14 July 2008

Andre Kertesz

The photographer Andre Kertesz wrote the following in his diary in 1930:

I am an amateur and I intend to stay that way for the rest of my life. I reject all forms of professional cleverness or virtuosity... As soon as I have found the image that interests me, I leave it to the lens to record it faithfully.

Kertesz's sentiments are mine too. I'd like to think that had we been contemporaries, we might have been friends who spoke a common photographic language. Not for us the slick techniques that strip the photo of its authenticity, its 'is-ness', often with the principal motive of selling a product and its associated glamour. Or at least that's what happens when photography is hijacked by purely commercial interests.

Kertesz's photographic philosophy emphasises a visual honesty that makes it a closer relative of photojournalism than of fine art photography, though his work bears elements of both. If there's one lesson that I've imbibed from Kertesz's approach to capturing slivers of Life, of reality, it's that the photographer must dare to be true to his subjective experience of whatever it is that compelled him to pause, to look, and to shoot. He must, as it were, repel the invading considerations of public opinion, 'expert' authority, personal legacy and stylistic ambition. Though Kertesz was not immune to these considerations - for one thing he had a deep psychological need for validation of his work and was easily hurt if he felt he had been unjustly denied the recognition he thought he deserved - nonetheless his stubborn refusal to abandon his subjective vision inspires me to remain true to mine.


No comments:

Post a Comment