Photography has become everyone’s game. It is a medium, that used through pure accident can produce pure beauty. With relative ease young teenagers are making a name for themselves. But with so much competition it is tricky to choose who makes the profit and who will gain fame.
With the advent and now proliferation of social media, photography is also becoming far more personal and intimate than before. But the intimate has all too often been dominated by a frivolous space made for fantasy where the individual is dramatic, gregarious or grandiose.
I wish not to de-value this form of escapism; it does provide a space for people to imagine themselves as something else and imparts a confidence for many to see themselves accessing various possibilities and alternative lives. The problem I see emerging is that with this proliferation of surrealism and fantasy the portrait of the working class person, child, mother, non-westerner, sick etc. situated in their own environment becomes under valued or rather not necessarily seen as an image where pride steps in. Instead these images often sit in the realm of ‘photojournalism’ where struggle and pain are the focus and pride is relegated to the realm of advertising, fashion or fantastical self-portraiture.
I acknowledge that this is not always the case but it is definitely a trend.
Below are a variety of portraits from a few photographers who, I believe, produce some beautiful images. Some are fantastical some are not and some could be seen as problematic. For those clearly capturing an individual in his or her environment there are questions that should be considered: Do they relegate an individual to their small box of limitations? OR Do they considered that individuals perspective and input? How much interaction / collaboration was there between photographer and subject? Does the subject in any way take pride or ownership over some aspect of their portrait?
PHOTOGRAPHER: Pete Muller
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jennilee Marigomen
PHOTOGRAPHER: Laina Briedis / Eros Turannos
PHOTOGRAPHER: Lucia Holm / Miss Lulu and The Teaspoon Shortage