my [photo]losophy

My philosophy of photography is based on three simple principles.
1. Photograph what I want.
2. Photograph what is there.
3. Photograph the truth.

1. Photograph what I want.

I once tried to be a photographer in the past by photographing portraits. I quickly discovered that my clients would insist that I take particular styles of photographs. When photographing senior portraits, parents would often insist on directing the shoot and would commonly give input on what they wanted the pictures to look like. I found this cumbersome and limiting. Combined with other factors, such things led me to give up photography for a long time. Since returning to photography, I’ve made it a rule (my Number One rule, in fact) to photograph only what I want to photograph — only that which provokes my own thoughts and reflections and causes me to consider subjects from different perspectives. If what I photograph doesn’t do that for me, how can I expect my photographs to do that for anyone else?

2. Photograph what is there.

Regarding the subject of a photograph: Whatever is there is there for a reason. It’s there because someone, or something, put it there, or in some way directly or indirectly caused it to be there. The spatial relations among objects in a scene that I am photographing is, in my opinion, exactly where they are supposed to be. There is no need to rearrange, to pose, to “improve” the composition of, or otherwise disturb whatever is in the field of view of my camera lens. I want to photograph what is already there in order to provoke the viewer to ask the questions of how, when, why, and what does it mean.

3. Photograph the truth.

Some things in life are beautiful and some are ugly. Either way, my goal as a photographer is to photograph the truth (and nothing but the truth). I don’t try to change the reality of the subject. If I photograph someone on the street, and they see me and make an obscene gesture, I don’t throw that photograph out for fear of offending the sensitive viewer. Whatever happens in front of the camera lens, with no interference from me, is the truth. To alter that truth would be to sacrifice my own integrity as a photographer.

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