What do you make of the ‘mirror’ and ‘window’ analogy? How helpful is this in understanding the nature of photography?
I think that the ‘mirror and ‘window’ analogy really helps to break photography down to a very basic level, as it could be said that all photographers are showing you a window of the world as they see it and also mirroring their own vision, mood or feeling in the context of how they choose to show this. Photographers such as Niépce, Fox Talbot and Daguerre showed the use of windows both physically and metaphorically from the very beginnings of photography. Mirrors have also been widely used in photography in the physical sense from the first ever ‘selfie’ by Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna in 1913 to Brassai, through Brassai’s image ‘Couple Souriant, Balmusette des Quatre Saisons, Rue de Lappe, 1933’ to Elliot Erwitt’s California kiss, 1955.
My own images tend to both show a window of my world and how I want my viewer to see it and I do like to use different photographic equipment and techniques to achieve the effect I am trying to get across in my work. I believe by doing this I am reflecting my own personality into my images. I have been inspired by a lot of photographers and I think I draw on this when taking my photographs and think this is also reflected in my work.
Another metaphor which you often hear associated with photography is ‘Eyes are the window to the soul’. This is certainly true in the iconic Steve McCurry image, ‘Afghan Girl’. In portrait photography it’s the eyes more than any other part of the image which draw us in and make us feel connected to the person.
My motivation derived from working in a professional photographic laboratory after leaving college. I loved the whole process of creating photographs which made me realise that the camera is just part of the image making process. Through teaching photography I have myself learnt a lot more about the history and evolution of photography and I am fascinated with both historical processes and the latest technology and how photography is continuing to evolve.
Photographers are often using their images to highlight environmental issues such as global warming, but I am interested in looking at the environmental impact of photography itself with both the current digital technologies and historically through analogue photography and processes. I would like to explore the most eco-friendly approach to taking images using both current and past technologies.