Recently, I asked my colleagues in this group, “Of all the pictures you’ve taken, which is your own personal favourite and why?”
I realise it’s a daunting task; afterall, many of us have been creating images for decades, narrowing it down to just one single image seems impossible, and perhaps it is; and yet that’s the task. It’s perhaps the ultimate curation.
Also, if others are anything like me, what I prefer one week seems to change the next. So, for me at least, choice is a moving target, but there we are.
As John Meehan succinctly said when asked to be involved in this project…
“The choice is both Impossible and mutable”.
The pictures you see below, and the photographers comments on those pictures, are the results of their own subjective, personal choices and opinions. That was the simple brief.
The brief being so uncomplicated, provides us the opportunity to gain, from their choice and reasonings, some insight into the ‘minds eye’ of the photographers.
In an essay on the relationship between poetry and photography Steven J Fowler once asked: “What is photography that is no other thing?” We might adapt his question to the challenge Peter has set f50 members here. What is this photograph that is no other?
I believe this photograph is more about photography than photographer. It breaks many rules (and not by design). Consequently, it is a product of the inherent qualities of the medium rather than the supposed competence of the photographer. For this reason I’ve always loved this image. I just wish I could get out of the way more often.
My favourite image is one of the last that I’ve done.
It’s an ongoing experiment, an exploration of a conglomeration of interests – street, architecture, city, light, entropy, and the binary code of digital images.
It’s a little early for me to speak emphatically about this exploratory project, as I’ve yet just touched the surface.
New York. 2020
Firstly I’d like to thank Peter, my fellow F50 member for setting what has been the single most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my world of photography! Even as I write this, I’m not convinced I’ve chosen well!
Still here we are…I think it was only possible to complete this task if I actually chose a photograph that meant more to me than the picture itself.
So on to the image…This photograph was taken on a very recent trip to New York, 2019 in fact. I’d never been to the Big Apple before, and of course as a street/documentary style photographer (though not exclusively) this to me was like putting a rat in charge of a cheese larder!
So many of the pictures I’ve loved by others down the years have been taken in this crazy but awesome place. So my heart pounded as I walked the streets of this place in search of my own decisive, magic moment.
The image you see here, is neither the sharpest, in focus or compositionally great shot I’ve taken, but it captures that time and place and feeling perfectly for me, hence why I think it is my favourite, rather than best.
It was a true speedy snap of a moment of emotion, love I hope. And I’m very happy I was there to capture it. If I go further… I like the tension, the closeness of the lips, the delicate legs of the woman leaning in for this moment, opposed to the straight protective stance of the man. It was a genuine moment of peace for me, and hopefully for them too, because on a hot summers day in New York, the Highline is anything but quiet and peaceful.
This picture also serves to remind me that, it’s my picture, my memory, my time and my effort. I hope you like it, but I’m happy if you don’t. I think too much emphasis is placed on approval these days, but don’t we all?
It also reminds me that I met Keith Goldstein, F50 member and friend, on this trip. And that was important to me too. It shows that no matter the distance, people can be friends. He took me to the most amazing diner, we talked, but not that much about photography really, we talked about his son and family, the neighbourhood where he lived, amongst other things, but that hour or two was very important for me.
So here you go…I better press send quick before I change my mind..
When Peter asked each of us to choose a favourite frame from our personal photo archives I simply turned around and looked at the picture on the wall to my right for a couple of seconds.
Instinct overruled any plan for the hard work of looking into my hard disks…. Aaah, ahh, aaah, ah…
It’s a b&w fashion portrait… at least it should have been. I shot it a couple of years ago, with a parallax viewfinder.
Once taken, the photo was revealed to me for what it was. Fashion no longer mattered. The Japanese lady holding a bunch of iron flowers had opened my mind’s palace.
Comic books, anime, old black and white samurai movies, dark tales, orientalism had transformed the top model into a “Kill Bill” character.
I often pause to observe this shot during evenings in a low light and every time I discover new rooms in my mind’s palace.
If there’re some little flaw… I don’t care, THAT’S-MY-FAVOURITE-SHOT!
Selecting one favourite picture from a lot is very difficult.
After going through lots of pictures and lots of thought processes behind the picture, I selected the picture you see above.
It is not perfect in many ways, but, it was one of the memorable pictures taken in Malick Ghat, Kolkata. People do rituals there.
I was waiting to take pictures of people performing ritual. I just happened to see two rituals side by side. I also wanted to include the Howrah bridge in the frame as it depicts the City.
My choice of picture is an image of a Wall of Death rider and his audience at Lincolnshire Show ground.
So why this image? I have a simplistic, binary attitude to pictures. Like or don’t like, and I like this image.
- Though not conventionally composed, (perhaps even because of that), I like the shape the image makes.
- I like the fact the main character, arguably the rider, is unusually placed and is blurred.
- I like the way the young girl holding her mothers right arm seems concerned, frightened even and her mother, though heavily cropped, seems to have a calm Madonna like smile.
- I like the intensity on the face of the young lad on the extreme right of the crowd, holding the edge of the frame.
- I love the dynamism and the jeopardy in the picture.
In short, I find the image deeply satisfying, unlike any other I’ve taken. It touches me.
It’s that simple.
12 Replies to “Photographers favourite pictures.”
Fascinating post. Thank you for sharing this!
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Thank you Yuri. Stay safe. 🙏
Thank you! I was ambivalent, but it was a thought provoking challenge.
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Thanks for sharing f50.
A difficult task but all images well deserved as favourites
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Many thanks Stephen. I hope you are well. Best, John
What a challenge admirably met head on by each of you. Thought provoking inages and enlightening text. Great!
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Thanks Les. Do you have a particular favourite among your work? Best, John
Really enjoyed this, thanks for a good read .
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Many thanks Dawn. Glad to offer some distraction at the moment.
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Thank you for sharing.
As a photographer, I agree with you that it’s hard to choose the favorite photos I’ve ever shot.
Thanks for your comment.
It is indeed difficult and the choice you make changes over time too.