Yesterday it was my very first day at the Paris Photo and, beside the beauty of seeing how French people really respect and honor photographers and their galleries, I have to say that the tension escalating among million of creative minds gathered together in the same building for three days it is dangerous to each other’s originality.
Photography today seems all the same. It is like we are copying one another constantly. Giacomelli, Bresson, Kudelka, Frank, Evans, Woodman etc…were their own because they portrayed their internal troubles, they photograph with their guts. Today we accept conceptual photography of a white space with a line and we price it at $5,000 because it looks modern and the name of the author is somewhat famous. This is utterly ridiculous.
Photography is subjecting, ok. But, photography it’s also about expressing what one has inside in the form of a still image that has to be somewhat revealed to the viewer so that he/she can have a similar experience. The true value of photography it is about the experience one lives while giving birth to its creature, but also since photographers most of the time see things farther away than the most common eyes, they should make you re-live the dream yourself and not be incomprehensible and dark and be justified as “creative genius.” This is plain manipulation, not creativity.
The canon of “visually pleasing to the eyes” are those of lights, composition and subject matter, breaking the rules is ok in most cases, but with a true and honest intention, not the one of showing a “hidden identity” built on falseness.
Looking at other’s work has never really helped me because it somehow obfuscates my creativity and my inspiration, which is, more often than not, coming straight from my necessity of finding an identity.
If I look too much at other’s photos, I loose myself in other’s identity and I try to imitate them in their path, while this is not the goal one should have for their own photographic career or project, I believe.
I photograph for myself first and foremost. I photograph to explain to myself what is it I am searching for. Then I explain why I have photograph one way or the other and this way people can search for themselves using my photos as their own windows on their souls possibly finding their escaped identities.
When you are behind a camera, you are breathing a different air. You are seeing a diverse picture that the world around you seeing the same, exact situation, just because you are photographing not only with your eyes and fingers, but with your entire soul. That same soul that you have built searching for your identity and having found it along the way there with other photos before.
It is a vicious cycle called life. Photographers just live it still by still seeing their world changing beside their “other eyes,” their “oculi.”