Dzifa and I (under our collective title Word Migrants) had a great time hosting our book event, The Book Salon, last week featuring
Leila Segal, Gemma Weekes , Agnes Meadows, Rachel Rose Reid, Courttia Newland and singer/songwriter Marcus Begg whose photo you can see here.
It was taken by photographer Rob Covell whose portfolio is becoming increasingly impressive. I have really been enjoying Rob's live shots as well as his stunning photographs of his partner, writer and performer extraordinaire Kat Francois.
Having recently picked up the camera again (it's been just over a year since I have entered the digital realm busying myself with portraits and more) I asked Rob about what photography meant to him.
Art to me is a tool. I see art as a means to convey something. For me that is the most important part, not necessarily the art itself. Like true hip hop or poetry I like it when it teaches me, when it's revolutionary and empowers people. It still has to be good artistically, but if the message is missing or is hidden in too abstract a way, then it’s not easy to grab me.
Photography is the same. Yes, a beautiful landscape, nature pic or portrait will grab me. A gratuitous shot of suffering will not. If I’m taking a portrait, I would like the subject to look at the photo afterwards and feel empowered by it, that they see something beautiful about themselves that they hadn’t seen before.
A lot of discussion around photography understandably focuses on the image. I am very interested in the interaction between the photographer and the subject especially when it comes to more personal and meaningful relationships. Rob told me a little about the role taking pictures played in the relationship with his daughter.
I have a teenage daughter who has autism. I wondered if the relaxation I feel taking photos would help her, so I’ve started taking her out to parks and zoos, and just letting her loose with my camera. She loves nature and has told me how she too finds it relaxing. Photography totally de-stresses her.
So, what's next ?
I really want to get to a point where I can be semi-professional. I work as part of Zupakat Productions, run by Kat Francois and would like to develop the photography arm of that along with my own music production and writing. I’m working on some ideas for combining my three art forms. As with my writing, a main focus of my work will be to re-address euro centric perspectives and history.
As photographers, we have the ability to record the legacies of others, and I think that is a beautiful opportunity to create history that otherwise would go untold. I don’t want to specialise in one type of photography, there’s too much to see out there.
But what’s really next - Keep learning !