Monday, 23 May 2011


I've lost count of the number of times I've heard that phrase.

Is it true?  No, I don't think so. 

Cameras can exaggerate, embroider,  select bits and neglect others - maybe they don't actually lie but they can very easily give a false impression.

So why do we keep photographs?  Is it so that we  can choose the best to give a particular emphasis to some incident or phase from our past.  Is it so we can impress someone by selecting a particular back-ground.  Is it to reinforce our own self-esteem?  Or simply as a record of an event we hope to look back upon with pride?

A good and wise friend asked me recently to fish out some old photos of myself and my past life and I found to my surprise that most of the hundreds of photos I've kept are largely unpeopled.

This as far as I personally am concerned is simply because I have always hated being photographed and when unavoidably 'caught' on camera have been so horrified by the resulting image that whenever possible I've destroyed them.  This however, is a different thing altogether from having a large collection of places buildings views etc, but almost none of people.

Taking it a stage further, I also realised that such few pictures as adorn my walls are in the main still lifes. These also are devoid of human figures.  While I like artists such as Lowrie, Hieronymus Bosch, Bruegel elder and younger the people in their paintings are quite unlike ordinary people.  Freud, think about that!

Since I am in process of decluttering, most of the photographs I have (taken in Nederlands, France, Prague Poland, Germany, Salzburg and many other places) will soon be in the recycling box, but asking myself why they are as they are and why they were taken in the first place has really made me wonder.

The person who asked me to sort out the photos drew his own conclusions, largely I think right, about the reasons for the lack of personal images and has helped me considerably to understand at least some of my attitudes myself and others.

Which is where we came in.


  1. Just a test to see if I can comment on my own blog. Have been trying on others' blogs for 2 days unsuccessfully.

  2. Interesting, Ray. I like people and do have plenty of photos of them, but also know that most of my photos are of places that really matter to me. I too hate being photographed, especially if asked to pose, and really like only a very few photos of myself.

  3. Good. Glad to hear it. I'm not the only camera-shy geek on earth then?

    Have actually thrown out about 200 photos this very day, so, getting there.