Friday, 14 October 2016

Do you like it?

Since I started using a camera about 30 years ago, I've always taken pictures to please myself. I love putting things together in a composition within the frame, creating an image that I can take away and look at whenever I want.

And it still pleases me to look at my pictures - I'm not saying this because I think I'm a brilliant photographer, it's more that I like the pictures I take, or perhaps more precisely, I like the things I take pictures of, and the way I take pictures of them.

Showing in galleries lets me get an idea of whether people new to my work like the pictures. Or at least, find out what they think about them, and what they make them think about. That's one of the great pleasures of a private view for me, being able to talk about my work in a non self-conscious way. Here are people who have come to look at my work, and even if they don't like it, or have no interest in it, they might tell me why not.

In that kind of situation, with an audience of one or many that haven't seen my work before, I'm always a bit self aware and maybe defensive too. My pictures aren't necessarily 'normal', they're not flowers or fun images of my children, generally they're of things that are nothing special at all. Consequently, a few people just don't get it, I can tell they think it's all a bit of a waste of time.

Those people aren't wrong of course, art and taste is all completely subjective. I've been teaching photography in schools over the last couple of years, and one thing I try and get across is pleasing yourself, then no one can tell you their image is better or worse than anyone else's. I sometimes show them some of the most hailed, 'great' photographs that mean nothing to me.

Now I'm posting daily on Instagram, I have the immediate feedback of comments and likes on each and every picture. It can be interesting to see which images take off with Likes, and which ones you might call 'duds' in that context. And it's also interesting when people I know personally or photographers I follow like my pictures, as I can try to imagine why they liked that particular one.

So if you see me at my upcoming exhibition in London (Clerkenwell Gallery, 25-30 October 2016 - for full details click here), remember the answer to the question 'do you like it?' is one that has no wrong answer. Whatever you say, I'm interested to hear it!

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