I had an interesting conversation with a friend today. Let me set the scene; we drove down a street that I hadn’t seen before and I was amazed at the amount that was on offer to photograph. It was one of those places where every few meters there was that magic where things were happening and teeming with life, even on this rainy day. To me it was like an epicentre of street scenes and I said how amazing and rich the street was. Sadly I was driving, I didn’t have time to park up walk and shoot the area.
My friend said that there seemed to be lots to photograph around this street that would make the place look bad, in the context that it would interest me. I found this comment intriguing and replied with; how can I make the place look bad? Surely the place is ‘bad’ or undesirable and the photograph is a representation of what the place is, therefore the place ‘looks bad’ and I’m just capturing what I see. And this got me thinking too; everything is subjective and the place ‘looking bad’ is more of a comment from a perspective which as we know can vastly vary.
I guess this leads me to the question, Am I making the places that I photograph look bad or is this just from a certain perspective. I don’t know, I mean I’m not intentionally going out thinking I want to take images of subjects that make them look bad or negative. I photograph things that interest me, yes I can show a frame of a situation but that image is of something real that is actually happening. I’m not making a judgement on that, I’m leaving that to the viewer.