Today we kick off a new feature where we ask photographic luminaries, such as today's candidate David Campany, “Why do you hate photography?”
Last week a student came to tell me she was following her boyfriend's process of having his new false eye made. She would photograph the whole thing - the optical tests, the manufacturing, the fitting, everything. It sounded fascinating. What did she want from me? "Can you tell me who else has made photographs about false eyes?" I'm weird enough to know of at least a couple of photographers who have, but what would this knowledge have benefitted her, really? Her ‘research’ is her boyfriend's experience, the specialists, the hospital, their relationship.
Andreas Feininger, a very versatile American photographer, once published a book titled Photographic Seeing. This was back in 1973, when the serious study of photography was beginning to take root in universities. He wrote:
There is no doubt that, as long as a student of photography is strongly motivated, i.e. seriously interested in a specific type of subject matter, he or she will eventually become a great photographer.
On the other hand, I have found again and again that people interested only in “photography” get nowhere. They go from photo school to photo school, take courses in photography, work as assistants to well-known photographers, read all the proper books, have an encyclopaedic knowledge of things photographic, own the latest and finest equipment - and never produce a worthwhile photograph.
When photography is only photography it isn't even photography. It's not necessary to hate it but it's not enough to like it.
Image - 'A Photographer's Grey Card, Correctly Exposed" © David Campany
— David Campany