A couple of weeks ago, my friend Eric came to town to visit and teach a mini workshop with me here in Seoul. He stayed for a couple of days, and somewhere during the couple of days I really had to have a think about photography.
What it is for me, now.
These photos were taken while we sat in an upscale cafe in the Hongdae district of Seoul. We talked about photography for a couple of hours. We often critique each other’s work. We often say don’t post this and don’t post that.
“You post too much.”
“It isn’t your best.”
But, what is my best? I’m not sure I care about what my best photos are. Photography has become something much different for me. “Finding” my best photo really isn’t what it is about.
Eric’s girlfriend Cindy. It was the first time I had met her that weekend. Interesting the people we meet through a mutual hobby.
Photography for me has become that. I don’t care about photos that don’t mean something to mean. I don’t care about photos that don’t represent something to me.
A memory or an emotion.
A feeling or a connection.
Not someone else’s, but my own. I’ve become selfish.
I’ve become selfish in that the photos I want to take aren’t for anyone else. I don’t give a fuck about pleasing anyone else. It isn’t the point, nor should it have ever been.
I won’t be the best photographer in the world this way, nor do I care. I care about memories.
A photo used to be like an object to me. It was something materialistic. Street photography was like shopping. I was just going out trying to find the best sale or product. A photo wasn’t any different to a t-shirt I bought and forgot about or threw out.
A material thing.
People matter. Relationships matter.
The photo above of me represents a moment I would have never thought to have captured before. Why ask someone to take this photo of me? Well, I will remember this someone and this moment. I want to remember the relationship; the moment.
These photographs aren’t difficult to take. You don’t need anything. You don’t need a ten thousand dollar Leica to take them.
The photographs aren’t difficult to take, but, the moments are fleeting. They are moments I’ll never get back.
Isn’t that why we have cameras? Photography?
Three of my favorite photographs from the past year are far from the “best.” Maybe Eric would say they aren’t worth posting. Maybe I would have thought so before.
We have cameras to help remember. These are my friends. Important people to me.
These moments are important.
Because they are mine.
And moments I want to remember.
We, as photographers, spend our time trying to find beauty and meaning in external things. We search for moments to capture and call ourselves documenters. Why? Why anguish over the search to find other people’s interesting moments while forsaking your own, the ones that should be most precious to you.
Looking for moments outside of the ones I live interests me very little anymore. Making commentaries even less.
Distractions.They just distract me from looking at, appreciating, and photographing the things closest to me. The people.
They really do and really will,
Seoul, South Korea.