London Street Photography By Michael Wayne Plant

Projects – photography.

Career development is something we all need to think about as photographers.

I have been busy behind the scenes, working on what I need to do to move my work (i.e. projects) forward. I now have a working outline for what I want to achieve over the next few years and an ambitious goal that will see me produce a series of smaller project books and ultimately a larger overview book of the area of photography that I aim to work within. Those of you who know me, know that I am interested in how our economies function and how capitalism works. I am aiming to make a visual document of capitalism that explores (and I hate using that word {“explores” see this article by JM Colberg} in relation to photography, but I have not quite found another that works for what I want to say here) the processes of capitalism.

Words we use to describe photography are important. Do I document anything, or am I as a photographer only making a visual artefact that is filtered though my sense perceptions without full knowledge of what is happening in the world. Questions asked often are, what is photography? What does it do? What can it achieve? All philosophical questions, that some minds far smarter than mine have tried to answer. I can only answer what I see, from my perspective, which for me is that of a practitioner, a photographer. Remember, a photographer has to be interested in something. You are using photography to communicate ideas and visual information, describing something visually and if that something is anchored in the real world, you have not altered it. But you have, by just being there and observing something, by choosing where to stand while you make the image, by choosing when to make the image, a moment earlier or a moment later the arrangement of facts (things) within the photograph will be different. We often call this composition, but it is also how photography works no two moments are the same and we change the moments by our gaze (presence). The convention that a lot of Magnum photographers use, is to make images where the subject is not looking into the lens of the camera, so that as the viewer of the photograph we also feel that we are present and not changing the situation. Yet this convention also lies about what is happening because photographs are a social construction that the photographer created and we are only ever supplying a fragment of information to a viewer. The beauty of photography is that that fragment of information contains a lot of visual information, that takes time to register, digest and permeate our perception, in far more than we can actually remember, that if you had been there at that precise place and point in time, from that exact angle of view oh and to complicate matters with the lens that was on the camera at the moment of image capture. We have to remember that a camera has monocular vision, whereas we have two eyes or binocular vision, which is why we can see depth and yet a photograph is only a two dimensional representation of the reality we saw at a given moment in time.

Oh it is all very complex, and yet we make more images all the time and the number of images that we create is only increasing. Which is why I believe that there is a place for photographers who are visually literate to be able to contribute to the visual language of our times as we know how to tell stories and also share them with an audience.


Trafalgar Square, Street Photo.


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