Monday, December 24, 2007

Should they stay or should they go?

For my next meeting with Pieter van der Houwen (PVDH) at the end of November I showed him 100-odd photographs. The main subject of debate was my Shisha café smoking photographs.

He said they should be dumped from the book. I'm open-minded and willing to listen. And so, it appears is Pieter. Because when he asked one of my fellow student Rob Colin Thomas (I never did ask him why he uses Colin in his name) what he thought about it, RCT said: Keep them in.

Then PVDH said: Yes, keep them in. He changed his mind! In a matter of seconds!

This, to me, sums up the subjectivity of photography. You glance at a photo and make an instant judgement. But sometimes your judgement reflects how you're feeling at the time. And feelings change. Often.

Now I'm not knocking PVDH. A nicer man you could not wish to meet. He's got lot to say and is worth listening to. It's just that such changeable, subjective views should not necessarily be taken as gospel.

Still, I came away from PVDH with some new ideas about the layout and the flow of my book. And the Shisha pictures will be included, mainly because smoking and these Asian-run Shisha café's are an important part of British culture.

PVDH also recommended I dump the office workers smoking photographs. So from now on, this project is all about social smoking. I think he said that because the office worker shots were quite boring. I agree.

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