Wielding a camera at every family milestone was always a ‘thing’ in my family, something I thought of as the norm. It is only when I come across friends who tell me horror stories like, I was the 3rd child, so by the time they got to me the novelty of taking photos had worn off, that I realised not every family is the same. Although photography started off being a very personal thing, just recording family, friends and occasions. But my interest has broadened to taking photos for photos sake, and now I go to photo exhibitions and study how the masters do it.
One of the photographers I admire is Robert Doisneau, for his early street photography of his Parisian neighbourhoods. He was obviously a man of humour, and loved taking photographs of ordinary people but his photos are anything but. This quote of his sums his work up; “the marvels of daily life are exciting, no movie director can arrange the unexpected you find in the street”
Another is Henri Cartier-Bresson. His photographs can be more like paintings. The one below showcases his great timing and composition.
Lately I’ve become fascinated with the work of Vivian Maier. She came to the worlds attention after she died, her wordly goods were sold off, and in amongst her belongings was an enomous haul of black and white photographic slides. The significance of her talent became obvious when a sample few were developed. Her work captures New York in an bygone era. She was shy and reclusive, a nanny by trade – but with no passion for children. However, her day job enabled her to walk the streets and the parks of New York with her camera round her neck, capturing people (and often the children in her care) and life on the street.
A self portrait of Miss Maier
and one of the images Vivian captured as she travelled round the city.
Having recently started photography evening classes with friends, it made me realise how little I know, and how much there is to learn. The fun is practising, we’ve had some great days out trying techniques and looking for new angles and subjects.
As letters and personal post declines, all that may survive of us are our photos, selfies and phone snaps documenting our lives and filling in the gaps for later generations on how we live now.
Do you display or print your photos? Or are they languishing on a hard drive or sim card? S