Friday, 4 February 2011

Photography & when to wear socks in bed

After receiving an email from my camera club informing me of a photo workshop run by 'photoactive' The article was interesting but did not leave a lasting impression, However the title stuck in my mind and my imagination took over like a game of word association.
Socks in bed - Cold -  Camping - Lake district - Tourists - Fellwalkers - Boots - Socks
I could see the picture in my mind. High on the fells beside a small tarn, the c The sun is low on the horizon lighting the tent but throwing the camper into shadow. The camper has set up his small tent and is heating soup over a small stove. The gas flame burns blue. Inside the tent his sleeping bag lies uncurled on a thin sleeping mat. The bag is dark blue. Lying on top of the bag are a pair of bright red thermal socks. There is a contrast here between the cold outside and light suggesting warmth inside. I would be unlikely to capture this image without setting it up. But perhaps simply thinking this will make me look for possibilities where I may not have looked previously. All this from a single sentence!  Of course, I could go down the route of pseudo reality but would I find that as satisfying? At lot of questions are raised at this point, am I trying to document, is this social documentary, what is documentary? What about ethics, do they come into this? Am I misleading the viewer?

Ten years ago I worked with battered women in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Not all of the women were Ethiopian nationals, some were expatriates. They did not want to be photographed and I was not there as a photographer. The following image was produced this year in England. The image of the woman does not document an incident a time or place in reality, however the battered woman in black represents a reality. The photograph is a self portrait taken after I acquired a black eye while working out at the gym. A long way from the subject it represents, does it work with story…..what do you think?

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