Politics and Photgraphy

Here is a thought that for me won’t go away. If I follow my thoughts on politics, I end up on the left of contemporary debates by political parties, which is were I believe most people end up being. Yet, if we listen to the media talk and look at what has happened in both UK and the USA our politics has moved to the right and what was once the crazies on the far right is now nearing the centre right of political thought. Yet I am convinced that the average person does not want to have high inequality and would in fact prefer to have a world not dominated by the market, where every thing (and I mean everything including your health) is subject to market pressures and the resulting need to make money. This is not a world that I would want to leave for our descendants, so to the point of this post today. I find myself thinking about politics and how we structure our lives as entwined, what we do in our day jobs, the small little sacrifices we make each day to earn our money often only re-enforces the dominance that neoliberal capitalism has over our lives. This is not something that I want to do, yet I need to earn enough money to be able to work freely as a photographer. Right now, I mix photography with teaching, which came about because of a decision about 6 years back, made when I was looking to change my photographic area of work. I wanted to be free to pursue my own interests though photography, without needing to make money as a photographer.  After looking at a lot of the photographers that I admired, I realised that they actually made money from teaching photography, as often a lot of them are considered  art photographers who also teach in universities.

Anyway, I digress back to topic. Politics and photography. As a person I want to critique capitalism, because I have come to the conclusion that it is not doing the majority of the worlds population much good. In fact, I think, if you are not from a privileged family background, you are probably doing worse economically than your parents. This is what I want to be doing with my photography but I just don’t seem to be making any head way with this in my photography. I personally need to engage with issues that use social documentary photography techniques. I want to tell these stories, yet this becomes an old adage that by telling stories you can elicit positive social change. But here is the problem, as I am not quite convinced that this model actually works anymore. When our media is so dominated by elite economic interests, the chance of getting those stories told is greatly reduced. Another factor is that we are now, so often are left feeling (and/or rendered) powerless, because of the predominance of neoliberal thought throughout the social system that has been created. Do I have any answers? Not yet, but I am at least thinking about it for now, I am working on changing/developing my ideas, hopefully to allow me to develop new ways of working and thinking about social and political issues, that I want to describe with my photography.

Now here comes the rub! If I do this actively, will it affect my chosen area of commercial photography.

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