Hey, my name is Christopher Bethell. I’m a Manchester based photographer currently using the conventions of street photography to construct my own ‘Fictional Narratives’. Since the early days of photography, street photography has always been seen to be a pure form of documentation – to get out and photograph day to day life itself. It was Henri Cartier-Bresson that coined the term of ‘The Decisive Moment’ (a term that he later opposed) which was to look for the one perfect moment where form, content and story came perfectly together to form the true expression of the event. Further on in his career Cartier-Bresson decided that this did not describe how he photographed – instead likening himself to an Archer; reacting and shooting on instinct rather than recognition of a moment.
Even though Cartier-Bresson declared himself away from ‘The Decisive Moment’, this has continued to be cliche of street photography. In my own work, i try to realise the same moments that would be considered as ‘decisive’, but instead i wish to exaggerate the moment in the hope of creating a narrative which did not exist in reality.
In my work so far, i have been using light to exaggerate drama in a scene and comparing/contrasting different elements within the frame (architecture, objects, people, etc) in order to construct these stories.
What i hope to come out with is many varying subjective realities. Photographs in which you can read your own stories out of, therefore showing photography (especially street) to not be as pure of truth as many regard it to be.
I have also recruited the help of an illustrator (Tom Poynter) and a writer (Alison Vaughan) whom will be helping me create a book of the work. Their involvement will be to interpret Manchester through my photographs and into their own mediums – reading their own narratives and then portraying their own stories.