I would call it ‘intentionality’. Sometimes I meet young artists and it becomes clear that for some the main motivation is getting a show in Chelsea. It strikes me that this is very different to the way it was for me, which was that I wanted to understand photography and the world and myself. To do that, I produced work. The work that was shown was like a by-product, but never the purpose of my photography.
The thought process doesn’t even have to be conceptual or intellectual. It can be visual, or a layer of thought that’s wordless. I’m always exploring some question or other, but it may not even be formulate as such. I believe the work produced by most established artists, was produced as a by-product of their personal explorations.
Hello, Ms. Wiseman. I love your work, and the subjects you choose to photograph. Can I give you a photo challenge? I wanted to know if you can get one of your subjects to play dead for you, and put your own flare on it? I would love to post it on my blog. Thank you much and please keep shooting.
Hello. Thanks for the compliment and the idea. I’ll keep it in mind for the future and I’ll send it your way if I do it!
the house is quiet. they have gone to bed, leaving me alone, and the electric timer has just switched off the living-room lights. it feels like the house has settled in and finally turned on its side to fall asleep.
i sit at the dining-room table; rummage through the refrigerator. what am i looking for?
every few months i visit, loaded down with camera gear and ideas for pictures. it takes a day or two for most of these ideas to seem strained or foolish and them i’m left with cases of unexposed film and a feeling of desperation. i bargain with my father, trading him hours of weeding in his garden for minutes of his time posing for me. when i finally begin to photograph him, i feel so anxious that i retake the same pictures i made years ago. after a few days of this, i become so distracted that i miss most of the wonderful, daily things and instead i begin to act like an anthropologist or a cop - photographing shoes, papers, the surfaces of dressers. evidence. it’s only when i give up trying to make pictures and begin to enjoy the time spent with them that anything of value ever happens.
what drives me to continue this work is difficult to name. it has more to do with love than sociology, with being a subject in the drama rather than a witness. and in the odd and jumbled process of working, everything shifts; the boundaries blur, my distance slips, the arrogance and illusion of immunity falters. i wake up in the middle of the night, stunned and anguished. these are my parents. from that simple fact, everything follows. i realize that beyond the rolls of film and the few good pictures, the demands of my project and my confusion about its meaning, is the wish to take photography literally. to stop time. i want my parents to live forever.
“what you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything, it will decide what gets you out of bed in the mornings, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you. fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”—pedro arrupe
what do u like taking pictures of the most? by the way, i really heart your photos :]
Great question (and thanks for the compliment)! I don’t have a favorite subject, but I’m drawn to quiet details of whatever I’m photographing. There are always tons of lamps and windows in my photos too!
I liked your tag of iphoneography. It made me laugh because I call it phonetography whenever I take pictures with my phone. But it was a nice picture anyways, but I just thought I would tell you that I liked your tag :D