England GB - based photographer; digital & 35mm film. ©2019.
I sometimes wonder if I walk because it enables me to take photographs, or I photograph because it gives me the chance to walk about? Maybe it is both, or neither…
Whatever the reason, I just know that I enjoy the combination; a freedom to photograph the (here and now) as I see it; to spend what time I have on this earth capturing a solitary-tree, a portrait, an underpass shot from a passing train, three chairs in a shop display, or simply, rolling fog across a distant hillside; it matters not, only that I took the image and will always have it to look back on is enough. My approach is fairly eclectic/incidental, accidental even, I like to photograph the infinitesimal moments of life; our minds are selectively porous, they don’t always remember the memories they ought to, the memories that are instant and fleeting, remembering only the bigger moments, the events and junctures of substance; the former are the things that tend to dwell in my eye. In other words – I photograph moments I want to remember.
There is an asian theory known as ikigai 生き甲斐. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that roughly translates as – a reason for being. It comprises two words: Iki (meaning life), and Kai (worth, benefit) spoken as Gai. In effect it means the things that indicate the source of value in one’s life, and is similar in some ways to the French phrase – Raison d’être. As an opposite of western culture in general Ikigai doesn’t translate to things of wealth or success, on the contrary, it manifests itself in the small pleasures of everyday life. To me, photography is my Ikigai, or at least one of them; it is a tag that I label myself with, waking most mornings and thinking – ‘what can I photograph today?‘ It seems like an agreeable way to live one’s life. Talking of tags, there are many handy-tags describing photographers who shoot mainly on the street: Documentary (both standard and social), snap-photography, travel and life-photography, candid, as well as the ever ubiquitous street-photography; although probably the one that best suits my needs and thought process that I have found so far, considering I shoot in other places too, is – Stroll Photography. The dictionary definition for stroll says:
‘to walk leisurely as inclination directs; ramble; saunter; take the air‘
Or to put it another way: trade shoe-leather for captured moments in time; I like the no-constraints feeling that it evokes, a freedom to wander around with camera in hand (a sort of photo-perambulation) and shoot what inspires; it has yet to be taken on as a universally recognised term, but for me, it is the one that works best.