Analyzing your Photography

To quote Gerry Badger from his amazing essay on Lee Friedlander

What is [your] work about? To what does it refer, either concretely, metaphorically, formally, allegorically, or representatively? In what sense are [your] photographs documents – either of the world or of his true perceptions? [Are] you confronting us directly with our perception of reality – or merely an abstract, ultimately barren non-reality? Is [your] work an allegory for [your] view of civilization and humanity – or is it only about the medium in its narrowest sense? Is it a series of facile formal manoeuvres?

The Other Side — Nikon D80


These are important questions that one as a photographer, meaning one who takes photographs, not strictly using the term for professionals only but also for us, aficionados & enthusiasts, has to at some point during work answer.

Once we develop a system, a view of photographing & a way of processing, the pieces start coming together and what we have, is an identifiable image which has our unwritten signature which speaks louder than words. Such is the work of the great masters of photography: Daido Moriyama, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, et al.

With that said, personally my style is “street photography”. I like to document life as it happens. I love to black & white but I also love color, and like I said on yesterday’s post. I think they both can have a symbiotic relationship in defining one’s style. To name just a couple of photographers that currently employ that aforementioned duality, that I think is not only artful but also has that street love which is sometimes hard to accomplish successfully but also mesh into a cohesive body work – Josh White & Wouter Brandsma. My hat goes off to these fellow togs.

So when I’m confronted with such a statements, for now, I’m happy developing my vision and I continue to learn, not only the technical aspect of this beautiful craft but also training that “eye”, not just to look, but really view things with that perceptive eye to understand that which we seek as photographers – in my case, the grittiness, the rawness of the streets, the social message behind the imagery, but nonetheless, these are difficult questions that require deep thoughts and a series of essays to continue this exploration. To finalize, I’ll use another quote from the aforementioned essay by Gerry Badger.

But as Friedlander’s vision has evolved, and as his contingent aims and interests have become clearer, to pigeonhole him categorically as a simple formalist seems unduly narrow, even trite.

. . . and so should we and hopefully our work will have that permanence with that unwritten visual signature that transcends time.

20 thoughts on “Analyzing your Photography

  1. hi Jorge, this is awesome… i’m a black and white guy but the colored version of this is a lot better imho. anyway, the processing doesnt really matter, its with the way you have captured it.

  2. Fantastic capture, this man looks as if years of hardship and exposure has turned his skin to leather.
    I just reviewed this shot again upon reading one comment on it stating this is a woman, the open back made me think it was a shirtless man, upon review I noticed the straps of a dress, or some sort of top.
    ed

  3. Thanks Jorge. It’s a difficult thing working in both. I sometimes struggle with what to do with a photograph. I suppose there is no right way and no right answer. Go with what you think is right. First instinct is the only cure for hind sight.

  4. Piteous! One almost feels the agony in her spine, the sharp ache of brittle bones against hard concrete or tarmacadam. The skin in her arms & hands looks to be almost sloughing off. She is not only without shelter, her body rapidly approaches collapse. A very powerful image, Jorge.

  5. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikafotos] [http://www.flickr.com/photos/reycuba] Gracias por sus comentarios y tambien creo que tienen razon, la imagen a color tiene mas que se yo, como se diria, ni se, pero creo que realismo. Gracias.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/oakt] No doubt, it makes us think really hard at our reality, thanks for your comment.

  6. Son dos escenas que el tiempo puede separar y se pueden enmarcar a lo largo de un tiempo indeterminado, me encanta la versión a color pues me sitúa en el mundo de hoy en cualquier parte del planeta, muy buena imagen.

  7. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/300_mm] Thanks, its certainly what pulls me, no doubt.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevog5] Thanks Stephen.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajsaker] Thanks for the compliment, I’m glad. The way I see it, I think we all have these types of questions at some point or another which is what leads to me share these types of narratives. Cheers.

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffmahood] No doubt Geoff. When I’m out there I can only think how fortunate some folks but at the same time, like you mention, what circumstances have led these of other human being to "the other side". Photographing things that are comfortable is perfectly ok. Thanks for chiming in, I appreciate it.

  8. Hi Jorge. Another great photograph and another question for us (me) to ponder. When I look at life in general it can and is tough for many and at times we as individuals have burdens to carry. Should it be illness, caring for a loved one, unemployment, loneliness, you name it we all at one time or another find ourselves in this position. I admire those who, like yourself, photograph life as it is! I tend to photograph things that i am comfortable with but when confronted with images such as this one, I almost feel that my photographs are shallow. Granted, they can give pleasure in an at times hostile world but there is a tremendous challenge in what you portray here in pictures and in words. Many thanks. Geoff

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