In October 2007, I wrote a photographic manifesto which was intended to rescue my photography from my own mental and creative stagnation. It was intended to be ‘valid’ for the period of one year, and so after its lapse what I should have done is re-think the manifesto. But thankfully I was too busy taking pictures and enjoying myself.
So today, in an idle moment, I wrote myself a new manifesto, which, rather than set up rules for me to conform to, are intended to reflect what my aesthetics currently are, and to remind me to try to be mindful of them.
I’ve abbreviated it to five points, but I anticipate that I’ll reduce it even further. It’s intended to be a “living document”, though the core principles should remain inviolate.
- Be honest
- Introduce no complexity
- No shortcuts
- No compromises
Point by point, some explanation:
1. Be honest
This is rather simple. Do not tamper with the semantic content of a photo. Using tone curve control to alter or emphasise different features of an image is OK; adding or removing something is not. It’s related to sense of journalistic integrity. It’s not intended to be a point of pride, but a point of principle.
2. Introduce no complexity
A subtle point which I grasp intuitively, but which I have difficulty articulating. If an image is simple, then it is simple; if it is complex, then it is complex. If I can portray something simply, then that is preferably to portraying it with complexity.
3. No shortcuts
If an image requires that I travel 1000km, then that is what I shall do. If an image requires that I learn an entirely new skill set, then that is what I shall do. I will always strive for 100% quality, and while I recognise that no photo is “perfect”, that is nevertheless what I shall strive for.
4. No compromises
I would rather say no to a lucrative assignment than compromise my integrity, my honour, my principles.