John Benton-Harris - Visual Sociologist
Welcome to My World
I gave up on calling myself a photojournalist over twenty years ago, and even then I was over a decade late in doing so. For this practice is a long dead American one, and was never at all practised here in the UK, where magazines never ever treated the photographer as anything approaching their equal, only the word photojournalism got hijacked by newspaper people who staff them.
However I’ve always valued, and continue to value, the potency of the frozen moment when ordered and connected to others of equal significance by the maker/taker of those images. This means that any serious thoughtful seeing and extended visual commentary that I engaged in had to take place outside of the editorial establishment in both my native and resident culture. All that, put quite simply, has given my responses something extra.
Living amongst the English I sometimes feel that like my camera, I too am a time machine, being drawn as I am to observe so many people pining to return to all their yesterdays.
Residing outside America has triggered me to perceive differently, viewing my homeland from a detached and distant perspective. I feel I notice and respond to what others can’t or won’t.
These small eight sample presentations differ vastly from what’s currently being celebrated as art. Seeing today mostly matches the size of the taker’s ego, just as readable content is no longer mandatory within the image frame. It is increasingly felt that the meaning and value of an image can be articulated and/or attached below, above or besides the observation afterwards. For its assumed importance as art lies in its difference / originality and its painterly dimensions, and of course that it is displayed in what is considered a reputable place.
All this makes today the most difficult and challenging time for the history of art and those of us committed to this form of camera based communication.
You may also notice my vision is not a long-winded one; or a deliberately stylised one. I say what I want to say; in the way that I feel it should be said, with appropriate inclusions, from the appropriate distance, in a single fraction of time. I also place such moments in the order that I alone deem appropriate. These I believe are the essentials that endow seeing with its standing, its humanity and its wonderment as artistic expression.
Copyright © John Benton-Harris
A few insightful quotes
“It may sound odd to some, but images are already partly formed in my mind before I actually discover and or react to them in real time. That’s because I never step out with my camera without a shopping/stopping list, and that gives me a head- and eye-start in capturing the relevant stuff of existence. Now that’s not to say that I don’t believe in serendipity, for I am always ready and willing (as my seeing shows) to catch a kiss when the gods throw me one”.”
“A moment from time is exactly what it is, but if it’s sought and caught with an intention and outcome in mind, it’s sometimes more”.
“From day one of my obsession, I’ve understood that a patient person can have what they will, just as I’ve also experienced that a determined person can will what they want”.
“It’s not sufficient to love yourself, you need to have a genuine regard for people and a passion for sharing your appreciation and understanding with others through your camera eye”.
“In order to capture the minds and hearts of others, one must employ a mind and heart to the task”.
“It makes no sense to me to ask why I chose photography, because it would be like asking why I chose life, for one is the same as the other. And my approach to photography is simple and straightforward, to hold fast my thoughts and feelings for others to experience”.
“If you know where you’re going, almost any road will take you there”.
“Color appeals to the senses, Black and White to the intellect. That said, I strive to gift one with something of the other”.
Lectures, Workshops, Exhibitions and Print Sales
Everyone has their own sense of what represents “ART”. This small collection reflects something of my understanding in that regard. For more about my seeing and my views on seeing, as well as information regarding print prices, or simply to enquire about possible talks, lectures, workshops or exhibitions, I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Photographs - COPYRIGHT © John Benton-Harris