Published by Bluecoat Press
Edited by Grant Scott
Featuring Jessica Backhaus
What Does Photography Mean to You?
In this book 89 professional, award-winning photographers from around the world explain what photography means to them.
A simple question but its simplicity of language is deceptive. I have discovered that the reality of such an enquiry is that it forces the photographer to whom it has been addressed to question the very essence of their relationship with a medium that provides them with a creative outlet that is a visual representation of what they think, believe, experience, and wish to convey. It also introduces reflections concerning outcome versus intent, success versus failure and recognition versus anonymity. It is a question that goes deep.
My decision to approach photographers and ask them to answer such a question was based upon a personal desire to explore my relationship with the medium of photography and visual storytelling. The responses were generous, illuminating and honest. Often raw in their passion, considered in their introspection. Most importantly, themes began to develop, themes of approach, intention and desire. The consistency of these themes surprised me but also reassured me that my understanding of photography had synchronicities with the people whose images I admired and was interested in.
Storytelling is a constant foundation for many photographers as is the importance of collaboration. Many reveal a love/hate relationship with the medium, detailing the torment they often feel as part of their photographic process. Others felt the need to place their practice today into the context of their journey, reflecting on those photographers whose words and images informed their own understanding of the medium. Some are up-beat others more melancholic in their presentation, but all are passionate, informed and engaged. Their words force the listener to stop and take stock, they force self-questioning, reconsidering pre-conceived understanding. They make you think.