I was out last Saturday and photographed in a parking lot. I was down on my knees with my toys in the pool of water in front of me when a car drove in and parked. I saw it happening in the corner of the eye and realized that it was probably best to leave.
Yes, I confess… I’m not like Shelly that I say it out loud…
I work by myself
I prefer to photograph for myself, not hiding, but with my own company. I had already picked up my things, when I realize that it was too late. The man in the car has decided that it was time to ask me what I do. But when he reached me, I realized that he already knew or had guessed. Because he wanted to see the images.
With a deep exhale I showed him the back of my camera and one of the images I had just done. But doing this it made me think: why am I like this? Why do I think it’s so hard to talk about my pictures?
Why is it so hard to talk about my work?
I think I know. It’s the same feeling that makes me be moderate with my presence in social media. My photographic work is a lot about me. Talking about my work is, in a way, talking about me, myself, my experiences and my own life. I prefer not to talk about that. And if I do, I want to talk about my photos in rooms that I feel safe in. A stranger who wants to know what I’m doing when I’m kneeling near a water puddle; or an avatar on social media that pushes the like-button; these situations don’t make me feel safe or understood. I prefer to work for myself and save my work for places that aren’t about being the most popular, or the best.
In short: I take myself too seriously. I wish I didn’t and that I saw all the possibilities to share, to talk, or to make sense of my work, but I don’t. Now you know.
I read Jennifer’s lovely post about portraits and that made me think. And to be honest I haven’t been able to stop thinking about photography and the definitions in that post. Let me start by saying this isn’t me saying I know better – I just have to share my thoughts about how I look at photography all together.
A starting point
It all started when I read the definition of portraits:
”a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
There is two things I object to. The first is that portraits most be of “people” – and I think I share that objection with Jennifer. But second I also object to the part that portraits is a representation of a person. Because I always think that a portrait is more than just that. From my point of view I think that we as photographer are a part of the picture. I don’t think that portrait’s only are a representation of the subject but also a representation of the photographer.
Is the photographer invisable?
In any photographic image the result is a representation of the photographer and his or her knowledge about the subject. But also of the photographers values, perspective and objectives (which can be both personal or business) etc. Reading the definition of portraits make me wonder where is the photographer? We do interpret our motives: toys or persons. And that affects the portrait and in the end the image. We as photographers always give the viewer our representation of the motive. And every definition of photography ought to include that. As I see it 🙂
The image is representaion of the photographer
For me photography of toys or people is about the photographer as well as the motive. In my photography I don’t think that I even can do a portrait of who a person is or who or what a toy are. My strongest believe is that I only can do a picture of what I see and ”think” that person/toy is. So even though I love Jennifer’s post about portrait, I don’t agree with the idea that I as a photographer can be invisible and only portray or make a representation a person or a toy. We -as photographers -are, as I see it, very much part of the image.
What happens when three photographers make pictures with the same motive -a unicorn?
Last Saturday, me, Shelly and Christoffer had a photo-meet-up in Stockholm. It ended with us challenging ourself. We all took an invidual image of the same motive. The Unicorn. The question we asked ourself was: if you will be able to see the photographer behind the camera? Or if you will see the same picture? We worked in the same spot, with the same light and with the same motive… We challenged ourselves. Continue reading One motive three photographers – the unicorn
To travel with toys
I travel a lot for work. And during this summer my family and I were on a three week journey in California. So with that experience I thought that I too, like Jennifer, Reiterlied, James and many more before them… ought to give you my thoughts about traveling with toys. Or being a toy photographer while traveling. Continue reading My take on traveling with toys
I’ll be honest and say it the way it is: I’m totally bored with my subject. I came up with the idea that if I wrote a review, maybe I would see other opportunities with my subject. So I ask Shelly if I could do a set-review and she responded:
-I think I saw a pig fly.
I laughed and asked her to give me some ideas for a set that I could review. The very next day she sent me a few suggestions. Continue reading Why I can’t do product photography?
I fell in love with my plastic Stormtrooper the first time I saw him. I fell for his shoes first. Then I saw the rest and I was totally lost. I love the helmet and the expression. After my project with Stormtroopers, I’ve been falling in love with my subjects in periods. It happens both when I photograph toys as well as when I photograph people. Out of love, I want to come back to these subjects that I’ve fallen for, again and again, I can not get enough … Continue reading I’m falling in love with my subjects
I’ve done several 365 projects and I find them fun and challenging. But the challenge for me is not to photograph every day. That isn’t difficult, just push the button! 😉
The challenge is to photograph in all weather, all light and in different places. In addition, I try to create an image that I want to stand behind. Honestly, I’ll have to admit that far from all the images I publish during my 365-projects are ones that I want to stand behind. But as far as I can, each day, I try to make them as good as they can be. The images I don’t think work, I see as drafts or sketches. For me, the real challenge when I’m in the midst of a 365-project, is to settle for a good-enough image. Continue reading To do an image every day for a year
Making a 52 project on the theme of reflections has made me realize that I really love water piles, raindrops and how water ripples around toys. Puddles are made for toys.
I have a softspot for puddles
I have always known that I have a softspot for water puddles. But doing this 52-week challenge have made me lie down on the ground for hours just to get a image. This is, or was at some point, something of a novelty for me. I do this to get to the light, the movement in the water, or the right background, the reflection and the right focus or even no focus.
Another insight that I gained from this project is that I just don’t settle for the first puddle that comes my way (I use to do that). Now I inspect them before I start. Is the light right? But it doesn’t end there because I also look at the environment – because it’s also very important. For some reason, parking lots work very well. Maybe because the puddles remain there? Maybe because I can work there without interruptions? I’m not sure. Continue reading Look again and you will see more than the puddles
One of the reasons I don’t build a library of images is that I very rarely think that my images from yesterday are able to stand up to the test of time. I often think that I’m the best image-maker today. The image I do today has every chance to become just as I imagined it. A new day, with new opportunities …
I participated in the June challenge
Like many other photographers, I participated in the June challenge that Toyphotographers sponsored on G+: Revisiting and Recreating Your Toy Photos. I went to my archive to find an old image that I wanted to remake or recreate into a new image. Continue reading To look back at my images and redo one – a short reflection
How do you handle your lack of inspiration? I usually look at other peoples work to get inspiration. I do it with hope that I’ll be inspired to create something. But when I do this, sometimes my image becomes a version of someone else work. And that may be a dilemma. Continue reading When is my work only mine?