The comfortable distance. It’s an easier one to keep. Boundaries are respected, lines are rarely crossed. However, what I learned in my brief time at Ohio University is that, more often than not, if, as a photographer, one wants to convey intimacy in the images captured one must be willing to breach the boundaries – but never the trust. In the internet age this is perhaps one of the most difficult acts to accomplish. Despite the increasing transparency created by web media many people are becoming conversely more guarded and suspicious. Is this because we are learning more about ourselves than we care to? Is the mirror really this unflattering? I try my best to demonstrate every respect for my subjects but I also find that in doing so my images, creative as they may be, lack the emotional impact of strong journalistic pieces. This is my quandary. It’s a tall order to ask people to trust a total stranger pointing a camera at them yet if we are to see ourselves as we are, and I believe we should, trust is the one thing we cannot abandon; we must instead sharpen the tools we use to discern between those we feel we can trust and those we cannot. We need a new shibboleth.
The Comfortable Distance