met her that weekend. Interesting the people we meet through a mutual hobby.
Photography for me has become that. I don’t care about photos that don’t mean something to mean. I don’t care about photos that don’t represent something to me.
A memory or an emotion.
A feeling or a connection.
Not someone else’s, but my own. I’ve become selfish.
I’ve become selfish in that the photos I want to take aren’t for anyone else. I don’t give a fuck about pleasing anyone else. It isn’t the point, nor should it have ever been.
I won’t be the best photographer in the world this way, nor do I care. I care about memories.
A photo used to be like an object to me. It was something materialistic. Street photography was like shopping. I was just going out trying to find the best sale or product. A photo wasn’t any different to a t-shirt I bought and forgot about or threw out.
A material thing.
People matter. Relationships matter.
The photo above of me represents a moment I would have never thought to have captured before. Why ask someone to take this photo of me? Well, I will remember this someone and this moment. I want to remember the relationship; the moment.
These photographs aren’t difficult to take. You don’t need anything. You don’t need a ten thousand dollar Leica to take them.
The photographs aren’t difficult to take, but, the moments are fleeting. They are moments I’ll never get back.
Isn’t that why we have cameras? Photography?
Three of my favorite photographs from the past year are far from the “best.” Maybe Eric would say they aren’t worth posting. Maybe I would have thought so before.
We have cameras to help remember. These are my friends. Important people to me.
These moments are important.
Because they are mine.
And moments I want to remember.
We, as photographers, spend our time trying to find beauty and meaning in external things. We search for moments to capture and call ourselves documenters. Why? Why anguish over the search to find other people’s interesting moments while forsaking your own, the ones that should be most precious to you.
Looking for moments outside of the ones I live interests me very little anymore. Making commentaries even less.
Distractions.They just distract me from looking at, appreciating, and photographing the things closest to me. The people.
They really do and really will,
Seoul, South Korea.
One of the best piece of text I´ve read on Internet in some time – perhaps because it apeals to me, personally. And a bunch of very nice photos, too. Thanks.
Made me think JT, this post is an eye opener for someone like me who just started SP like 2 months ago. Everything you said made perfect sense. Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts.
Josh your outlook interests me more than trying to take the perfect picture. As a street photographer I think I am documenting what I see more than what I am supposed to be looking for. I am to old to dedicate what is left of my life to be very critical about what I take pictures of. I am also free enough to be not tied down by rules and free enough to do what ever I want to do with what comes out of my camera be it crop or Photoshop. What enjoy most about being out on the street is the people I meet not the pictures I take of them. I do enjoy your posts as they are a way for me to follow one of those people I have met.
if you don’t give a “fuck” what people think about your photos why do you have a blog darling? I’m not being critical just trying to understand myself better.
I have a blog for the same reasons someone might have a diary or a journal. Gives me a place to put my thoughts and serves as a place for me to go back to to find them. Nothing more or less.
Do you enjoy people visiting your blog?
I neither enjoy it nor dislike it. If people like to visit and get something here, great! It isn’t my motivation for having a blog. Your motivations seem clear, ha. Don’t have something better to do this afternoon?
Chill man. Peace
Lol, didn’t mean it like that. Have a good one dude. Just saying my motivations have changed since I started the blog. And I hope, for the most part they are pure!
no harm done Mr
Great article, and excellent point made!!!
It is interesting what you say Josh. Looking back over my own images this past year I have to say that my favouite is a photograph of my own son – Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Is it my favouite because it is the best picture, or because it is personal to me? Personal because of the love I have for him?
I have to say that my favouite images are generally those where I have had some connection with the person I have photographed, whether I know them well or I only met them five minutes ago. I guess memories don’t have to be deep rooted to mean somthing, they can be fleeting happenings and meetings which although lasted only seconds remain in our thoughts for years to come…
I have no comments specifically for this entry, but I want to say that I just read through your whole blog and enjoyed it very much. You have interesting things to say because of interesting perspectives you hold on various photographically-related subjects. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you. I appreciate that.