Reece Pickering- 1/02/16
When January rolled in, I was making small but marginal gains within my craft; my credibility as a photographer felt like a natural progression into what I will never describe as a job, but more so a lifestyle to which I was now submersed.
What began as taking photographs whilst travelling had instead transcended into photographing people which I would never had the opportunity of approaching in my past life as a police officer.
My work as a photographer had given me a new lease on life, a seemingly unending urge to never remain still, though I’m constantly told to slow down.
In a previous life I would take over 300 frames, with little knowledge as to why I was even taking the photographs.
The hardest question was at first being asked by my mentor(s) “It looks pretty picture, but why did you take the photograph?”.
This is one of the most defining questions I have been asked, as a photographer, and one of the most difficult to answer. The reason being that most simply take hundreds upon hundreds of frames each day with little knowledge of their intention in the first place.
You could take the most incredible photograph of the Empire Estate building, with the best camera (which is completely irrelevant unless you are a hobbyist photographer) with HDR filters and bracketing blah blah blah. But with a lack of intention or narrative behind the image, it becomes nothing more than another 1 of 100,000,000 frames on the Getty Images pile.
I write about this because the natural progression I previously spoke of was that I’m now able to confidently answer that question, of why I make visual decisions; whether that may be aesthetically with the backdrop, to the lighting used, colour tones, styling, props.
Beginning with no visual identity in photography, it’s hard to begin knowing where you will sit within the industry, or whether there is even a space waiting for you.
But this is the beginning in which you begin to draw on past experiences, as photography has an incredible way of prompting self-reflection like ‘what am I REALLY passionate about?’ or ‘What do I really do outside of photography?’.
This is why the first question of why you make certain decisions in your work can become so difficult to answer, and a process of continual self-perception ensues, from start to what will hopefully be the finish.
As I write this, alongside my work I read the work of Viktor E. Frankl and his book ‘Man’s search for meaning’; within the book the psychologist tells of his time being kept within the confines of a concentration camp.
Within the book, Frankl tells of how man will have much more chance of survival if he has a something to survive for. In this sense, the photographer must always find a reason behind his/her work, and when this is questioned; the courage to continue the lifestyle of being a photographer is questioned.
This is where many stop.
So in effect, the person’s very existence as a photographer is being questioned, which to me is the most devastating yet satisfying quality of living the life of a photographer as you are free to prove the odds wrong and create beautiful work, whether you choose to do so depends entirely upon you.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
With this in mind, I now process my photographs with the intention of ‘creating’ a moment or a scene, as opposed to capturing or documenting an occurrence.
Such consideration for subject matter has no doubt came through my education as a photographer and has since completely changed the way I see the world, in both a perceptual and visual sense, but why?
Because I drew upon my past, upon all of my experiences and anecdotes and eventually came to adopt a style in which is both surreal and contemporary, characterful but moody.
It’s a visual presence in which I am now recognised.
My photographs are a pure inner perception of how I want people to see the world which I do.
Past experiences and passions have brought me to a place in my career in which I could not feel more natural, a world in which has most recently brought me to meet the most incredible people, people who I would not have had the chance to meet had I only not taken the risk.
It’s a beautiful start to the year.