In a video talk with documentary photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews, Chloe explains her easy to understand approach of finding subject matter and how to engage with the subject for the outcome.
In other research and texts , I have read a lot about making an image from anything that is around you. Anything you see can be made into a good photograph depending on what you want the final image to say. I can understand this but to make a series of images you need to have some interest in the subject or a feeling that makes you think ‘That could look interesting or I can give that an angle I haven’t seen before’ .
I find Chloe inspiring and can’t help a feeling of envy creeping in. What an amazing opportunity to hitch from China back to Britain and come across photo essays. How would the luxury of something like this happen to me now? How would the children get to school? How could I afford to take a month off when the money needs to go into the household? have I missed my photojournalist opportunities? Am I too old?
I like when Chloe talks about how when visiting somewhere like India she dosen’t even take the camera out, as she has seen all the photos before. It may be true that no-one can see the same image as you, but a lot of images are cliched and very well covered.
Sometimes you look at a body of work and think the photographer must be a genius to get so many great images forgetting that some projects span years and places are visited continuously. This is another aspect of learning to photograph in a different way to my working life now where I have twenty minutes to produce a selection of pictures for the press. Photography for me has been a passion. Then it became work. Can it be a passion again? This is something I’m struggling with but hopeful for.
The struggles that Chloe has had to even get her work looked at let alone published really puts into perspective what a competitive market with a small amount of outlets there are for exposure.
For the project ‘Shot At Dawn’, Chloe was commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford as part of the WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.
The project comprises landscape images of sites where British, Belgian ad French Soldiers were executed for desertion or cowardice between the years 1914 to 1918.
Chloe photographed the sites at the same times and dates that the executions took place. This is important information when viewing the landscapes giving the viewer a reason to think about the context.
“By photographing them,” Chloe says. “I am reinserting the individual into that space, stamping their presence back onto the land, so that their histories are not forgotten.”-Chloe Dewe Mathews-BJP July 15th 2015
BJP-Tom Seymour July 15th/2015.