berlin kreuzberg landwehrkanal
Why do you take photos?
This is a first for me - a text post and a reblog! Above is a photo by a tumblr blog I follow ‘streetberlin' which I absolutely adore. I wanted to use it as a stimulus for what I was thinking this afternoon. I had a coffee with a good friend of mine this week. He asked me a question that I know has been asked time and time again - 'why do you take photos'. It's the kind of question that I think a lot of us pass off or don't think about as it's asked or implied so often - but for some reason, it got me thinking.
We are all such visual people nowadays and I think this is the reason why so many people have fallen in love with the craft. For me, photography is a recognition cycle - it slows things down for me. I like to get away from the clichés - ‘a slice in time’, ‘photo worth a thousand words’ but that’s basically it. The image, be it printed, as part of a monograph or on the internet is a document - it shows us something, somewhere between the real and the represented - something that happened in the world, even if it was constructed.
Streetberlin’s image of Kreuzberg, in fact, doesn’t tell me 1000 words, it doesn’t give me all that much context, but I adore it, not only on a technical side, but for the fact that this moment happened - those are real people with real lives, with names and relationships and vices. Likewise, a formal portrait, regardless if it’s beautifully lit with window light or commercially done in a studio is a document of that individual - it shows us, but tells us nothing. That, I think, is what keeps me going - the idea that we can go out into the world and make images that will always hide something - no matter how transparent they are.
Take a moment this week and go for a walk with one camera and one lens - rediscover what you thought you knew everything about - fall in love with photography again.