pressmen performance and photography

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

from discussion in2point8 magazine

A discussion with Nils Jorgensen, "Q: I’ve mentioned elsewhere here (or at least I thought I did) that there are two strong and particular streams in street photography: the Sander/Arbus/conversation side and the H.C.Bresson/Winogrand/candid side. Can you talk a bit about how you ended-up on the moment-based Winogrand side? Have you done much conversation-based portrait work, or is it always candids?

A: Getting involved and talking to people is simply not the way I like to work, nor has it ever occurred to me to do so. It is not in my nature to approach people unless forced to for some reason. It could be that early on I was too embarrassed to approach people, and have simply kept working like that ever since. But the truth is I don’t really want to disturb the flow of life around me. I much prefer waiting and hoping for something to happen. It’s also much simpler. For me the whole point of photography is not to interfere with what is happening, or might be about to happen. It could be more interesting than what I might have in mind anyway. If nothing happens, that’s just too bad." An interesting dichotomy? I think the situation is far more complex than this. Can one be a fly on the wall? Invisible? Can the attempt to try and be invisible lead to actually being more obvious.

I don't have a perfect answer. As Pressmen working in the style of fake/spoof/comic/digital paparazzi we tend to use what might be called a conversationalist approach. But that can allow us the conditions to move to a more candid approach. I suppose it is all about flexibility and feeling the correct way on each individual job.


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