The men in this picture all inhabit
one narrow stretch of city, but they all head in different directions,
hardly seeming to notice one another. Tilted planes and tipped horizons
give this photo a drive-by feeling. Photographer Carl Pope calls it a
snapshot aesthetic. Pope used a toy camera to make this picture,
and the viewfinder wasnt very accurate. He could see only approximately
what the lens of the camera saw, and rather than try to compensate for
its errors he played on them by using his intuition as much as his eye.
The result was a picture that documents that process as well as this neighborhood
in Carbondale, Illinois: a photographer reacting to what he sees and letting
the camera take care of the picture.
I realized that people have a really intuitive relationship with
photography and most peoples relationship with photography is through
their personal documentation of their own history with their family and
friends and their trips, explains Pope. That informal way
of composing is a really powerful strategy to use as a photographer to
draw people in. The immediacy of a seemingly informal composition is a
way of really speaking the language of people who have cameras, of the
way we see our lives in pictures. I am always fascinated by that and always
ready to use photography in that way. There are a lot of other ways people
understand photography. We understand photography through advertising
and through photojournalism, but the most immediate and the most emotionally
enriching way is the way that people take pictures of the people of they
love, because of that sort of investment.