Irah at the Pool, Sorrento 1992
Apart from the subjectivity aroused by a photographers vision, I sometimes ask myself to what extent we can talk about a ‘representation of reality’ when photographing people. Most people start to pose as soon as they become aware of the presence of a camera or see a Smartphone pointed at them.
This ‘camera consciousness’ makes, you, the photographer, influence a situation merely by your presence, manipulating reality at the moment you point a camera at someone.
Of course, you decide when the shutter will be released, which story is going to be told, but through interaction with the subject, you become ‘visible’ as well. Unavoidable.
That’s why I think photographers shouldn’t behave very conspicuously or put themselves in the foreground, trying to push their ideas about expression and emotion upon someone by means of loud and bragging direction when they’re planning to bring out the specific strength and character of the people they photograph.
When you are too extroverted, giving the impression you have to prove yourself, not open to the person you’re photographing, a kind of photography will arise in which your own behavior will be reflected in the person you’re depicting, which will have an determining effect on your pictures.
Think for instance of the ex-Vogue photographer Terry Richardson who went all the way concerning this, and nowadays appears in his pictures in person.
Maybe only very inconspicuous, almost invisible photographers like Jane Bown, Vivian Maier, Robert Frank, Lartigue or Brassaï have been able to make pictures of people without interacting as a reaction to their presence. This made it possible for them to really show something of the other and his behavior, where in fact – albeit in a very different way from that described above – something of their character becomes visible as well.