On photography and human nature- Part I

Hi and thank you for reading.
The following essay provides a very personal input and therefore should be taken with the appropriate seriousness. ;)
Let’s be excellent to each other.

On photography and Human Nature

I should begin to state, as a manifesto of intents and drives, that art is my catharsis and photography is an art to me. What fascinates me so much is the ability to capture an instant and preserve it forever.

Once I was watching ans interview with António Lobo Antunes, one of my favorites writers and he suddenly said _ “we only die when the last person that remembers you dies as well”_.
Just like that. Piercing, simple, effective, powerful words that were decoded in my brain with the strength of an epiphany.

As such, photography to me is, to a large extent, a very effective way to fight mortality, to make something linger. Preferably while preserving beauty, ugliness, the very essence of human nature. How we interact with each other. How we stand in Life.

How do we capture human nature?

By observing and analyzing idiosyncrasies we can anticipate behaviours and we can know what to expect to find in body languages related to specific social ecosystems. This is particular useful, in a pragmatical way, to street photography.

On body languages in Street photography and social ecosystems

If I want to capture tiredness and stress, I will roam a busy street where commerce is the main activity.
If I want to capture distress and sadness I will stand still in a large train station. There’s so much sadness on farewells and goodbyes.
If I want to capture easy living and readers I will enjoy a coffee in a café.
If I want to capture sexiness and the body languages of sexual innuendos I will hit a club.
If I want to capture danger I know exactly which alleys to roam, where unemployment and drug trafficking take place.

So learning how to observe and what to expect is an important part of the observer’s work. Unless you’re a point and shooter.
Having the advantage of understanding social behaviours and how to predict body languages does not take away the beauty of spontaneity nor is that possible at all: we are unstable and unpredictable beings and those very same idiosyncrasies are what makes us unique. But we do have a common trend: we usually react and behaviour/act according to our social ecosystem, responding to the stimuli of our ecosystem’s public structure. No matter how dysfunctional it may be.

End of part one.

The technical goodies will follow later on.
Being fairly new to photography (since January 2008, when I bought my first dSLR) and enjoying the painful (very much so) rewarding effort of self-learning I have developed my own method on digital developing my photographs. I have taken over 100 000 photos in two years (about 97 000 are bad!) and I am slowly building a solid work in amateur photojournalism, street photography and urban life.
There’s so so much to learn, so so much to discover. Still I will share with you what I have learnt, should anyone care to read. I hope my tips can help new artists like myself coping with failures and expecting some success.

The learning curve is very hard but it’s an enjoyable one.

My body of work on RB will grow as this will be from now on my active internet site.

I will be writing three articles soon:
one on HDR photography, where I will provide my workflow and where I will reveal the technique I have developed;
one on street photography where I will reflect upon the philosophy that drives me to it. I will also share with you my basic workflow on how I develop my photos using Adobe Lightroom.
one on street portraiture and my “Poverty Series” available soon in RB, where I will provide my insight on how I approach my subjects and what my intentions are.

Thank you for reading.

Journal Comments

  • Andrea-Reyes
  • damien-c
  • FacetEyePhoto
  • damien-c
  • fiorello
  • damien-c
  • David Haworth
  • damien-c
  • damien-c
  • absinthFenix
  • Eric Scott Birdwhistell
  • Streetgrapher
  • Jari Mäntylä