The Iron Heart forum, my spiritual home on the internet, is 5 years old in September. To celebrate IHUK have come up with an image contest with a difference for their forum members, a contest where photographic skill and professional grade equipment come second to the subject at hand, the most important aspects being creativity, sentiment, humour and originality. The thinking behind this inventive and fun contest is what made me think about this piece for DHQ, the important role which the image plays in denim.
The eyes are the gateway to our hearts desires, as the saying goes and the millions of images which fill the forums, blogs and retailers web sites certainly add fuel to our denim dreams but more than that they allow us to develop an idea of the kind of self image we want to promote. Through brand look books and magazine features we are shown an image of a lifestyle which we may find appealing, the clothing represents the tools which we will need to achieve this particular lifestyle, and the other props (motorcycles, garage, camping etc..) representing the substance. We all choose an identity for ourselves consciously or not and these images can certainly influence that decision.
Over on the other side from the professional photograph is the personal picture, the image which allows the viewer a snapshot into the personal life of the photographer. These images are, in my opinion, the defining substance of the denim community, the absolute manner in which we live through the shared experience of people sharing a singular passion and interest. Oddly the images I favour most of this type are the most candid and often the lowest quality as they tend to give the greatest insight into the lives of the photographer or subject, and convey personality better than any professional picture ever could. I enjoy the raw reality of a moment captured in time by a rank amateur who clearly has not worried about framing, lighting, depth of field or perspective, they simply point and shoot with wild and reckless abandon and that is completely valid.
Whichever style of image you prefer there is no doubting their impact on the immersive experience which the denim community is, words can be dry whereas a picture will always do a far better job of showing the essence of its subject without inferred bias or subjective interference. Going back to the Iron Heart contest for a minute to say that I really like this idea, it’s creative without the need for expertise and it’s something that you can have real fun with. I have already submitted a couple of images and I still one more in mind which requires me to get a little creative but more than this I’m really looking forward to seeing how other people view this. Images are a matter of perspective, and that is what makes each persons view totally unique.