Three photographers who have contributed to the A Photographic Life podcast have died over the past year. That makes six photographers in total since I started in 2018 That is not a huge amount thankfully but there have also been people who had agreed to contribute but died before they did so. When we made the film on the life of Bill Jay Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay two people died before I had a chance to interview them. Two who are included in the film have died since.
What this has meant is that I have important audio or footage of those who have passed to share with their families, friends and a wider audience or I do not. When the latter is the case, stories, thoughts and voices are lost forever. And that is a great shame.
A similar shame is the outpouring of love, care, commendation and praise expressed when it is too late for the photographer to hear. And that is the second point I’d like to raise.
The first is to record your memories and those of others but the second is to let people know how you respect, admire and appreciate them before it is no longer possible for them to know how much you care.
At a time when social media seems filled with people exclaiming how proud they are of their own achievements or crippled by their insecurities it seems more important than ever that we praise each other. Enjoy the success of others and let down our own defences to let others praise us.
Photography can be a lonely road and we all appreciate a kind word from a fellow traveler. A truthful heart felt word stripped of self-validation and self-interest and given without request. I am sure that is what all of us would appreciate and even if we don’t admit it, what we need.
Dr. Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Under Graduate and Post-Graduate Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, documentary filmmaker, BBC Radio contributor and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019). His film Do Not Bend: The Photographic Life of Bill Jay was first screened in 2018 www.donotbendfilm.com. He is the presenter of the A Photographic Life and In Search of Bill Jay podcasts.
Scott’s next book is Inside Vogue House: One building, seven magazines, sixty years of stories, Orphans Publishing, is on sale February 2024.
© Grant Scott 2023