I have come to the conclusion that I am just not a spontaneous person. I’ve known this for many years, really, but reviewing my photographic output and direction recently I have come to the realisation that no matter how hard I try, I just cannot change my basic nature. And this is reflected in the sort of photographs I take.
I think this problem of mine (if indeed it is a problem) is at the root of my photographic dilemma. Almost all my work in the past has been centred around a theme which I would title “documentary landscape” – that is, landscape photography not so much as fine art but more as a commentary on the passage of time and the seasons in the community where I live. When I do try to broaden my scope into areas involving people – environmental portraiture, candid stuff, what you might call rural “street” photography, my attempts at informal and spontaneous stuff are generally rubbish. I’m actually completely hopeless at taking snapshots of friends and family, and I gave up trying years ago.
You might remember a series I posted on this section of the Forum last year, which featured pictures from various summer rallies and shows in Cornwall. The best ones were always the shots which were in fact posed, or the ones where it looked as if I had posed them. The more formal and structured the situation was, the more convincing the result. So, sadly, a Cartier-Bresson I shall never be. You might guess from all of this that I would be much more comfortable dealing with a subject where every element was totally predictable and under control – still life.
We don’t see much in the way of still-life on here, perhaps it’s not too popular a form these days. I don’t set stuff up in a studio or anything like that, but tend to use “found” objects which are just around the house and garden – and available light, of course. Here’s a couple that were shot on film a while back with the 120mm S-Planar. As usual, your comments are invited, not just on the pictures but on the topic of still life itself – always a subject of deep importance to painting, but perhaps less so within contemporary photography?