Jarvis Cocker, London 1994.

Thursday, 22 April 2010 I’m not the sort of photographer that will turn up to a photo shoot and think that I’m automatically going to be able to stare deep into a subject’s psyche and, on the basis of a one-hour meeting (and sometimes a lot less), be able to say something deeply profound about them. Some photographers can do it.  Yousuf Karsh or Arnold Newman, certainly. But IMHO an awful lot of photographers just think they can do it. I don’t. I think that approach can often just be asinine. Because, besides anything else, some people (especially actors and politicians) are no doubt very adept at disguising certain realities about themselves.

So, my modus operandi has become, over the years, the opposite if anything. I try to free my mind of anything I may know about the subject and allow something to just fall into my lap out of the ether. The criticism of this approach, of course, is that it’s superficial. As a young photographer, I must admit I thought this myself and would always strive for a great meaning. But experience eventually came to show me that sometimes profundity can come more easily in the casual, unthought-through stuff. And, in all honesty, when you’re not even thinking about anything. That’s the great beauty of the form.

I didn’t even see this shot until the film was developed. I don’t remember him standing there rolling his eyes back into his head. But, for some reason, I liked this shot more than all the others that I shot when I was really trying.

I suppose I could describe the method (if you can really call it a method) as being open to the serendipitous.

Incidentally, this photograph was taken in Carburton Street in the exact spot that Boy’s George’s infamous squat used to be. They’d pulled the building down by this point though.