There is an old adage heard hundreds of times a year in writing workshops; “write what you know.” This can also apply to some forms of photography. My image making and that of many photographic artist I admire tend to be the poetic kind. We share a vision of the world. We do not attempt to try and capture a truth about the world. At best we might create an image that is poetically universal from a personal experience.
In this day and age, where everyone carries a camera and where most people are visually sophisticated, at least compared to a couple of decades ago, it is impossible to sell photography as truth. Photography reflects the biases and physical limitations of the person wielding the camera. Photojournalists try to ameliorate the biases but the images they bring back are still infused with their particular set of inherent limitations.
As I think more and more about my proposed project on the Puerto Rican experience, I come to believe that photographing what I know, my extended family and friends and also creating images about childhood memories, seems the best way to communicate these ideas. Photograph what I know and push that romantic, Robert Frank road trip to the side.
Like I said before the difference between a photographer and everybody else with a phone, err, camera is the thought involved.