manipula – photography by David Sanderson | Wellington, New Zealand » Blog

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– me –

How did we arrive here? With you reading words I’ve written telling you about me, telling you about the person that takes these photos? Like any good story there’s a lineage, some of it relevant, some of it irrelevant, some of it influential.

I started taking photos in anger around 1998, and trained in a dark room, those places people who took photos on film used to hide in for hours on end. Truth is, although at the time it felt like I was doing something new, I probably wasn’t. I was the nerd at school, the one everyone liked to try and steal their homework from and so I guess my head’s always been thinking at a million miles an hour, over-analyzing things, having things to say. Yet I think it stems back further than that – when I was a child I drew. I drew rubbish but I drew, all the time, and further back still although outwardly it might never have seemed it, my family home was creative, some of the formative memories are of my mother sewing, and of my dad practicing his swing band music on the drums. He even used to shoot photo after photo on his Box Brownie cameras before he met my mother…

So in 1998 I guess all I did was find the thing that allowed me to finally, reliably express things I have to say. Except in that typical fashion of a young man, after reading countless magazines until I understood the technical side of things, I walked into my first college class pretty much exclaiming I knew it all, and was rightly brought down to earth with a bump. My lecturer, a man I have come to greatly respect, taught me being a photographer is not about the technique, that’s just a support role, it’s about what you see and have to say with your photos. Any monkey can be trained to be a camera operator with enough time…

And so all these years later, this is all I try and achieve. To take photos which have something to say. Why take photographs which can be fantastic fodder for postcards when you can make a photograph which moves you? Why take someone’s photo making them look pretty or handsome when you can make a portrait that fascinates you? Why see life passing you by every day and never say anything about it? I recently wrote in response to a question about why a photograph had made me well up inside: “…every time people ask why you photograph, you say it’s because there are things in life to see, things in life to say, to respect and to celebrate.”

David Sanderson – 2011