You need to believe in the story and what the message conveys, so much so that you are willing to bleed to get to the core of it. This is the difference between good photographs and evidence. That’s what I look for collecting evidence, for the present and for history. Dominic Nahr
This is an impressive quote and gives an indication of the commitment and determination a great photographer can have regards their work. Having a genuine passion and belief in something is necessary for any successful artist. I often ponder my own work and what legacy I will leave. Have I made an impact and created meaningful work that has made its mark. I am a jobbing commercial photographer meeting briefs and am very aware of where my work fits in and the role it has for the client and wider public. I wish that I could take part in projects or commissions that had greater political significance and created images that held the power to change minds, alter policies and bring greater awareness to the world. I went on the massive anti-Trump march in London on Friday 13th July 2018 and was so taken in by the incredible wave of collective emotion and desire to see change and prevent greater harm being done to this earth and to the people who inhabit it. There was an incredible energy throughout the day created by all the thousands of people and it was an amazing experience. I watched other photographers and wondered how would I approach this rally and what image would I strive to take that would encapsulate the message and emotion that day. Is it possible to say it all in one photograph? Perhaps its not and that we need to a collection of powerful images to convey the true magnitude of such events.
But for sure photography has incredible power and the ability to impact on people. Considering the Trump administration the one image recently that really caused people to sit up and take notice of what is happening on the Mexican border regards the plight of immigrants and the incarceration of their children was the image of the tiny 2 year old Honduran girl dressed in red crying at the feet of the border guard. This powerful image was taken by Pulitzer Prize winning Getty photographer John Moore and has had an immense impact on the world stage, going viral and affecting the opinions of millions of people. At the march on Friday a protestor had printed this image onto a massive card and marched holding it aloft through the street of London. I stood and looked at this giant image bobbing its way down Regent St through the throngs of people and paused for a moment to truly understand how this moment of time was caught in a fraction of a second. How the briefest of moments was frozen and now its held there and has a whole new life. It is now here for eternity and here in London the woman holding the photo aloft has chosen this one image to truly express her anger at the Trump administration and its harsh policies. I am fascinated at the on going journey this image will have like so many other powerful images in history.
Other striking examples of similar powerful images come from the Vietnam war and I'm sure without me even listing three memorable images now, many people could immediately come up with the same three photographs that swayed public opinion, shocked millions and have had a long life beyond that brief fraction in time when the shutter was released. The three images that come to mind for me right now which are of no surprise to anyone are: Eddie Adams image of the execution of the captain of the terrorist squad leader by Brigadier General Ngyun Ngoc Loan, secondly the heart breaking image of Phan Kim Phuc running from the napalm blast taken by Nick Ut and lastly the shell shocked American marine sat holding his rifle taken by the great Don McCullin. I list these images and refer again to John Moore’s image as I consider my own work and contribution to history. As Dominic Nahr eludes the willingness to get to the core of the story is what drives him. If I had more time I could write about one the worlds greatest documentary photographers W. Eugene Smith whose obsession and steadfast commitment to getting the story is legendary. Anyone who considers themselves dedicated to capturing the cause and feels they are working hard needs to read a little about his obsessive dedication to telling stories through his photography.
Well sadly at this point in time I am not engrossed with telling stories that change policies and affect million of people across the globe. I am fine with this to a degree as we can’t all be in a place in our lives to pursue such powerful reportage photography. But I do at least pride myself in taking each and every job very seriously (even though I may appear relaxed and jokey on the shoot) and I do strive to take memorable images that really tell the story and capture the mood of the occasion. This blog post is about a commission from Ralph Lauren to photograph the models outside their magnificent flagship Bond St. store celebrating the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter for the tournament and to celebrate this the store placed ball girls and umpires at the entrance welcoming shoppers in. Shoppers were then invited to guess the number of tennis balls in the cabinet to win free tickets to the tournament. The models were fantastic at interacting with the public, the shop as ever looked so splendid and with the heat wave continuing it was one of those beautiful days when London looked and felt truly magnificent.
My images will not be held aloft on any political marches (unless the Peoples Republic against the abuse and over consumption of Strawberries and Cream at Wimbledon gets their way and marches through London) and I doubt they will appear in any history books or change policy but I threw myself into this job and I hope I met the brief and created some great images for my client.