“I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.” ― Charles M. Schulz (from Peanuts)
That is how it goes. Especially for the social doc photog. If you set out to change the world, like Salgado wanted to do, you will be disillusioned, as he was, and end up shooting bullshit sunsets.
Now, I’ve got nothing against the landscapers. But if you call yourself a people / social doc photog and you chuck it all because the world did not follow your grand plans… that smacks of egomania. Shoot all sunsets you want, but do it as your first choice and not because your ego wasn’t satisfied enough.
I’ve been at this nearly 50 years, I already know people are shits…so I have no delusions. In my artists’ book ‘Skinned Alive’ it covers humanity at their worst. Still, it has no affect on my work, I keep pressing the button. Humans are my landscape whether the view is pretty or not.
Why is it this way with me?
Because my job is to document the world and not to be a do-gooder. My do-gooder work is spent on my efforts at acquiring, preserving, archiving and freely sharing objects in the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection.
If I was a do-gooder photog I’d have an agenda to keep. I’d have preconceived notions and prejudices. With me, I have no agenda, little expectations and try to keep prejudices to a minimum. And that is exactly how I like it!
You see, expectations are preplanned resentments. If you do your work with no expectations of change, with no hopes of sales or making money, no narrow-minded prejudices, likes and dislikes…you will never be disappointed.
In addition to all this, what is ugly to one may be pretty to another. We can never argue taste with art.
Now, even if I did want to change the world, who is to say my worldview is best? Remember ‘weapons of mass destruction’? We know how that turned out…the birth of ISIS.
Once you start philosophizing and mentally masturbating the photo op, the street or doc shot will be long gone. Plenty of time to delete at home…just press the goddamn button!
Selection from Take it Like a Man artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
Homosexual erotica from the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection.