A few years ago, I wrote about my relationship to photography for a class called Photography and Language with Bill Jenkins. I recently found the essay, and remembered how important it was for me to think through my practice as an artist. Following is the conclusion to a 4 part essay. Please see Parts 1, 2, and 3, for reference.
Photography is an interesting form of representation in that it has imbedded itself into society. It is, in itself, social. We use it to communicate with each other. We use it to share ideas. We hope it is honest, just as we hope we are honest with each other. We look at photographs to understand what we cannot experience in person. We use it to connect on a very human level. Photography does not represent the world; photography represents the world that at some point in time, in some place, once was. It is of the world, and the only thing that prevents us from using a photograph as a means to connect with each other are the constructs we place it in.
No, I am not the sole owner of any photograph I produce. No, I cannot change the world with an image. However, I realize now that by not inhibiting my photographs, not fusing them to any single method of output or explaining their meaning, I am letting them communicate. I am offering a representation of an experience that I had, at some point in time, to another human being. I cannot guarantee anyone will respond to my photographs the way I do, but I know that I am not preventing anyone from doing so, and that, I think, is enough.