The difference between a photographer and someone who takes photographs is the same difference between a novelist and someone who writes e-mails. The motions are the same but the photographer or writer thinks a lot harder about what she is doing and as a result puts out a more thoughtful expression. Photography for many is just another means of expression; a shorthand for, “look what I ate today!”, or, “This is where I am!”.
I had been planning to do a series of photographs a la Robert Frank that depicted what Puerto Rican life is like in the U.S. today. The more I though about it (weeks and weeks of agonizing and little forays to Washington Heights and East Harlem) the more I thought the approach was all wrong. I certainly don’t want to depict life in low income neighborhoods. Oh this has been done to death and by photographers much better than I. Plus what I am best at is making little poetic observations not grand statements; commentaries as opposed to grand speeches, haikus as opposed to sonnets. So I go back to the drawing board and figure out what I really want to say and how to do it in my own personal way.
An alternative approach I was thinking of was to mix photographs with personal memories of growing up Puerto Rican back in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A portrait or still life on one page and a personal memory that image represents on the other. Or maybe I can write on the photograph itself a la Duane Michaels.
Thinking, thinking, thinking.