Friday, May 02, 2008

No Middle Distance



Interestingly, I got a number of comments on one phrase in Tony Ray Jones' notes to himself from the last post and what did he mean by that?:

· NO MIDDLE DISTANCE



Well, among other things, I don't actually know what he meant, but for me it says a couple of things (mainly fairly obvious...).


I often write these kinds of lists to myself when I'm working on a project to remind myself to cover certain areas, to make sure I don't forget the "brilliant" ideas about the work that come to me while I'm doing something else. But more than anything, they are often about things I know I'm not doing. You get in a sort of groove, find something that seems to be working - a subject, a way of seeing, a way of working - but then you start to get a sort of tunnel vision about it. And you realise you are missing other, not seeing them things, not catching opportunities. And so the list is a little stone in your shoe reminding you that while the groove you are in might be good, you need to keep paying attention to other things as well, and be open to what else may be there.


It seems to me there is some of this in Ray Jone's list. And on the point of NO MIDDLE DISTANCE, most of the comments seemed to take it as an injunction to get closer. But to me, it works both ways - move further back as well. Cartier Bresson was the master of the middle distance in many ways. In Tony Ray Jones work I can see him embracing that, but probably wanting to move himself away from it, in part because the middle distance is what he most easily falls into (and is very good at) when he puts the camera to his eye.



Move in closer... or step back further away - that's what I think he's reminding himself to do. As I said, fairly obvious.


4 comments:

Stan B. said...

He certainly nailed the right distance on that kissing couple. Second most romantic photograph I've ever seen!

Jen said...

Do you know the title of the Bresson picture with the couple kissing, or know where it's found? I agree with Stan B., it's beautiful and I'd never seen it before.

Anonymous said...

That's a magnificent body of work. perfectly in touch with its time. Much more interesting than the worn-out Brit-pop photography produced by Parr or younger guys...
SL

Anonymous said...

The highlights on the band in the ballroom image really strike me. I find the first image strange and interesting. I never figured a picnic with cows could be so nice. This is the best body of work on the site. I wouldnt change a thing.