Thursday, February 7, 2008

For Whom Do You Photograph?

That is the question. It is one that has haunted me since I put up this site. The answer changes dramatically from time to time. Originally, the answer was "for me," but you can't photograph for yourself. Well, maybe you can, but that is a very small and rare audience. Maybe I should say you can't blog for yourself. You might make art for yourself or your sensibilities and do fine. But when I put an image up, I think of many people. I put things up that won't offend my girlfriend too much. Maybe it is an affliction that other of you have. Writing or putting up the wrong photo can make my home life hell. Then there are my friends who are not a homogeneous group. They have certainly changed over the years. A few (but only a few) have had children, and that has changed them radically. Those without them, and especially the young ones, don't seem to understand that. I have friends in the publishing industry, in the fashion industry (is that right--"industry"? I am a pretentious idiot) and others who sell your future for a living. I photograph the people who might visit The Mexican website, whatever it is called. I get visitors from that site but the fellow who is The Mexican does not respond to me. I like people who do what they like as does the fellow Brian Nelson from Hotel Nudes, but I don't seem to be able to do that. The fellow at ArtNudes listed me and I get a lot of visitors from his site, but most of them do not stay long, so I do not target them. This fellow Merkley is a hoot. If you haven't been to his site, go. Not necessarily for the photographs which are great fun at first, but for the writing. He lives in S.F., I think, so it is easier for him. I'd like to see his site if he lived in Gary, Indiana. The list goes on (but it never includes my mother). And then there are the people with whom I work. Most of them liked the China and the Peru photos, but only one of them would even look at the one I have posted tonight. There is the doctor and lawyer team across the street and the liberal activist two doors down, and the City Commissioner the same distance in the other direction and the drug dealing trust fund family across the street. Since I have put up this blog, I have had a VERY DIFFICULT time making photographs. Who are they for? Audience is very, very important.

For whom did I make this? Writing teachers always tell students, "Show me, don't tell me." A good photograph should do the same thing. It should make the viewer feel what the photographer felt or had in mind at the time s/he snapped the shutter. I look at my photographs and wonder what I am making people feel.

But I have gone on too long with this. I will

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