Since day one, it has been engrained in us to “be who we are”, but is it wrong to pretend to be someone or something else just for a second? To help push us that one-step further to become an even better “you”? Jim Casper, now the editor and owner of Lens Culture, a contemporary photography magazine, became the successful entrepreneur he is today by pretending to be a journalist. And by pretending, he became. Sometimes, you have to fake it to feel it, which is exactly what Casper did. Instead of being that fan approaching his idols, he contacted his hero’s as a journalist for his ‘magazine’ and had the pleasure of answering most of his queries. Being quite possibly the greatest enquirer I’ve ever met may have also been in his career’s favor.
“What keeps you awake at night?” he asked an artist he once interviewed. How do you even begin to bite into that delicious seven-layer cake?
Casper wanted to talk and learn about photographers and was fortunate to eventually find individuals to pay him to do exactly that. He shares his joy of discovery with other people through his website. Lens Culture’s philosophy is just this – with such constant visual stimulation, you must shock people with your photos. We’re so jaded in this domain where everything gives us an excuse to take a picture. So, shock everyone. Captivate them. Construct that caption that viewers can’t help but believe and invest themselves in. Of course the question now is, is it possible to be surprised or shocked by a photo today? The answer for us today was JR. An activist photographer who began shooting in the suburbs of Paris, printed outsized true and raw photos, and illegally plastered them on plywood throughout the city. He travelled around the world, snapping photos, enlarging them and making political statements along hillsides, trains, neighborhoods, and throughout public venues. Below is an example of his work along the wall dividing Palestine and Israel. Goofy faces of men and women in the middle of turmoil. That is shocking. You have our attention JR. We find truth in you as a source; we are eating up what you are feeding us.
We are all journalists, documenting our own stories, and it is of the upmost importance that we ask the right questions of ourselves and of the people around us. In respect to photos, we should question…
“Why are we addicted to photographs? Are these just a trophy? What do we really value in them?”
Let us start a revolution, Casper stressed, “Why don’t we alter the popular acronym FOMO (fear of missing out) to JOMO (joy of missing out)? Accept where you are, you cannot do it all and you most certainly cannot document it all.” Next to pornography and kittens, cappuccinos are the most shared photos… Really? What is more important, the objects, the pixels, or the experience? We will still undoubtedly instagram that photo early in the morning of the effortless dancing cream in our lattes; but after all, those photos are the reason why we persevere in this hunt for stunning, far from everyday snapshots.
As we poured our gratitude out to Casper for his honesty and wisdom he left us with such a saccharine goodbye, “It’s really lovely to meet people with so much enthusiasm, I’m inspired.” As enthuses, we could not be more inspired to find our exquisite idiosyncratic take on Paris.
Do yourself a favor and check this website out, http://www.lensculture.com/