Photography should not be what you see, but what you make others see

In use or for show?

In use or for show?

The French artist Edgar Degas said:  “Art is not what you see, it’s what you make others see”. And so it should be with photography.

It is inevitable that in photography what you ‘make others see’ will be a variety of things because  your images will always be open to multiple interpretations. Indeed you could say that the viewer is as active in creating meanings to an image as the photographer that took the image is. For me it is one of the great joys of photography that it provides the ability to open another person’s eyes and take them on a journey with you by exploring these different interpretations that even you as the photographer might not quite have realised.

As an example it’s very easy when you are in a picturesque spot to use your camera to capture the usual tourist viewpoints – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes however it’s more interesting to create images that ask the viewer to question things or to maybe plant ideas that ‘make’ them see the subject from another point of view.

Here are a set of images from a day spent around the harbour at Brixham in Devon. I could have chosen to capture some of the classic views of the harbour, the fishing boats, the houses stacked up on the hillside, a nice sunset. Here though I’ve focussed in on a few details of life and scenes around the harbour which pose questions as much as creating wall candy.

What's his story?

What’s his story?

What's their story?

What’s their story?

A door to...?

A door to…?

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