I’m reading The Joke’s Over, a book by Ralph Steadman, artist & frequent collaborator with Hunter S Thompson. Many of Ralph’s drawings have accompanied Hunter’s writings and are somewhat famous in their own right.Outlining the first assignment Ralph and Hunter shared, covering the Kentucky Derby in 1970, Ralph describes the reason Hunter wanted someone to draw the scenes at the event instead of having someone photograph them.
“He had been used to working with photographers on other assignments and the detachment with which a photographer usually works gave him nothing against which he could spark.”
I was somewhat taken aback by this because I fail to see how a photographer could be detached, unable to engage with the subject in some manner. It wasn’t until I read the above quote a few times that I realised there must be some subconscious part of my brain that registers something in every shot I take. I truly don’t know on a conscious/thinking level why I take most of the shots I do. Something about the scene appeals to me whether it contain beauty, ugliness, hope, despair, light, shadow….
I don’t even think of it as “capturing” the moment. More like “leasing” it from the Universe so I can share it with other people.