I’ve always been of the opinion that sometimes you need to get out of your own way to take better photographs. In my own opinion, this is a big problem when you graduate from a photography program. It is possible that the process of analyzing images and putting them into a carefully critiqued historical context makes you think too much. You’ll lose your instincts if you let all that study sneak into the hesitation in the moments before you snap a shutter. Recently, Chris Berntsen, a colleague of mine, returned from a trip to Europe with the goal of pure photographic exploration, something that proved immensely valuable to his work, as you’ll see below. I’ve always found his work to be wonderfully honest. His images feel honest, but perhaps that is already thinking a little too much. Thanks Chris and I can’t wait to see more!
– Jacqueline Bovaird, Assignment Rep, Glasshouse Assignment
“The purpose of going on this trip was that I had just graduated college and had decided to end running a skateboard company I was running since I was sixteen years old. I decided that I would rather devote myself to living life as an artist not as a businessman.”
“It was my two months to escape my normal self and gain some perspective. Photographing there was harder in some respects because my work usually brings me into close long-term contact with the people I photograph who learn to exist with my camera, but this was street photography for the most part.”
“It was a therapy of sorts to develop new ways of seeing. I spent hours everyday walking around being a wanderer with a camera and shot what inspired me impulsively and tried to ignore the insecurities that prevent many great photographs from being taken. I don’t thing that these photographs are from an inside or outside perspective because my interest was very self-centered, I was more interested in things like death, age, the passing of time, not at all with who specifically I was shooting. ”
“My time in Europe allowed me the time and space away from the standard dialogues concerning photography that dominated my college experience. The ‘burden of representation’, the belief that photographers should seek out truth and maintain a humanistic respect for a subject is fascinating I largely agree with it, yet I feel that it does not need to come into play unless the photographer claims its relevance.”
“Rather, the camera can point in several directions and this journey for me was one of introspection.” – Chris Berntsen
Want to know more about Chris’ work? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.