Within my current practice I would agree that my approach encompasses elements of the voyeur in the way that I explore environments and the people int hem in the hunt for light, composition and moments. In terms of the limitations of this approach, I often arrive at the conclusion that I work too fast and I’m often impatient. This may be the result of being a slightly hyperactive individual in addition to my practice being dominated by interactions between people and the paranoia of missing something.
When I see something with has the potential to make an interesting photograph I position myself and make decisions on the type of composition I would like to create, this will be partly based on the quality of light. I then wait for the interaction to occur before taking the photograph or moving quickly to get closer to make a better photograph. Within another context this may be considered highly odd. Holding a camera in doing this almost acts as a licence to justify my intentions.
This type of scenario is part of my approach to shooting weddings but I have found this relative to my project of the people of non league football. People see me mosey around and I ensure I make eye contact and make polite small talk, sometimes explaining my reasons for being there. This is where I soften up subjects before I take their photo, not always immediately after but I see, I remember and I will make a judgement on the relevance to my intentions. Sontag (1979, p.14) argues, “To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed”. I would confirm that within my documentary approach I am guilty of ‘violating them’ as Sontag argues, however I endeavour to engage in this process with a voracity or integrity based on the nature of my project which encompasses football as a form of activism. Essentially, I am of the subjective viewpoint which aligns with the motivations of the people I encounter. I turn them into objects of activism by capturing charged moments to which they are the object.
Although activism may be the overarching theme to my work the photographs I make are not obvious examples of activism. Sturken & Cartwright (2001, p. 93) conclude, ‘’Society possesses a multiplicity of gazes and looks to mediate power between viewers and objects of the gaze’. In considering this statement in relation to my project, I acknowledge that people will produce multiple readings of my work on a narcissistic level. They may feel that an element of cultural capital in a sense of stepping away from the mainstream by supporting a big, successful football club or watching the game on TV.
Sturken & Cartwright (2001) Practices of Looking. Oxford, Oxford University Press. 2001
SONTAG, Susan. (1973) On Photography. New York, Dell Publishing.