Photography, at least for me and my intentions, needs to be a pursuit undertaken without company. I need to have the opportunity to be absorbed in my surroundings, my thoughts and the potentialities of connecting with either of them in a meaningful fashion.
I find it terribly hard to photograph when I am in the company of others, particularly the company of those people who mean a great deal to me. It can make me feel uncomfortably guilty for failing to give them the full attention that I feel they deserve. I wander off, both physically and mentally; I stop abruptly at what must appear to be the most unlikely of places; I linger listlessly, waiting for something to move or for the light to change.
Generally, if anyone is with me they will either wait confusedly, albeit patiently, or they will keep walking and lose both me and the thread of any conversation we may have been having beforehand. Not the most garrulous of people at the best of times, holding a camera turns me into something not too dissimilar to an apparently inattentive mute, content to wander aimlessly, listening to the fresh air betwixt my ears. Fair enough, it may be conjectured that I could feel any company would be a distraction from my engaging fully in the photographic act, but I am quit capable of being distracted by people with or without a camera near by, and those people in whom I enjoy companionship are always a welcome distraction. If I’m honest, there is an element of both in the situation. I don’t like to ignore people nor do I like to miss photographic opportunities.
No, I need to be alone in this. And in being so, I can find my own way in things, I can develop the singularity of pursuit that might look aimless and uninteresting from the outside, but which from the inside (of head, of camera) is the key to discovering the beauteous idiosyncrasies of detail, of pattern, of social observation and of physical interaction with the world.
I may like to be alone when photographing and I may lack the requisite boldness of character to photograph people in any situation but I am far from despondent when I realise that I am surrounded by the world in its ample and generous beauty.
“No place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film”.