Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Photographers. The truth.


I've worked with photographers. I've stood there in the cold while they look at a landscape for upwards of fifteen minutes before saying, 'Nope. This isn't right. The light's too...gooey.' I've watched as they try endlessly and repeatedly, like a clockwork autistic obsessive/compulsive, to make a single hair on a model's head stay exactly 13mm from the adjacent hair. And I've watched as 5pm approaches and the shots suddenly start to get done a lot fucking quicker.

Oh, I've worked with photographers.

Someone once said of photographers that 'it's not the man behind the camera - it's the camera in front of the man'. And that someone was me, just then. What I mean by it is, simply, 'a bloke with a camera' becomes 'a photographer' when the cost of the camera exceeds the cost of his car. But essentially, it's still a bloke with a camera. If he has a good camera, he will be considered a good photographer. Excellent camera? Excellent photographer, clearly. Amazing camera? Well done. You're an award-winner.

So, yes, some of them are chancers. But not all. Some of them are delusional fruitcakes. And, to be fair, many of them are just inveterate bullshitters.

I invite you to find out for yourself by looking at photographers' websites. Here is what you will find in the 'portfolio', 'gallery' or, if they're a proper cunt, 'art' sections.

Americana
All photographers will have a series of shots from mid-America, featuring huge landscapes, run-down diners, weathered signs, wonky old lights and, probably, a bird in a checked shirt pondering the faded glamour of America's heartland while, if you're lucky, revealing one of her bristolas.

The gritty portrait
All photographers will have stark, detailed, black and white head shots of ugly people. This shows that they can shoot real people (even though nobody but photographers wants to shoot real people, I mean, fuck me, why would you?) and that they aren't just shallow fuckbars obsessed with models and their bristolas (though the work they get paid for will exclusively feature models and their bristolas).

The girl in the wheatfield
All photographers will have a shot of a girl in a field, waist-deep in a crop of some sort, turned slightly away from the camera, looking off across a natural landscape while perhaps gently fingering a wheatsheaf or flower and, if you're lucky, revealing one of her bristolas. This demonstrates the poignant relationship between nature and man and the delicate balance of sorry I drifted off for a second there.

The celebrity
All photographers will have a shot of one or more celebs. They will all be simply shot in black and white and will 'show the real person behind the name'. They will also all tell you that they 'only had five minutes to get the shot'. This is just a cover for the fact that photographers haven't actually invented a different way of shooting celebs that isn't 'showing the real person behind the name'.

The thinly-veiled porn
Photographers are all dirty sex-grubs who enjoy peering through curtains at the erotic pursuits of others. But since this is against the law, they just peer through a camera at the erotic pursuits of others instead. Combine this with a ready supply of would-be models prepared to do anything to get their portfolio going and you have a pornucopia of nudey-bird shots. Nudey birds on horses, nudey birds in mud, nudey birds looking in mirrors, nudey birds holding parrots, nudey birds bending over a kitchen worktop and fingering a...no, you'll have to excuse me while I nip for a wank.

The personal project
I'm not really capable of fully describing the rank stupidity and pointlessness of some of these. I once saw a photographer who raced through his portfolio of nudey birds on pogo sticks etc, just to get to his personal project. He had titled it, simply, 'Me', and it was a series of shots of himself, his possessions, his friends, his gargoylesque grandparents and, of course, his penis. 'This is me', he kept saying. 'But this is you too.'

It fucking wasn't me. It was him. It was very clearly him. Fuck knows what he meant. But I'll tell you what I told him: 'Look, son. Photography's a fucking cinch. Model with big bristolas next to product. Click click click. Pub.'

I stand by that. I can't honestly imagine why you'd want to take a photograph of anything else. Apart from the nudey birds.

Anyway, I'm away to place a series of increasingly pointless and time-consuming calls into my agency just as they approach the deadline for a different, pointless job I gave them.

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!

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