January 22, 2020

Why did you take that photograph?

Ross Samson, 60

That’s a loaded question. You might as well start, “Why on earth …”. Asked this question long ago, my answer was to stash my camera for years. Today, I worry little about criticism. Less because I have matured, more the result of years in camera clubs where I have been inured to trite critiques about leading lines, rules of thirds, and foreground interest. No photography club judges – no family members even – have shown enthusiasm for my images of abandoned shopping trollies. “Why have you taken that?” My responses have been evasive or deceitful, “It’s for practice,” or belligerent, “It’s art; you wouldn’t understand.” But can anyone explain creative urges? Not easily. Not convincingly either. Garry Winogrand said he photographed things so he could see what things looked like photographed. Was that teleology, sophistry, bombast, satire, all four? My writing alongside my photographs charts visions, emotions, academic learning, ideas and fanciful stories racing through my mind when I see my trolley subjects, camera in hand. The product of credulous erudition. It may not “explain” the images, but hopefully illuminates the poetic urges and illogical compulsions I have to make them and my resultant pleasure. And it’s almost all true.

The Life and Death of Scottish Wild Trollies, 2019Photobook, 40 pagesportrait A5 (145x208mm)