Jack Davison - Photographs
There’s no fixed rules as to what makes a photograph great.
“He wants his photos to be untethered moments of longing that exist because the light was perfect for an instant and he and his subject danced for a moment.”
Again, I pick Jack Davison - Photographs off the shelf.
His photos make me linger. They challenge me to look at the world differently. Like all good photos.
It’s difficult to explain how a photo triggers something in the mind. Words often fail me. There’s always a gap between what I see and how to express it.
Especially with Jack Davison.
To me, he is one of the most interesting photographers of our age.
An absence of ‘rules.’
He has an experimental, playful and imaginative approach. He plays loose with the ‘rules’ of photography.
There’s an eclectic range of styles and subjects. Some seem improvised - found on a side street or on foreign travels. A snatch of life.
Some are staged. Or from a magazine shoot. Some are portraits, some still life.
There’s a mix of colour and black and white. Of size and composition. Of animals, objects and people. Studio light and natural light. Fiction and reality.
The one thread that runs through is the absence of literal meaning. All his photos prompt questions. A possible story. Or questions... what’s going on and how did he make it?
His photos are abstract and mysterious. Yet recognisable.
He found his own way.
He was self taught. He learned via experimenting with different cameras from the age of 14. It shows.
In a good way.
But he has made something original. Provocative and thoughtful.
Nothing is conventional. There’s a quirk in each photo.
Art which plays with convention encourages us to look at things differently. To challenge us to change our approach. To get us out of a rut. To try something different. To experiment.
Don’t stagnate. Absorb new ideas. Refresh your influences.
It's why I buy photobooks, go to art exhibitions and walk.
It’s a reminder for us all.
In the book credits he thanks the scanners and printers for “making each image precious.”
When asked what makes a great photograph he answered: “For me, a photograph should be able to hold its own, without context, and draw the viewer in – but, in all honesty, there’s no fixed rules as to what makes a photograph great.” (Vogue)
He often refers to his mentor, Brett Walker. When asked how he influenced him, he said: “It's always been to take a lot of pictures and to really make sure you're constantly looking for things. And also the one thing I live by, still, is to crop out everything that's not important, and to make a really tight, strong frame.” (The Observers)
He went on to say that his main camera is a point and shoot: “It’s especially good for actors as well, because they don't expect it. They always think you're not really starting and they're waiting for a big camera to be put in their face and you go ‘oh no, no we're done actually, we've done all the pictures’ and they're like ‘What? Oh.’ I love that little camera, a lot. Just because it's quick and quiet and non-intrusive and you can talk to people and still be shooting.”
He comes across as a jolly nice fellow in this brief interview after he won the Vic Ogden award.
The typeface used in the book is The Future Mono by Kris Sowersby. I particularly like the punctuation. It’s different. Yet recognisable.