Bill Jay Documentary

 

There’s a great documentary on the writer, photographer and curator Bill Jay, titled Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay. Until this week is was only screened at selected venues, and those were primarily in the UK, but it’s now available on YouTube. I’m only part way through, as I usually am with most things right now, but I can really relate to many of the people in it and status of photography as it was then, in the 1970s in the UK, having started a serious interest in photography around 1972.

Projects or Single Images?

From Jörg M. Colberg‘s article in Conscientious magazine — “Why does it always have to be about something?” 

Every day, I’m being bombarded with a flurry of pedestrian pictures, grouped in projects that are “about” this or that. These days, photographs always have to be “about” something. Pictures can never be merely pictures.

 

Make no mistake, a group of pictures will have to add up to something. A group of random pictures that doesn’t add up to anything is just that, a group of random pictures. And I’m not more interested in that than in the pedestrian projects… The history of photography is filled with practitioners operating along the line of groups of single pictures.

I’m not one of those photographers who needs to be working with specific projects all the time; I’m at my happiest carrying a camera around and making photographs wherever I end up. At some point they start making sense together, as a group.