Can you be madly in love with photography?

I think you can.

To the point of being obsessed with its mystique, its living materials; the silver, the paper, and the film.

The opportunity to merge and to become one with the events occurring in front of the lens.

To freeze a moment of time and immortalize it, make it your own.

My meeting with the subject; getting so close that I can actually feel it, not in my brain but in my heart and body.

To be absolutely present and become one with my subject in a passionate moment, the very instant the picture is taken. That is what photography is for me.

And if I´m not totally present there is no photograph taken.

It´s  just as fascinating to look at other photographer’s pictures, to physically see what they saw  and if it is a good photograph feel what the photographer felt in the moment he or she chose to capture.

That is for me fascinating.

As one of the greatest photographers, Arnold Newman, whom I was lucky to study under, told me:

”Great dedication is not enough to take great photos. It has be Absolute, as in a Passion.”

 

During my long career as both a fine art and commercial photographer I have experienced a lot of photographs, both my own and others. In both cases I got to have same presence. When it comes to my fine art photography it´s about me and what I want to achieve in the picture. In the commercial business I´m more of a tool to visualize what my client wants to show. Often I see photographers always wanting to make their own signature but for me that is not the case when it comes to the commercial part. I have a good friend who ran a very successful studio in Nashville. He explained this to me in this way.  If you go to a restaurant and the chef tells you he just serves his own special, that is fine if it´s good. But at another restaurant the chef asks you, ”How do you want it to taste?” He cooks it just the way you wanted, but then he adds some of his own just to top it. That’s the way you should shoot a commercial. The client and the graphic designer have their thoughts, visualize them, and then surprise them with their toppings.

As a teacher of photography I have had the great joy of meeting with photography students, both Swedish an international students. I don’t think, I know, that this has been very good for me, always learning to look at photography from their different perspectives and mirror that in my own photography.

Since I am the only juror for this competition, the choices became very personal, and I like that idea since I believe there is no universal ”good picture”. It is all about personal choice. For me, the ”perfect” picture tends to become boring. A perfect surface gets interesting when the first crack appears.

Being invited to judge this competition has been a big honor, becoming familiar with these images where all the photographers have put in so much love, dedication and passion. My choice of pictures for this exhibit are just my personal choices, not a universal choice. Maybe you can see a European influence in my selection of photographs. The selected pictures are the ones that tell me a story which I can read and that I find interesting.

It is like reading a letter. If the writing is beautiful, you can enjoy that. If the message is interesting, it doesn’t need to have beautiful writing if it is still is more interesting. But if it has nice writing and an interesting message, that’s a good photograph.

I would like to congratulate all the entrants for their dedication to an art form I truly love. It has been inspiring and hard work to select this exhibit from so many good images.

 

Örjan Henriksson

Mullsjö Sweden, February 2017

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