Recently I’ve found myself questioning my relationship with photography. Why am I so utterly absorbed by it? Why do I photograph what I do?* What is the meaning behind my images, if indeed there is any, and, if there isn’t, should there be? Ultimately, what am I hoping to achieve by pursuing it so obsessively? This isn’t motivated by any sort of crisis about my work, just a gentle contemplation born out of curiosity and a predisposition towards deep reflection.
I don’t yet have any definitive answers. I’m not sure I will find any. An insight I did have though is that my urge to record and interpret springs from a deep love and passion for wild and ancient places. I was fortunate to grow up with regular exposure to some of the best wild and ancient places that Zimbabwe has to offer. Through difficult growing up years, being alone in such places was a welcome solace. To this day, I relish time alone in these kinds of places: they provide a respite from the incessent buzz of modern life with its throngs of people and ubiquitous electronic technology. It is these places and the things I find there that I most like to record and interpret. That way, I get to take a little of that solace home with me.
I think this is one of the reasons I like exploring and photographing the coastline around Eyemouth (in Scotland) so much: it’s rugged, wild and unforgiving. Both the gentleness and awesome power of nature may be experienced in a single walk. Where the land meets the sea and waves crash against rugged sea cliffs, I often feel as though I can see through time into a primordial past. The child in me feels like an intrepid explorer collecting photographic momentos and artefacts so I can share the discoveries upon my return.
Perhaps I’ve answered all my questions!
*My favourite answer to this question is Garry Winogrand’s: “I photograph to see what the world looks like in photographs.”