OjodePez Photo Meeting Barcelona is an international photography meeting organised by La Fábrica and La Virreina Image Center inspired by OjodePez magazine.
The meeting aims to spark dialogue and debate between specialists, photographers and participants with an interest in documentary photography.
I reaffirmed this idea listening the master class of Joan Fontcuberta. He made an accurate reflection about the work in process of different artists that are exploring what, no more than a decade ago, was called a “copia disconforme”. In English would be something like not being agree with the result of a developed (film) photography, usually because of a technical problem from the Laboratory. Fontcuberta used that analogy to present works where the lack of quality in the images was the main characteristic or the style of the projects. A good example is the Coca Cola campaign called “Let’s look at the world a little differently”
“Here is the funny thing about Photography. Sometimes, just occasionally, someone at the photograph look at the viewer and it works! And this is the case whether the look… looks! That’s the mystery of photography, that’s why I am so excited about being a photographer. You never quite know how you are gonna get a good picture.” Martin Parr
And after listening that, I found myself with this photo (right) and of course, I shot it ;)
Martin Parr Lena Prieto
Who decides where the Magazine will be sold is the distributor not the Graphic Editors. These ones like Mauro Bedoni (COLORS), Erik Vroons (GUP), Andreas Müller Pohle (European Photography) or Arianna Rinaldo (Ojodepez), who know really well which is their target and have a great vision, don’t know where their printed editions are gonna be sold. Is so common though, that the potential customers ask where they can buy the new number and the editors just don’t know what to answer. That doesn’t make any sense to me if, after all that work defining which is their tendency or style, they can not even decide to offer the Magazine to the profile of customer who can be actually interested. So, they not only lose those customers who are already interested, but those ones who could be their new demand. Maybe it is just a symptom that the printed editions are in decline.
I felt completely identify with Martin Kollar talking about his work in progress and his future projects. We are agree in the opinion that having a clear idea of what one wants to show is crucial to have a good result. One must knows what wants to show and visualize it somehow before to shoot it.
But that doesn’t mean that one knows clearly which the result will be. Furthermore, if the result of your work is exactly the same as you imagined from the beginning, you probably have been limiting the creative process and also being dishonest with the reality you have been surrounded by. Is also a humble attitude to let the reality to surprise yourself more than to find in the reality whatever you want to defend in your work. Letting flow the view as who you are more than the mind following your ideas of what you want to get. This process is probably much more enriching, not just as a photographer but as a human being.
“My experience tells me that when I think in the next project is always different of what it’s gonna be. The next thing I am going to do is just imagination and it ends up being something different. I mean, I don’t know how is it for other people but to me is a very strange combination between knowing perfectly what I want, how is gonna looks like and not really knowing what will be. What I do in the future is kind of correcting what I failed in the previous works. So is a kind of a continuation while I’m starting something new.” Martin Kollar
Maybe sounds obvious but I use to see a lot of people, include myself sometimes, trying to find THE PROJECT, THE IDEA. That thought that comes from outside. I mean, it is a result of wondering what the Magazines, The Contests, the buyers and the people in general is gonna like. What’s original or unseen. I really believe that this logic can works sometimes, but not in long term. Even talking about photojournalism (where ones must be loyal to the truth itself) one must focus in something that makes vibrate oneself. In other words, the cause to make that “click” has to be meaningful for the photographer. Even shooting an empty white room.
Then I listen Stanislas Guigui and I find the answer. Basically, he doesn’t give a shit about what the public likes or not. At least, less than others. He somehow, is talking about himself. The empathy that he has with the subjects he photographs takes his documentary to another level. The way he looks and connect with them is authentic because is like the air he breathes, they both need each other.
Guigui shares life with the people who takes photos of. They are part of his life. He never disconnects. His photography is who he is. He is not even trying to change the world or anything that naif. He needs to give voice and visibility to the people who used to be labeled as “marginal or different”.
Following that idea, I remember another thought from Fontcuberta: to be a good photographer you must be an obsessed person, and follow that obsession to the limits of the illness. Then, doesn’t really matter if you are talking about gypsies in Romania or a pot with flowers. You’ll be at least, more interesting than the rest who are just “Trying to find”. You “have already found”. The extreme of that could be Diana Arbus, and I also think that sometimes, limits are good to be respected.
Check the comment of Stanislas Guigui :)