I am voyeur and I LOVE watching people go about their daily business. At night, I adore looking through open windows into people’s homes. I feel as if I am there with them (at least, almost). And this is why I keep my own shades down!
Perhaps this is why i am so taken by photography; photography is, after all, a voyeuristic medium. I like to look and am terribly curious. The origin of “voyeur” comes from the french, VOIR: to see. In fact, I have found myself looking so hard at both people and the environment around me that sometime I imagine others think I am staring. A spy or stalker I am not. If I were to be allowed in – into a home, into a soul – I would go. I want to open myself up so that I may dig deep inside, look, see, understand, and feel.
Charles Harbutt wrote in Travelog, “I became a photographer because photographers did have to be wherever they wanted to take pictures… And because there was some connection, inherent in the nature of the medium, between that place and its picture. And the viewers, despite any pitfalls or roadblocks put in their way, could still to some extent be there too. This has always struck me as somewhat amazing. That magic little black box enables one to leave, in a small way and for a short while, one’s own time and space and to occupy, maybe only superficially, another time and space: a then and there that really existed as well as a here and now. Photographs are both real images and imaged realities.”
Photographs permit us to “get in.” As a photographer I get a glimpse of the world as it presents itself. I allow my surroundings to wash over me; I stay as open and observant as I can – feeling with my heart and responding with my eye to the camera. I have only just begun to internalize this and thus believe that I am at a critical transition point. I concentrate on that which truly grabs me. This may seem obvious but really only comes to me when I do not give my attention to it. It is not easily put into practise; and it is a complete liberation. To have figured out that some of my “stronger” images (and the subjects which attract me), are of ordinary, everyday life, is a complete revelation. The details of the mundane call to me. They always have, in fact. I used to want to run away from it. Now I need to get close to the places and way people live.