Feedback is one of the great virtue’s of social media, and I always get a lot from people’s responses. Because I think this is a really important issues, I’ve put the Twitter debate together using Storify so you can read it below (be sure to click on ‘Load More’ to see the whole stream). At the end, I’ll summarise what I think are the main points that I take away from this conversation.
Here are my conclusions:
There are numerous great photographers working on the ‘home’ front, we need to find ways to see more of their stories, but that is not something that is going to be achieved solely by commissions from mainstream media
This is definitely not a call for less attention abroad; its a call for more attention to ‘home’. I certainly don’t want people to ignore or walk away from the big global stories, and there is much to do to make them better too
The use of ‘home’ as a category has its problems. Its relative to the photographer’s identity or location and can change over time, and the dividing line between home and abroad is increasingly blurred
The major issue, then, is less the geographic location of the story and more the fact we don’t see enough work on ‘the big domestic issues’ – the economy, healthcare, education, unemployment etc – that are always cited as the major electoral concerns. It is, therefore, more about social issues than domestic space per se
For someone developing a visual story on social issues, the most important thing to ask is ‘what is the story you really want to tell?’ Answering that can mean working through these questions:
what is the issue?
what will be the events/moments?
if needed, who are the characters?
what is the context?
I think Nathalie Parès of NOOR made a good comment on the original post when she observed that “more than a fear of photographing at home, I would rather talk of a certain difficulty of being original on these topics…” That is something best addressed by articulating the relationship between story, event and issue. This requires knowledge of the context above all else, and that demands research because not everything that drives photography is visual.
I analyse visual storytelling and produce new visual stories. I am fascinated by the storytelling we know as documentary photography and photojournalism. I examine the disruption in the media economy, its impact on visual journalism, and look at the opportunities 'multimedia' brings. I also have a long-term commitment to understanding international politics. My ethos is to provide the context, question assumptions, and explore future options.