Somehow, in a funny way, I think that the 3 separate items in this week’s
drool, USER and ANGER and TROUBLE, are all somehow related.
Read on…..make up your own mind.
A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS ABOUT USER
Sifiyya writes to ask what camera/lens I use for this project.
drool doesn’t like to get too technical, preferring to leave that to the
fanboys and geeks out in the blogosphere. But here goes:
This year I’m shooting with my punkass Hasselblad and my Mamiya 6.
Both have standard lenses attached. I love standard. I’m using available
light and shooting Kodak Portra 160 NC color negative film. I scan the
negs with a Microtek M1 Pro.
Natasha, Ottawa, 2010.
While I was shooting Natasha I told
her that I thought she was quite
beautiful. She replied: “Everyone’s
Joel writes about his concerns that the USER images might cause some
harm to the subjects.
This, of course, is a serious issue and I have no way of knowing whether
the images are causing any harm to the subjects. I can tell you that every
person I shoot gets a copy of any image of them that will be shown. And I
can tell you that I’ll only shoot lucid subjects. I’m no fly-on-the-wall down
there. The images I’m making require the consent and collaboration of the
subjects. In fact, I’ve rarely met a group of people who are as in tune with
what I’m doing, and how they fit into that, than this small society of addicts
I’ve been shooting for 4 years.
Jennifer and Stephanie looking at prints
Jennifer holding prints of her and Kelly, her boyfriend
Kelly and Jennifer, Ottawa, 2010
I know of two instances where family members of the subjects saw their
photos and reacted in a very negative way. This caused some problems
for the addicts concerned.
If I was going to rationalize this I would say that these 2 cases are just
further proof that most addicts are addicts because of the facts of their
lives, and that includes having a damaged upbringing in a dysfunctional
family. To expect all families to react in a positive way is just unrealistic.
(If you see an image of your child in this series you have a couple of
options. You could go to him/her and do what you can to help or you
could get angry and do the opposite.)
I understand that I’m down there “representing” real people and that
the images have consequences. But in the end I believe that the work
I’m doing on the corner is worthwhile.
Stephanie and Melanie, Ottawa, 2010
I’ve been thinking lately about anger and photography. I’ve been trying
to find photographers/photographs that convey anger.
And by that I don’t mean fotos that show some angry person. No, I mean
bodies of work that might make those who view them think: “Man, that
photographer is really pissed off”.
Seems to me that the medium of fotografy just might not be suited for
that, though. It seems mostly too passive (in a weird way), and too cool
(as a medium) to actually make people want to drive fast and wreck shit
like certain songs have a tendency to do…..think The Sex Pistols, N.W.A.
or Public Enemy. Of course, these examples are from way back when,
when folks seemed to, maybe, be more open to anger instead of product
placement in the media they consumed.
And why is that, anyway? Why aren’t more people angry and doing
something about it? I don’t want to come across like that guy in the
movie Network, but come on folks. Have you had a look around lately,
looked at what went on at the G20 in Toronto, looked at the infantile,
partisan way we’re being “represented” by out Members of Parliament,
and so on and on and on and on….?
Anyway, I don’t want to get too angry about people not being angry.
(And I must add here that when I’m working I NEVER get angry. I find
anger to be totally counter-productive in certain situations.) But if you
know of any photographers who’s work you think exhibits anger, I’d like
to hear about it. Please either leave a comment here or PM me at:
tony (at) tonyfoto (dot) com.
Thank you very much.
BODIES IN TROUBLE
SAW Gallery, in Ottawa, has mounted an important and compelling photo show
titled: BODIES IN TROUBLE.
The brainchild of curator Stefan St-Laurent, this show brings together photo-
journalistic and foto-documentation of performance art, the link being that all
the images look at the human plight to survive and to fight for freedom.
It’s a welcome relief to see such a well thought out, innovative group foto show
in Ottawa. Much of the time we Ottawans interested in photography are subjected
to group shows based on the most spurious criteria, mostly (in my recollection):
What’s available, who are my friends/clients/patrons and how many images can
we squeeze into the available space.
I won’t get into the details of BODIES IN TROUBLE here, since Peter Simpson, of
The Ottawa Citizen, has done such a great job of illuminating this show on his
blog. Please jump to here and read up. (You’ll have to scroll up to the top. The
only way I could figure out to link directly to this particular post was to leave a
comment and then link to that.)
Here is a link to SAW Gallery. If you are in town before it closes on October 3
I highly recommend you get down there and soak this up.