Thursday, March 20, 2008

Revealing our inner thoughts

Pretty much the only thing I like to shop for are books. I could browse a bookstore for hours. Any other stores--clothing, grocery, trinket, or otherwise--pretty much drive me nuts.

So, it made sense that as I waited on my friend to make her purchase in World Market, I stumbled across a book.

It was a book of photography by Fredric Roberts. I was immediately drawn in to the colorful photographs of people. Their faces...the captured moments... the look in their eyes... There was something about the way he took the pictures...

I love taking pictures of people and seeking out new ideas for how to take them so I flipped slowly through the book studying the angles and the composition. I wondered what kind of lens I would need to capture the brilliance of color he captured. I tried to figure out exactly what it was that made his pictures so spectacular.

After slowly browsing through the book, I turned back to the beginning and decided to read the introduction by Arthur Ollman, the Director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego:

...He has recognized much of himself in the people he photographs. He sees them as his equal or even as his teachers. It is common for traveling photographers to "shoot down the social ladder." We have all seen the sad eyed children, the breastfeeding mother sitting in the dust of some underdeveloped, hopeless place. The photographer often feels he has in some way helped that individual by recognizing their plight. It is easier to see "the other" as victim than it is to see beyond the cliche. Roberts, however, uses the camera as a sort of scale. The subject, in the balance, is equal to the photographer and by extension to the viewer. What we see in the end is not something exotic as we might expect, but rather another version of someone not unlike ourselves.
Fredric Roberts recognizes the richness inside of the people he photographs. He recognizes that the people he photographs have something to offer and something to teach him. He discovers the wealth inside people that many miss. The photos seem to be seeking answers to his questions.

His photographs reveal a lot about him...the way he feels about people...the way he treats people...the way he interacts with people. You wouldn't think that would come across in a photo, but it does.

The way we feel about people is much more apparent than we realize.
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