Wednesday, 15 December 2021

I'm sick of photography for photography's sake

Like most in this digital age I spend too much time looking at photographs on-line. Either website galleries or YouTube videos. The more I look at 'photographers' pictures the less they interest me. As a comment I saw on Lensculture when doing this put it about photobooks; "Most photobooks these days seem to be made in the category: art for art’s sake. It unfortunately leads very often to much ado about nothing." That's how I feel about a lot of the photographs I see - from all areas of phtotography. be that the 'serious' art world or dedicated amateurs. They all seem to be making photographs which fit the ideas of their area as to what makes a good photograph. I've done it myself.

Back in the real world I tried to find a sheep dog trial on Sunday. It was supposedly signposted but I couldn't find the signs! The day wasn't as bright as I'd hoped, so it might have been a wasted trip in any case. As I climbed into the hills I climbed into cloud too, but that gave me hope that I might find something to suit my idea of landscape to show what the moors are like in that kind of weather. I'd hatched a Plan B by looking on Google maps and set off for a walk, intending to reach a broken down building. I didn't manage to get that far before the cloud lifted, which didn't matter because no sooner had I stepped on to the moorland track than I saw Lonks. I spent my time photographing them.

I left it a fraction too late to grab a shot of a raddled tup. He'd stood in a perfect pose looking at me as I approached, but as soon as I raised the camera to my eye he started to wander off.


 That's what sheep tend to do. Maybe I need to get a longer lens for sheep photography?


Although sheep 'portraits' are well and good as the cloud lifted I tried to get some pictures which said more about their place in the landscape, and the place of farming in it.

The juxtaposition of the rural, yet worked, landscape and the urban, industrial areas not too far away is something I am always trying to encapsulate in photographs.

Then there are sheepscapes, where the sheep are the subject but they are small in the frame.

All the while I try to make photographs which work as individual photographs, but which will also form a body of work which can be accompanied by text. That's very much the way I'm thinking about photography these days. But not in the 'photograph as illustration' way, the pictures and the text should have equal weight - either could stand alone, but work together to say more. That's sort of what I'm hoping to achieve if I ever get round to putting a set of pictures together on this sheepy theme.

1 comment:

Richard Parkin said...

I really like this set, it does chime with how I’ve seen sheep in the Dales in murky weather. I think you’re right about the words and pictures. In a more trivial way I’m always disappointed when some posts, say, an interesting landscape but fails even to say where it is. Or bird photos that just show a pretty bird but no context. Momentary interest is all one gets from them.