Those few – but I dare say, faithful – readers of this blog must have noticed I’ve been writing less and less in my posts. Shortage of time doesn’t explain it all. It is really on purpose… So, to whom it might concern, I thought I could write (!) a bit about the reasons why I don’t write much in my photoblog posts anymore.
With the exception of travel photos posts, where I think it makes some sense to put things in context, I’m really coming to the conclusion that pictures should speak alone for themselves. Words became secondary or even intrusive. I think pictures should be appreciated by their power to communicate visually and by the myriad of factors that determine what makes them interesting. I want to resist the temptation of telling stories and just using the images to illustrate those stories. There is nothing wrong with writing about the posted pictures but that’s just not my idea of a photoblog. At least, it is not the kind of photoblog I’m interested in. There are wonderful photoblogs out there where the authors speak about their personal feelings and about the stories behind their images or about the technical questions involved. I’m glad for it because I really enjoy reading some of those blogs. However, I take it as personal challenge writing less or nothing at all about the pictures I post to let them stand on their own. I feel it as a straighter attitude and a better indicator of each picture’s value, for better or for worse…
It’s common to read in photographer’s sites or photoblogs, the various personal visions about what is photography, what distinguishes good from bad photography and what photography personally means to each one of them. Generally, the younger the photographer, the clearer and more resolute his vision is. That’s all to natural but, for myself, I can only say that my views on the subject are growing blurrier as time goes by. I’ve written things on the matter in this very blog and not so long ago, that I no longer subscribe. What I am learning is that my “personal style” or “personal vision” – whatever that may be or worth – is a much more fluid and unstable thing than I would care to admit. That’s why I don’t think about it any more. I can’t even say with certainty if I prefer color or b&w photography, portrait or street, grainy or smooth, sharp or blurred images, to edit and post-process immediately or weeks later, for “emotional detachment”, to view single images or in a series… And the list could go on and on. My answer to these questions is a constant and boring “it depends”… And that’s double boring for a blog reader: Who wants to read such uncertain views about a subject? People tend to reach for strong opinions to grab on or to disagree with. That’s the kick of it all, isn’t it?
Another common subject on photoblogging is gear. There is a constant demanding for opinions about camera specifications and “user experiences”. Gear reviews are the most sought after type of posts in this field. It is paradoxical that one can read so many articles about how much overrated gear is and how the camera is not that important in the context of photography quality, just to read another one shortly after – by the same author – praying and craving on a slightly better camera than the one he or she (more likely he) already owns…
Well, I am and always was a sucker for precision instruments. I think cameras are generally beautiful mixes of metal, plastic and glass… and they take pictures! The bond between the photographer and his camera will always be important to achieve good results. I’m no gear head though, and I like to stay with a camera for as long as I can, to get to know it well, not changing it every tree months. Other “safety feature” of mine that prevents me to buy the last cry is the fact that I’m always on a budget and very cool headed about buying things I don’t really need. So, my cameras are never the last models. In fact they usually are the last items on sale of a particular model.
Triple boring for potential readers: Even if I was interested in writing about my user experiences with gear, who would want to read something about “old news” cameras?
As for certainties about photography, I manage to gather a few that work for me, for the time being:
I like photography a lot; taking and enjoying pictures really keeps me more interested in life.
Sharing is important; pictures are worthless if they stay hidden.
Everything is fluid; I don’t know what type, genre, technique or process I will consider to be the most enjoyable or suitable for me, tomorrow.
And that’s about it…
All photographs by António Marques – © António Marques Photography, 2014