Consider an experiment that explored how the metaphors of crime can affect people’s decision-making. In 2011, Lera Boroditsky and Paul H Thibodeau at Stanford University asked students to read one of two crime reports; one described crime as a “wild beast preying on the city” and the other as a “virus infecting the city”. The solutions that the students presented to reduce crime were fascinating: 75% of the ‘beast’ students thought jail or punishment would resolve crime and 25% suggested social reforms. Yet of those that had been told crime “plagued” neighbourhoods, only 56% opted for more enforcement and 44% wanted social reforms.
When the scientists asked students to circle which parts of the text had most influenced them, the majority picked the numbers – the cold, hard, crime statistics – and not the metaphors. It suggests that humans aren’t necessarily aware of what shapes their opinions, or indeed the power that language has over substantive evidence.
I don’t think I have a personal favourite, it will depend on my mood
and current time also, so it fluctuates. I might have a top 10, but
again, today’s top ten won’t be tomorrow’s top 10 (or 100, if I had to
make such a selection).
Also, this begs the question : “favourite, but in what context?” a reportage? nature / countryside landscape? city life? portrait? Favourite might be a mixture of image quality and emotions associated to an experience, so I’ll just pick a few of those pictures that are special to me while still being relevant to my photographic endeavours, and I’ll share the stories behind them :
We start in March 2010, I’ve been taking pictures for longer than that but nothing I deem worthy pops up in my mind before that first trip to Japan
The first picture is that of a wedding photoshoot that I happened to witness in Harajuku. I stood from a greater distance to avoid disturbing the couple & official photographer. The resulting composition (with an object in the foreground partially obstructing the view), the intensity and of the contrasting effect of the colours makes it one of my all time favourites. The picture also conveys that feeling of mystical Japan that all first-timers have to shake off (yes it was my first time in Japan)
Picture number two, is from the same trip, where you can see myself, wearing an Osaka Hardrock Cafe leather jacket and a touristy oni-mask in front of a little shrine lost in the small streets of nishi-shinjuku go-chome. Coincidentally, Araki took the portrait of a woman eating a watermelon in front of the same shrine. I am still lost in that mystical-Japan daze I play with things I don’t comprehend, still I like the power emanating from it.
Still in March 2010, number three shows just how much I can sometimes be my most favourite photography subject, and it is true that I’ve taken loads of self portraits over the years. I didn’t take the picture, a friend did, I asked him to. What was I trying to convey? Nothing much, I like red, I like masks, I like the absurd and sometimes I’m brave enough to do silly things in the public space. Visually, it still has that power stemming from the contrasts, the colour red and the perceived-exoticism of the mask.
Number four, happens during my second trip to Japan in September 2010 and marks the start of a shift in my photography, moving on from photomanipulations and artworks to a more photo-journalistic style. I always had loved black and white, this is when I truly started using it knowing the power it had. I also dared getting closer to people, talking more, getting involved in what I was witnessing. I think this picture will forever remain in somekind of top 10, in the “captured emotions” category at least.
Number Five is taken in Reykjavík, Iceland in July 2011, where you can see a girl from New York flipping me while a Icelander remains focused on his conversation. Here the notion of decisive moment starts to seep into my images. As I journey towards taking more people-centered images, my attention to detail becomes slowly better and I start having those joyful moment of knowing that the composition was optimal at the moment of release more often.
Number six : right after Iceland, I’m off for my third trip to Japan covering the rest of July and August 2011. My friend, Shunsuke Watanabe, a self-published/promoted guitarist performs on one of the sidewalks around Shibuya station. I document his performances both on-stage and in the streets, I share bits of his private life, I meet his friends and befriend them as well. The image here is another example of a decisive moment, as he drops to his knees and closes his eyes for the finishing notes of one of his songs.
I took seven in Japan, still during the summer of 2011, another decisive moment, but this time while taking pictures of crows, one of my favourite self-indulgences in photography.
Between 2011 and 2014, I become more contemplative, sunsets, birds, mundane things, a few paid assignments also, all in all many nice pictures but none really striking enough to be illegible for a top ten made in 2017.
Number eight : is a souvenir from our “small honeymoon” in Paris, fall 2014. I like the composition and feeling of intimacy.
After that, I started my cameraman/video-editor course. Time became scarce, I couldn’t take as many pictures as I’d have liked.
Number 9: summer 2015, The Netherlands : another decisive moment with a bird (and a sunset to boot).
Between summer 2015 and today, we’ve been to Japan, Germany, Austria, a few places around Belgium and, of course, Norway, but no picture is really worth picking…
but fornumber ten : which was taken at the instant when my wife noticed me (and my camera) while she was changing our son in our old car, on a highway rest area.