In the first 26 years of my life, I never thought about photography. I used to judge that it was quite a pretentious thing to do – this was more a reflection of the people I saw taking photos rather than the photos themselves. I rolled my eyes at the bloke squatting down at a low angle making difficult to capture the same vista I simply pulled from my pocket on my iPhone.
This was, however, before my girlfriend dragged me to a Fotografiska exhibition here in Stockholm. I slipped through the main attraction which was a nudist series that just tried too hard and ended up hanging in the back fixing up some coffee when I was stopped by the total force that is the Sebastião Salgado ‘Genesis’ shot.
Salgado’s book was then the remainder of my visit to this museum. I was daydreaming about the type of man capable of capturing these types of photos. How did he get that access? Did he speak their languages? Were they threatened by him? How does he make money? The more you learn about Salgado the more perplexing it all becomes. His photos only get better and better. Anyone who doesn’t know what I am talking about – visit here… Sebastião Salgado is responsible for some of the most amazing photographs ever captured by a human being.
And so, my interest in Salgado serendipitously led me to David Yarrow and immediately my caricature of a photographer was completely flipped on it’s head. These weren’t hopelessly struggling artists who spoke exclusively in emotional language. They were adventurers and explorers. Competent businessmen. People restlessly curious about the world they occupied… they wanted to experience it for themselves. The notion of photography was transformed for me. The photograph became as much of an expression of the photographer as the music is an expression of the musician. I realised it was possible to get 1,000 different styles of photo, even if it is capturing the same desolate vista.
Photography became another means by which I can imprint my time onto the world. Not in some legacy type of way but rather as the perfect excuse to travel and explore but most importantly… NOTICE the world, because when a camera is hanging from your neck, you force the aesthetic which would otherwise just pass by. It is the perfect complement to exploring a new place.
That’s a beautiful thing.