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“You can only write so many sensitive songs, before you are just writing another sensitive song.”

So said Neil Young in a documentary I was watching last night. Neil was talking about his Harvest period, where he achieved commercial and critical fame, a fact which didn’t seem to interest him at all. I get that. I can only look at so many images these days of my family without having them all meld into one lovely image of homely, and fairly whimsical, play.The pictures are what you would expect them to be, and the weight of them means that very few stand out. But what do stand out for me though are the portraits from this year. I don’t remember consciously deciding I wouldn’t watch and snap, although looking at the evidence of the last year it definitely happened. Even though there is less going on within the frame, they hold my attention much more so, but perhaps that’s because I am close to the subject, and so see all the fights,cuddles,tears,boredom and joy within the pose.

Alongside the portraits, there’s been more images which possibly fall under what the British photographer Paul Graham called ‘passive framing’, images where the meaning and intention of the photographer are unclear. Such images again increasingly hold my attention more than something overt, or actively framed, the style which is normally associated with documentary or photojournalism. Possibly this is because mysteries linger far more than answers. And photographs are a mystery, quoting from real life as they do, whilst not actually being real life.


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