Below are two definitions from Bob Thall’s introduction to On City Streets: Chicago, 1964-2004. Both have influenced my approach to photography and helped to develop my style.
- Modernist Formalism is interested in the reality of the photograph. The photograph is independent of the real world. The photograph makes the viewer conscious of how he/she sees or ignores the visual world.
- Personal Documentary makes highly descriptive and objective looking images, but the real point is to collect evidence to support the photographer’s view.
These are three questions I ask when evaluating my photographs:
- Will it inform the viewer?
- Will it move the viewer?
- Will it make the viewer think about how he/she sees the world?
Guidelines I follow:
- Prior preparation prevents poor pictures.
- Simplify my kit.
- Know what is in the frame.
- Develop a personal style.
- When I’m not taking photographs I’m thinking about what I could be photographing.