this guy's in love with you

This is the second consecutive year I've exhibited for the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) festival, and the first time I've entered images—extracted from a series of seven—into some awards. Returning from a recent trip, I was very surprised to learn that one image, trellis, had been nominated for two awards (see previous post).

Two Fridays ago I attended an award ceremony and was thrilled to receive the SALA Advertiser SA Business Contemporary Art Prize—apparently the first photographer to have done so—for the image, Trellis (below). The following day, five images from the series, Hikari 505, received a 'silver with distinction' award in the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) South Australian Contemporary Photographic Artist category. It all seems to have happened rather quickly, and made me think more about what it is that drives my work.

18 months or so ago I attended an AIPP weekend seminar, When did you fall in love with Photography? And with that question in mind, I've recently examined my desire to photograph. Regular readers know that I've found 'time' to be a significant theme. But that doesn't quite cover it, and I've been left wanting a more comprehensive explanation.  Here's a little of what I've come up with...

I'm not always so quick on the uptake when it comes to people's motivations and behaviour, but like many I find it easier to understand other people's motivation than appreciate my own. After engaging my grey matter to figure what it really is about photography (not just taking photographs but also viewing others) that appeals to me, the answer I found was a surprise. It's love.

I imagine some readers scoffing because surely the work of wedding, family, and baby photographers is ultimately about the money, right? Yes, there's that, but imagine making a living from invoking a sense of 'love' in the images one takes. And isn't landscape, nature and scientific photography ultimately revealing one's love for a subject, and sharing it for those unable to see it first-hand—there's love there too, for those who admire other people's work.

But what about documentary, war, and crime-scene photography? I think about the photographer's compassion for their subject, or desire to bare witness to ghastly acts to raise broader awareness, or help end suffering sooner, or prevent it from occurring again, or indeed, achieve justice. What motivates that if not a love of one's fellow humans?

I'm not naïve enough to think that most people who view my work like it. After all, it's first and foremost for my own satisfaction—to suggest otherwise would be disingenuous. But I know that some people like my work, even if they mightn't fully understand it, and I'm confident enough to declare that the seed from which my work springs is love.

Burt Bacharach and Hal David know me. This guy's in love with you!