What is the value of fear – What is the value of a photograph?
Some of my favourite photographs were also the scariest to shoot. That to me is what makes photographing people so exciting— the joy I get from it, and also from the fact that it is hard. Extremely hard. I think 90% of photographing strangers is just having the courage to click the shutter.
I am not talking about long distance candid shots with a long lens, but being there and engaging with your subject, becoming part of his or her day, however brief. I either use my 35mm on my Nikon and Leica or my Rolleiflex with its standard 80mm lens. I am always close, visible and not hidden.
So what is the value of such a photograph? Is it in the selling price? Is it in how many people crowd into a museum to see it? Is it found in the many times you look at in a quiet, private moment and smile? I guess everyone will have their own answer. I have mine and I also believe that placing a value is a slippery thing.
It is not something that has to be defined to exist and it is one of those things that the more you try to pin it down the more elusive it becomes. Answering this question is the will-o-the-wisp that just leads you deeper and deeper into the swamp. The more certain you are of your answer the deeper in the quagmire you really are. Just tread carefully but fearless.
It does not matter how experienced we are becoming in photographing strangers, we will always feel a bit of fear. Rather than seeing fear as the enemy, we should see fear as our friend. Fear is our guide. When we do what we are afraid of; it is one of the best ways to grow.
Jesper and Ken
And should we be fortunate enough to make a half decent photograph and/or to be able to give a resulting print as a gift and it is received with joy and surprise we have achieved something special and valuable.
It may not have any great monetary value, but it can bring joy and could be the only evidence that that person exists.
And yes, it teaches you a bit about a value that photography can have.It always strikes me to see how much a simple portrait can matter to someone whilst just around the bend people are drowning in photos of themselves