Solitary walking gives you lots of thinking time. One of the things I’ve been musing over is photography. Why I’ve got so obsessed, what makes a great picture, is it art or just personal memory?
For the last couple of years, I’ve carried a camera with me almost everywhere, and I take a lot of pictures. Looksee- this is why I have worn holes in my pocketses.
Of course, most of the pictures are utter crap, and get deleted within hours. It’s the blessing and the curse of digital. I could never have afforded to do the same with film. But (like many people), I never get around to printing the pictures I do like. I’ve seen amazing photobooks, and I love the possibilities for combining words and pictures. But I’m a perfectionist, and I can’t get either good enough for permanency (obviously this bothers me less electronically- head says blog doesn’t matter, but books are somehow different.) Recently, I’ve found myself nostalgic for the simple lowtech photo album. That might be this winter’s project, to deal with ten years of digital pictures.
On this trip, I’ve seen a lot of mediocre images of beautiful places. I was especially underwhelmed by a gallery in Seahouses (name withheld for diplomacy), which was selling , for a fiver each, 4 by 6 prints of shots I’d delete without a second thought. I’m intrigued whether this was a viable business. Personally, I preferred the postcards available next door for 20p.
Getting a stunning picture of somewhere as well known and accessible as Bamburgh castle isn’t what interests me anyway, although I admire other people’s work when the perfect location, light and composition come together to create something sublime. I might want to record the skyscape behind the castle, or the colour and textures of some detail. Painting with light, to console myself for the truth that I never do anything worthwhile with brush or pencil. Maybe the true challenge is making a beautiful image out of the quotidien and mundane?