These last few days, many events brought me back to photography. Probably because once you have an idea, you suddenly need to settle images and visuals. Photos like narratives, so to say. And also because I now have my camera back from France (thanks Mummy…). Back in shootings!
This week, I’ve read the fantastic issue of L’Express Styles,fully dedicated to photography and to the “Rencontres d’Arles“. If you ever have a chance to go there, just do it: it’s probably one of the most important meetings of photographers: they know how to keep it simple and focused on photography, not on big names. They’ve introduced many radical changes in photography, thanks of their ability to pick unknown author, and to reveal them. Even if their board is against it :p
Reading the magazine, I realised how important “schools” are when it comes to photography. Walker Evans and his heirs; Remi Ochlik and his friends all over the world; my friend Gautier Demouveaux and ViewsCo at the moment. Because photos, when they’re part of a global and long-term work, tell a certain story, and helps us consider in a very specific way the world we live in.
That’s probably why great photographers only become more famous when they’re sort of old: you need some maturity
What’s interesting is also this great article about Instagr.am. It reminds the huge criticisms against “mainstream” people who started to massively do photography thanks to cheap Kodak films. Funny enough, a corporation of professionals are all the time very afraid when there’s a new platform, a new medium, which could challenge their pré carré. I don’t think that Instagr.am is the ennemy of photographers; in spite of very harsh discussions, saying “it’s not because you add a filter that your photo is great”, I think that Instagr.am brings an interest back to a wider audience.
Let’s be iconoclast and let’s make a comparison: some studies have just demonstrated that French people read more and more e-books and magazines in the tube. Mostly because it’s more or less FREE.
Instagr.am is free, more or less too. It doesn’t mean that professional photography’s dead too; it just means that there are new interfaces to explore. And that the photography experience is going to be richer and richer; you don’t waste value because it goes mainstream: you just can’t be satisfied of a single “beautiful shot”.
Thinking of Evans: what I really like in this work is not “one” single shot. To be fair, if Walker Evans had just done one great shot, I think he’d be very boring. No. He managed to settle a long work, he shaped a kind of sharp coherence. You dive in his work and you can read thousands of interpretations. That’s what it’s all about: shaping a good story, not a single good shot.
At the end, what remains is a thought; not a shot.