Yesterday I updated my bio section on this blog. I alluded to a conversation I had in which “a wise man once told me ‘You can never take a picture, see? They have to give it to you.'” After rereading the paragraph I felt like maybe that sounded made up or found somewhere on the streets of Pinterest, and so I thought I’d introduce you to Fred himself. I met Fred at Cornerstone Music Festival in Bushnell, IL during the summer of 2011. I was making a point of taking portraits of strangers at the time and asked if I might chat with him for a while and maybe get a picture of him at the end. As it happens, Fred is an artist and lives in a commune in Chicago. He, too, is a photographer. I wrote our conversation down because I loved what he had to say and I think about it all the time in regards to the art I create and the connection it creates in me to the people I work with.
“Everyone asks me “did you take that picture?”. I always say “no, they gave it to me”. You never take a picture. Someone must give it to you. When I painted I started with a blank canvas and created from my mind. When I photograph my mind must be blank and the creation is already there before me. It’s the relationship you have with someone, even if it’s just for a second. Even if you don’t talk. Your eyes meet and there’s a relationship between you and who you’re photographing.”