This is just a wonderful, moving story about love of photography. Read the article and see amazing photos from great photographers. By Ceri Jackson, BBC.
Swaps – Photographs from the David Hurn collections runs from 30 September 2017 to 11 March 2018 at the National Museum Cardiff
All you’ve got is a box with a hole at the front. That’s what we’ve all got and that’s all we’ve ever had since photography was invented.
“All that happens is the image of life out there goes whizzing through that lens and goes bang onto some material or other and you get a trace of that life on the back of the box. And you’ve got once chance at it, unlike painting or writing you can’t go back and edit, in photography the moment’s gone and will never happen again.
“So, all we have is this box with a hole in the front. So how come if there was a sheep dog trial for instance and Cartier-Bresson, McCullin and Bruce Davidson were there, they are all photographing exactly the same thing but if you showed me 10 pictures from that event I would be able to tell you who had taken what picture?
“It’s the signature of someone which can’t be contrived; it’s the purest thing to their real personality, the world seen through their eyes. The pictures are stamped with the unique style of the individual who shot them.
“But what is necessary for the authorship to come through is an impeccable command of the technical side. The best photographers might say ‘Oh, the technical side is unimportant’. Well, the technical side is staggeringly important but it has got to the point with them that they don’t have to think about it. That only comes through hard work and incessant practice.
“I always stress this point… you’re not a photographer because you are interested in photography.
“The picture is out there, you don’t make the picture, you just have a good visual eye and press the button at the right time. For that you must have an intense curiosity and tenacity, not just a passing visual interest, in the theme of the pictures. This curiosity leads to intense examination, reading, talking, research and many, many failed attempts.
“The idea that there’s no future in taking pictures is nonsensical. If you go to Smiths in Paddington station there’s 3,000 magazines for sale and they’ve all got pictures in them, they’re on websites.
“Everybody’s floundering a little bit as to how to make any money from it but those sorts of problems will be solved, clever people will find ways. Pictures are going to be needed there and the skills are still going to be the same.”
It is a measure of the force of the medium of photography that a picture that probably took a 60th of a second to shoot continues to fuel the life of another man 62 years on.