About two weeks ago I came across a very interesting post. It was the Canadian photographer Tony Fouhse who wrote about dos and don’ts as a photographer. It appeared on Colin Pantall’s blog, which has had other photographers write about the same subject before. But while others has dealt with various themes like ways and means to promote yourself or how to position your work to get a good client base, Fouhse focused on the basic recognition about what it means to be a photographer. He wrote about the necessity of being yourself – and follow both your good and your bad instincts. This goes straight to the core of authenticity.
Tony Fouhse writes in the post: «If you embrace your contradictions and work hard at being yourself, you will end up in a surprising place, one more authentic than if you just do what you think you are supposed to do. And in these days of ubiquitous photography what we need, more than anything, is authenticity. People recognize it.»
I cannot agree more with Fouhse. The core of being a true photographer is being authentic and keeping your integrity both as a photographer and a human being. Being yourself. For that to happen as a photographer, you have to explore the depths of your being as that is where the source lies. This requires opening the vital centre of yourself – the heart. Many are reluctant to go to this vulnerable, intimate place but by doing so you will discover that the uncovered heart reveals both vulnerability and strength. A closed heart, fearful of intimacy, lives in the world that may appear clean and uncluttered – that is until you check under the carpets. Without your true self, you will be living in a superficial way – with much dirt under the carpets – keeping the act of creativity dormant. You can be the problem, but you can also be the solution.
Alas, according to Tony Fouhse being yourself means follow both your good and bad instincts. As he writes: «In my experience most people’s good instincts are remarkably similar, while their bad instincts are often particular. By embracing your good and bad ideas and impulses, by figuring out how to incorporate them into your life and your work, you somehow become more yourself. Plus, you’ll probably end up in unfamiliar territory, a place that will engage you in ways you can’t imagine, make you feel more alive.»
Tony Fouhse is a professional photographer based in Ottawa, Canada. He was featured in a story about intimate portraits in the latest edition of American Photo. The magazine showed a story he did about the heroin addict Stephanie – which also made it into the book Live Through This. Fouhse surely had to embrace intimacy to be able to photograph this project. Check out this strong story on his blog.
Colin Pantall’s blog is made by Colin Pantall, a photographer and writer based in Bath, UK. His blog is great, so if you are interested in photography, check it out, too.