Why do I love photography? There’s an instant gratification that you don’t get with other mediums, like painting. With painting you can spend days, months, even years perfecting an image whereas with photography there is the immediacy of taking a picture and the challenge of replicating it, even if the image is different to what was there before!
I first became interested in photography as a teenager after watching a BBC documentary presented by Rankin called Seven Photographs That Changed Fashion. I admired the way he connected with the people in his portraiture, allowing him to capture their personalities rather than simply conveying mood and emotion. When I began taking pictures, I was full of ideas and inspired to try new things after looking at the works of artists like Ciro Totku, Massimo Vitali, and Michael Yamashita. Their use of colour, light, composition and moment are what encouraged me to take pictures in that style. As I’ve grown older the dilemma I
now face is trying to work out which photographic direction is worth pursuing. Abstract, sports, and landscape appeal because of their obvious aesthetics although there’s something to be said for photographing subjects where the meaning is more personal.
It was after reading Through the Lens National Geographic Greatest Photographs and Henri Cartier Bresson: Here and Now by Clément Chéroux, that I realized my preference is for travel photography. Through the Lens showcases pictures that capture the world and its amazing diversity by some of today’s best-known photographers, while Henri Cartier Bresson: Here and Now is a retrospective of his incredible body of work. Bresson was the master photographer who coined the expression “the decisive moment”, which references the point when the compositional elements of a picture come together in an unforgettable visual alignment. He worked the technique to impressive effect during his travels across Europe, America, China, India, and Africa and the pictures from that time brilliantly capture the lives and customs of those he photographed.
In my opinion Henri Cartier Bresson is one of the greatest picture takers of all time and my personal favourite. Having read about his life (check out Pierre Assouline’s excellent biography of the great man), I feel inspired by Bresson’s philosophies, his knowledge of design techniques and the way he used them in his work.
The way that Bresson gives meaning to his photography by viewing the world not only as it is but by looking for shapes and geometry that occur naturally in his surroundings, while always striving to outdo his earlier work, is what drives me to be a good photographer like him.