For those that never grow old

For those that never grow old

To Mona, for her birthday

4 thoughts on “For those that never grow old

  1. Why growing up, as a photographer I mean… Astonishment is a strength. Nice picture indeed: they seem not to have fun? Maybe you should have gone closer to provoke a reaction?

    • Thank you for your comment. It is a most interesting one, since the curiosity about how the world looks photographed, together with the surprise of seeing it in two dimensions, are indeed very powerful driving forces. But after seeing thousands of photographs, you can spot the toddlers by the themes and the ways they deal with them. It has nothing to do with the quality of the photos, of course. And even when you reach a state where your senses are in perfect balance, you can’t tell or deside to stay there and not grow up. You only realise it later. You grow either you want it or not and you grow as a photographer as well. You seek to surpass your previous peaks and even if it doesn’t work all the time, it has become your way of life, your life.
      About the photo, it comes from an amusement park. I have noticed that with the recent advancements in “home entertainment” children are not easily pleased with amusement parks anymore. Photographing people and especially children is becoming difficult with every passing year. One of the biggest problems is the way they pose in front of the camera, so un-natural. That is why I keep my distance, to catch them in their own bubble.

  2. I struggle with this topic. I do not know if a reaction, noticing the photographer, could not be as (un)natural as it is now (not detecting the photographer at work). What’s the definition of ‘natural’? Is it reacting spontaneously without having seen the photographer? But still acting in this unnatural environment, that’s meant to make people happy? Robert Capa said : if your picture isn’t good enough, you’re not close enough. I’m sure – if you’re close to your subject – the picture will be completly different, but does this mean it will be less natural, not so precious? I’m just thinking about these things…

  3. As I have said, it is a most interesting topic. I guess when you make a step forward and reveal yourself, their re-action towards the environment is somehow replaced (most of the times) with the reaction towards the act of being photographed. Effectively you do not document their reaction towards the environment that initially made you lift your camera, but something different. They may both be good (or bad) and they may both be natural. The only way to record their re-action towards the environment and be closer, is to befriend them, making yourself and your camera an ordinary part of their life, thus invisible. Then you are closer without a response to the act of photographing them. Of course, if you want such a reaction, or if it is becoming in the photos this is something completely up to the aesthetics of the photographer.

    Every moment in life we act and react. The photographer choses which of these moments are worth capturing either for aesthetic reasons or/and documenting. I usually go for the aesthetic part, and rarely I present the other types of photograph I have taken.

    A reaction to an un-natural environment is natural if it is true. An un-natural reaction is true as well. As true as an un-natural environment. But either way , if the thing works you just don’t ask those questions. You just enjoy or/and wonder.

    Unfortunately , I can’t say what the photo would look like if it was taken differently, unless I have made another shot. You can only speak about what you have. The hypothesis is tempting and of course valuable only for educational purposes. Maybe you are good at a certain type of photography and not at the other. Who can tell if there are no photos?

    Robert Capa did specific kinds of photography. His aesthetic values were high but mainly for this particular kind of photography. His famous photos were photojournalistic, even if at that time they were breaking the traditional rules of photo journalism. And he did it when together with David “Chim” Seymour,Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and William Vandivert founded Magnum. How close was Capa’s photography with Bresson’s? What were their objectives? How this affected the way they shot things? Bresson photos had such variety! But still they are Bresson!

    Also, you have to take into consideration that Capa was living in a different age. A camera was rare and people were more open to photographers. Not fearing about “personal data”. His war assignments were dangerous for him and the ones that he photographed. He could be as close as he wanted because the fear of death is stronger than the fear of a photographer capturing your private moments. His portraits are powerful as well.

    Last but not least, it doesn’t matter how you take a photo. All that matters is if it works aesthetically. With the digital technology, photographers have the option to view almost immediatelly the result. This is good and bad. Good because you can try again if the subject allows you to, but bad if you have not mastered being completely focused on your subject (because you can shoot it again…) and eventually some subjects are fleeting, so you lose them.

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