Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Changing Times

Photography became prominent in my life while pursuing a Master's degree in Journalism Studies at the age of 46. When writing my thesis on documentary photography, one of the works I warmed to most was 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men' by James Agee and Walker Evans, a book that, interestingly enough, I had acquired twenty years earlier but had no real recollection of. While my thesis progressed, I also became aware of the fact that as a youngster I had entertained the idea of becoming a photographer — something I had almost completely forgotten. Differently put, quite a lot of things seem to lie dormant for a long time before eventually coming to the surface.

In 1999, the only photography that interested me was documentary. And, especially photojournalism, "pictures with words", that is. This had doubtlessly to do with my enthusiastic and extraordinarily supportive thesis supervisor Daniel Meadows, but also with the fact that I understood documentary to essentially be storytelling which at that time I held very dear. Yet even then, I wasn't a fan of sayings such as "a picture tells more than a thousand words" for I do not think that pictures tell stories, I happen to believe that what we see in pictures we bring to them.

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