Monday, September 27, 2010

Patterns of Behavior

I avoid using the word capture with regard to photographing. That's a term that has become so overused with the rise of digital imaging. It's a reference to a computer 'capturing' data.

I don't like the terms 'making a photograph' or 'taking a picture.' Although I do often talk about going out to take pictures. That's just habit.

I look at my process as documenting an image that I see or one I create: something I see on the street or a still life. I look for patterns. Yes, I search out visual patterns, but also patterns of behavior and thought that are often expressed visually. I use the camera and my physical position to create a composition that I feel will best document that discovered pattern on a two dimensional, visual surface.

Patterns of behavior are reflected so vividly in our physical environment. You may have noticed that my photos often do not include human figures. I believe that often times more can be learned about our social environment by studying these physically manifested patterns of behavior when they are devoid of an actual human presence. I liken this to a sort of visual archaeology.

When I photograph I'm making a visual document of a pattern, or an element of a pattern, of human behavior.

So I'd say rather than capturing or taking anything, when I work, I'm 'photographing' or 'documenting' the patterns of human and social behavior as I observe them around me.

Text and photo: ©2010 David W. Sumner

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