“I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself”
- Diane Arbus

When you stand in front of a photographic subject you can arrange what you see, or arrange yourself around it. Still life is all about arranging the subject whether it’s an artistic arrangement of flowers or a studio product shot. Candid street photography, which I like but I do little of it, is a dynamic balance between the two. You can’t predict who you will see or what they will do and your reactions have to be fast and well practiced, not only technically but also artistically and compositionally.

I often find my immediate response to a mountain shot is the one I subsequently select after I spend time exploring its possibilities. This can’t be taught. There are formal rules of composition with ideas about balance, proportion, dynamic lines etc which are just that – rules – but you have to feel them and understand them instinctively. You can educate your instinct by studying good photographs and paintings but this is an interior process not taught as such.

You can’t arrange a mountain photograph; you have to arrange yourself around it in terms of viewpoint and focal length. This was my last walking day in the Pyrenees, 2012. I was lost actually – I went down the path you see here, then went further, then came all the way up again trying to work out where I was and then spoke to a Spanish girl who explained it. Coma Pedrosa is up on the mountain to the right, reached by another path. There was no time, nor had I the energy, to go back and start again. Instead, I went back down and continued further to the Andorran village of Arinsal where I had some decent food, showered, slept, the next day caught a bus to Andorra la Vella, stayed there one night, then got a bus to Toulouse, stayed there one night, then got my flight home.

 

Pyrenees Mountains: Andorra Lakes

Monday October 29, 2012