I am a Documentary Photographer. A Visual Historian. My instrument is the camera, and the medium is photography.
Documentary Photography is a creative process through which one’s spiritual, intellectual and artistic talents come together to produce a work of art. A work of art that is the culmination of working through the artistic process.
Great photography is about “Seeing”. Either you have it or you don’t. The photographs that I take serve two purposes. They are for me and they are my contribution to world culture. My photographic work is also my way of playing. And “I play to win”.
Great photographic images come from within. It is expressed through the spiritual revelation of heightened awareness. It is a timeless experience. A great adventure.
Serious documentary photography is a combination of style, classic composition and complex symbolism that gives you entree into the various realms of consciousness. Pure in design and expression.
Mysticism comes through documentary photography. The longer you photograph, the more aware you become of it. “The magic of life”. Perceiving what the masses cannot. It is a portal through which true power and artistic knowledge can be obtained.
Documentary photography stimulates your intellectual and visual faculties. You have a strong need and want to explore exotic parts of the world that you have not experienced before. And to do so, you must possess the undaunting passion, ambition and unswerving vision that is never subjugated to inferior spirits.
The idealism of documentary photography demands that you must be both an insider and an outsider. You must get inside the spirit of the image, while remaining an outsider so as to maintain your artistic independence.
As a self taught photographer, I keep an open mind as I walk about the streets in search of images. My images come from street life, art and fashion. All through a heightened awareness. The interplay of light and darkness adding depths of meaning to the images.
The next phase has to do with the social implications of your photographs. The commentary you are making on society via your intense observation. The impact your photographs will have on culture and public policy. Such as was seen during the depression era when Roy Stryker guided the photographers to document America for the Farm Security Administration. And also when documentary photography was a vital tool used in the Civil Rights movement, anti-Vietnam protests and other aspects of the 1960’s Cultural Revolution.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Roy DeCarava, Jacob Riis, W. Eugene Smith, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Lewis Hine, Robert Frank, Ernest C. Withers, James Van Der Zee, were among the greats from previous generations. They produced great humanistic photography. Illuminating the trials and tribulations of their fellow man as they explored various cultures around the world.
One’s photographic talent also illuminates the directorial talents of the photographer. All of the aforementioned were great directors. Although movies are grounded in artificial images and documentary photography images are documents from reality, as a work of art, both tell a story meant to evoke spiritual, philosophical, political and cultural feelings and thought. Photography will always be the major influence on cinema since a movie is about telling a story via still and moving images.
The many new stories to be told will come via the new media networks that are continually being introduced. For photography, it is dedicated websites and books.
Photography is undergoing a stunning rate of expansion. There are over one billion cameras in use today around the world. The internet is where most of the images will be seen. Through marketing and the exploitation of new technologies, television, smart phones, I-Pads and other tablets, digital picture frames, interactive home and office systems, spatial photography, etc. tens of millions in profit will be made.
Film will be gone from the world market by 2030. From one billion rolls sold in the United States in 1999 to 20 million in 2011. It is clear that the masses have moved on. You will only be able to get film from specialty dealers around the world. In today’s world, photographers involved in the fields of documentary/photojournalism, fine art, nature, travel, fashion and museum still use film.
Digital or film. It doesn’t matter. What counts is the final product. Consumers of photography do not care how the images were created. The final product is all that matters. The complete realization of your talent and ambition. That’s it. nothing more. Nothing less.