Surfaces and Strategies Week 3 Strategies of Sharing / by Chris Chucas

Week 3  Strategies of Sharing

 Smoother from Manchester

Smoother from Manchester

I’m not a social scientist. Photography is a reflective art form to me, I’m grateful for the participants but ultimately I believe I am making these descions and curating them with many other skills to get the final product. That final product is born from me. It needs others to be involved and that’s also to my credit in seeking permissions and making people feel comfortable. To strip the photographer of credit or ownership is not only unfair but dangerous. It diminishes any responsibility to protect and care for the subject matter and lets images to be used for un ethical practices with no one accountable. 

I think the subject and my view of the subject are both equally important. No matter how hard we try we are bond to understand the world around us from our perspective. Every social interaction, trauma, childhood upbringing, education, class and a million other factors make up who we are and to try and act impartial or un biased is pointless which is why I don’t bother. I embrace the situations that I place myself in. Ultimatley the work produced is my view on the world around me and I try my best to be as sensitive well balanced and ethical throughout. I can’t claim to be perfect or impartial and I think we need to take advantage of our personal histories. Perhaps the person behind the camera is just as important as the image. I’m not a social scientist and never wish to be thought of as one. Maybe art is a license that allows us to take this selfish personal take on the world? I am always influencing my subjects weither I’m taking an image of my best friend drinking or a stranger holding a sign in the street. Me being me , a tall heavy white male is going to connote certain feelings to whomever I cross paths with. We cannot escape it. On a socioeconomically , cultural and macro level, the fly on the wall impartial photographer is no more. My subjects influence me with their awkwardness to be photographed or boldness to get involved. It’s something you have to constantly read and adjust to whilst working as an artist. 

To say that all photography is a collaborative act is a little to open ended a statement for me. I believe that there are definite collaborative elements to the work but no more so than in doing anything else. We are socially and culturally conditioned to view ‘photographers’ in a certain way depending on where we are. I think that ultimately photographers are humans interacting with other humans with instruments and not words. In my practice, I am interacting with the people around me. To say to collaborate would feel wrong to me. I make pre panned descions to go somewhere to use whatever I choice to make photographs. I gauge wheither or not its ok to do and I make the descion to shoot knowing that it could all go horribly wrong and someone be angry or upset. I think it’s important to take responsibility for shooting images and how we use them. I am a part of the community that I am documentaing so I would say that I am giving a platform to those that I am around. Ultimatly I am trying to live my life and document it along with others doing similar things. I try not to let it be the main concern at all times. It’s important to check in once in a while and question yourself but to have it at the fore front and constantly seek as much approval that your qualified and ok to make descions as a photographer can make you a better theorist or modern artist as opposed to a photographer. Nethier of which is better or worse than the other but it’s about perspective and intention. I think as photographers we need to trust our intentions and explore the world around us with the license of art permitting us to do so until we next look at ourselves.

I am trying to source images from other people but it’s very difficult acquiring images at all and then acquiring ones that actually say anything. I’m open to the idea but still feel like I’m building a motorway with crayons compared to working in a way I’ve spent years perfecting. I’m open to more collaborative methods but sceptical of it’s effectiveness it.