The Vicious Observer: Photo-documentary

When a photographer turns a lens on the community or the environment he or she inhabits, the results can be sympathetic or uncompromising, sensitive or brutal.

When history looks at these images, if they survive, it often sees a significance in them that may have been missed in their original time frame. 

When we add, or subtract, context to these images and put them into a perceived space, their reality can change along with their message, and their historical integrity.

What do we ascribe to a blank wall? Is it pockmarked from bullets, or age?  Is an old gate a design feature or a safety device?

What do we ascribe to a blank wall? Is it pockmarked from bullets, or age?

Is an old gate a design feature or a safety device?

Is the man in the derelict boat yard what the viewer thinks he is? Or what he chooses to be?

How does the photographer ascribe truth to a picture? Does he distort it through his prejudice or show a version of a truth?

Option A: The truth is the truth... Option B: The truth is a perception...

What is the truth in this picture? The hunchbacked man in the belted coat, hat drawn low on his brow, shuffling away from the Exotic Striptease show and the lurking guy with the camera on a SoHo street.  Is he, observed and shamed into looking into the window of the butcher's shop? Or just buying a half pound of sausages for lunch?

Having your perspective distorted...

There are times in life when you have your idea of what 'you think you know' distorted, bent out of shape, shattered (pick one) by what you experience, and this becomes 'What you know'...

This has come to me a few times in my life. The first time I tried a single malt from Islay, the first time I saw Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles, when I stopped and stood in awe of Sebastio Salgado's exhibition Workers in New York, the first time I heard Allan Macdonald sing in Scottish Gaelic while Neil Johnstone played cello in a flat in Edinburgh...

A late night session with Allan Macdonald, Neil Johnstone and John Slavin

 

... and every time I have heard band called Breabach perform live.

Megan Henderson. Sublime fiddle, heartbreaking voice and step dancer par excellence.

The Caravan Club, Australasian Tour, 2014

I have seen Breabach perform several times live and they never cease to impress. 

I have interviewed them as a band, and as individual musicians, and hopefully, have done them justice.  They are brilliant individually and even better as an ensemble.

Energy, poise and musical excellence. Breabach @ The Toff in Town, Melbourne, 2013-maybe