Sometimes it’s so hard to know where to begin. As photographers we worry about who’s looking at our work, where the next job is coming from and if we are popular enough with our Facebook crowd who inevitably give us a good pat on the back and a ‘Wow that’s awesome’ comment. It’s all fluff and getting away from the real stories of real people out there that need to be told. Now I am guilty of all of the above, I feel I have forgotten my roots and why I started in photography and it continues to fill my life with opportunity, frustration and amazing people. Years ago I went to a Don McCullin exhibition at the Barbican in London. McCullin is without doubt one of the greatest story tellers of our time and maybe all time. His images are graphic, disturbing but raw and to the point. His accounts of the Vietnam War, the famine in Biafra and the Khymer Rouge in Cambodia fill the viewer with dread and you ask yourself how can people do such things to each other. My point is that photography is bigger than all of us, what it conveys, it’s historical content and also the love and joy it brings. Of late there is a trend towards ‘Rock Star’ status among some of our colleagues, it’s not their fault they happen to be incredibly talented, generous of spirit and skillful artists. It’s the people yearning to be like them or be them instead of navigating there own path. Technology has clouded people’s ideals, vision and instead of thinking about subject matter they are more concerned with how someone else developed a photo.
The focus has shifted.
McCullin used two Nikon F’s with standard 50mm and 80mm lens’s nothing fancy but he had integrity, courage and above all a passion to try and see the good in people even though he had seen so many terrible things.
He had found his calling.
I have come crashing back to earth in recent weeks and have been questioning my role as a photographer and trying to define what it is. You see I was asked to photograph someone very special and close to myself and particularly my wife. Her name is Pete, she is incredibly brave and beautiful and this is her.