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Nearly four years ago I stopped taking photographs.
I was about to go cycling around Ireland and I decided I didn't want the hassle of taking pictures every day, that I wanted to concentrate more on the experience of cycling, the places I was passing through and, well, a fairly ill-conceived video project.
Two months later I didn't regret it and as I was setting out on a trip around South America I decided once again to leave my camera at home. In fits and bursts I returned to photography over the intervening years but the concentrated effort of even just the first ten days of this project have marked the first significant revival, in interest at least if not always in quality.
I've been reflecting on what drove me away from photography in the first place because one of the main factors has already started to impact on me here.
A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it—by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir.
Susan Sontag, On Photography, 1977
By yesterday I was feeling jaded by this daily search for images. I countered this today by putting a limit on what was my photographic part of the day and everything else was to be experienced outside of my lens. I spent about an hour around Times Square with my camera. I concentrated mainly on getting some candid street portraits but it was this formal composition that won me over in the end. It was refreshing and very positive to assign one part of the day as "photo time" and ignore it outside of that.