A lofty goal

Restaurant — U.S. 1 leaving Columbia, South Carolina. © Robert Frank.

Classroom — Arab Street, Singapore, 2013. © 2014 Callan Tham.

Restlessness has its benefits. I was flipping through Robert Frank’s The Americans for the umpteenth time when I decided to search for articles about it, and came across this gem. It’s not exactly new–it’s written in 2008, to be exact–but the article, like the book, remain relevant to this day.

I found the following passage particularly encouraging.

“The Americans may have been the result of a man with a Leica and a Guggenheim, or it may have been something larger; a piece of art that asks more questions than it answers, that reveals less than it implies, that suggests more than it establishes, that loves more than it can.”

I’ve always tried to photograph in that manner, and have been accused of various things, from trying to be clever, to boring, to being deliberately obtuse. I do not completely deny the first charge, the second may well stick, but the third, I deny unequivocally.

My photographs may be deliberately vague, but not because I’m trying to be difficult. It’s just that a photograph that tells you less than it shows you have a definite appeal, something that will slowly grow on you rather than the instant fascination that lasts no more than a thumb’s flick away, to be forgotten until the next best thing comes along.

I just happen to believe, and continue to believe, that is the best way to photograph, for myself. That it is a lofty goal. One I will find rather impossible to give up.

Which reminds me, I have been accused of being stubborn too. That one is rather accurate.

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