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A top the domesticated ladder we look, daunting steps sit.


The subjectivity of a wild goose hunt, the illusion of something that has no answer.


What is‌.? Are we but not glorified tradesman, tricking society into thinking what we do is worth value?


The information age, where we sit behind our weapons, aiming to cut out a segment for primitive warmth.


Arnaldo Pomodoro, Sphere within a Sphere. Trinity College Dublin


Art is what we aim for.


“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.


Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder - a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.� Susan Sontag.

The Introvert Entertainer


The fluctuation of the photographic eye can change the very fundamentals on how we as the viewer perceive our world. Photography in itself is a visual language that can diversify and reform our approaches to what is worth looking at and what should be looked at. It is a grammar that pursues to capture the world as we see it and to then have it collected in an anthology of images – in essence, we are striving to collect the world in a series of captured moments. Now it’s only to easy to duplicate, accumulate and produce our memories into cheap objects through social media or loose 80p prints; in effect, a photograph can too easily loose it’s ‘charm’ or ‘uniqueness’ and is therefore too commonly taken for granted. On the other hand, photographs are visual representation of true experiences captured in a small yet diverse time scale of our lives, and from that, an image’s true content can only be judged on how the viewer perceives it.


With our cameras attached to our arms, we the photographers strive to capture our precious experiences and encounters through images that are worth preserving and worth sharing.


“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad frightened time.� (1) In a materialistic and industrial society where we have become image junkies and hoarders, and the art form that is photography has perhaps lost its importance. On the other hand, photographers strive for idealized images and chase beauty that they convey as important; in doing so, the pursuit for capturing normality has been outweighed by the pursuit for abnormality, for it is in abnormality that we are intrigued in finding beauty to which may have been overlooked previously.

(1) www.so-rimlee.com/literature-supernova/2011/5/4/susan-sontag-on-photography-excerpts.html


Sublimation has become somewhat of normality to our society in which we use it as a defence mechanism in situations where our ‘socially unacceptable’impulses or idealizations are unconsciously transformed into socially acceptable behaviours. For Sigmund Freud, sublimation was a sign of ‘civilisation’ and ‘maturity’ that allowed people to function normally in a culturally acceptable environment. As a result we have all become entertainers and performers in our own caged lives. As with everyday life, the subject of a photograph becomes the entertainer and actor for the image being captured.


When consciously aware of the photograph being taken, the subject strategically poses into a position to which they would like to be viewed as by the photographer and the images audience. With our society constantly being bombarded with advertisements, trendy bloggers and Instagramers, it becomes somewhat embedded within us to strive for that perfection. It is at this point where photographers decide on what side of the line they firmly stand on. On one side we have those who revel themselves in creating a stylised photograph that has been well positioned and highly enhanced, or on the other side where they strive in capturing pieces of reality.


“The photographer is the contemporary being par excellence; through his eyes the now becomes past.” – Bernice Abbott. (1) Throughout history, we look to images of the past to get a better understanding of what reality was like in then and because photographs seem to be taken as pieces of reality, they become somewhat more authentic than literal narratives – after all seeing is believing? But of course what we are seeing doesn’t necessarily present the whole picture. “The photographer was thought to be an acute but non-interfering observer – a scribe, not a poet.

(1) www.so-rimlee.com/literature-supernova/2011/5/4/susan-sontag-on-photography-excerpts.html


But as people quickly discovered that nobody takes the same picture of the same, thing, the supposition that cameras furnish an impersonal, objective image yielded to the fact that photographs are evidence not only of what’s there but of what an individual sees, not just a record but an evaluation of the world.� (1) The images being presented to us are the photographers perception of what they are seeing, whether that being trying to document a historical event, or strolling through the slums of Rio de Janeiro, the conclusion will still be the same; as a photographer we are always striving to convey a message within the image, that message however evidently always varies. So in essence, if a photograph is a message, then the message is both transparent and mysterious – it is a secret about a secret.


Our perception of the world can be entirely different to those around us. That woodland path that stretches out for miles in front of us reminds us of our childhood adventures of running wild whilst being chased by all manners of goblins and ghouls or that clear sea view reminds us of journeys to be had; all of these are one man’s perception. But what if we were to turn our photographic eye onto individuals?


Our perception of the world is also a perception of the people that fill our daily lives. We spoke of sublimation earlier and how we are constantly acting against our natural inclinations in order to live up to society’s expectations –what if instead we captured individuals when they perhaps weren’t aware of the image being taken? Would it then be seen as a violation?


Everyone at some point grows tired of the constant charade, and it’s in moments like this where an individual puts down their mask and reveals a side that is not commonly witnessed, if not ever by not only others, but by themselves too. But what if a photographer were to capture a moment like this. It’s on such occasions where the individual may encounter emotions such as fear, sadness or utter delight and ecstasy – in that brief moment they forget the pressures of society and give in to their natural impulses. If our responsibility as a photographer is to capture reality, then surely capturing these natural reactions and impulses is our duty to reveal the true human form and free us from the anxieties of society. This in itself gives us the opportunity as humans to connect on an emotional, mental and moral level between oneself and the subject. It’s an insight to the true human form.


Despite what whether or not the subject is performing or not within a frame, the true entertainer within all this is the photographer. We photographers give the impression of understanding within our photographs, but what we are really doing is inviting our audiences to our aesthetic world and our emotional engagements. We, the photographers are the introvert entertainers of the world; our photographs alone are our performances.


As we continue on our ambitious journey, aiming to find societies abnormalities in the hope that there may lie a form of beauty that we, the introvert entertainer may look onto and produce an art form that gives us that emotional satisfaction.


The Introvert ENTERTAINER

by VIVANT IMAGES with Suite20Seven

All Rights Reserved 2016

Profile for Oliver Hansen

Warriors - The Introvert Entertainer  

A two-part book, that aims to answer questions posed by theorist Susan Sontag in her essay “On Photography”. The book brings together two di...

Warriors - The Introvert Entertainer  

A two-part book, that aims to answer questions posed by theorist Susan Sontag in her essay “On Photography”. The book brings together two di...

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