Through Another’s Eyes…Joseph Thomas Photography

Photography is my other passion. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to present life in a way we don’t normally see. That excites me.

But not everyone gets it. It’s commonly thought that photography should be an accurate representation of its subjects in vitro. In a sense, that’s what makes it such a challenge to present something differently to the way we normally see it. After all, the camera never lies…

For me, it’s about growth. When people see things they expect, it doesn’t effect a change in their viewpoint or experience. We question our own perception of the world and experiences we have when we see things we don’t understand. I recently sold an image of a superimposed double portrait of my sister and brother-in-law, where one could not focus on one person without focusing on the other. The message was on the inextricable blurring of identity within an intimate relationship, and the art provided that message without words. People would stand in front of it, unable to decide whether they enjoyed the eccentricity of it, or disliked the fact that it was jarring. I didn’t mind which it was, as long as it caught their attention and conveyed a message of something they hadn’t thought of before, being outside of their ordinary perception of the world. 

My work on the Isle of Bute shows the island in a different light – sometimes the subjects are not instantly recognisable, and this makes some people uncomfortable, as it’s not easy to see something in a way that we haven’t seen before. For example, someone remarked that my colouring was off – the images did not look the way he thought they should look. This is intentional; I’m using film that sets it apart from ordinary snapshots of our beautiful isle and takes it out of our current timeframe – imbuing the images with a sense of nostalgia which is not typical of a visitor who sees only the surface of our beautiful isle.

There’s no right answer to photography or art – it’s to do with people’s personal experiences and how they want to the present the world to onlookers. And that’s what I love about what I create. We all have a sense of our world which is unique to us, and art allows us to share that view – that memory or experience – with others, regardless of culture, language or background.

Life is not ‘picture perfect’ – you don’t have to like what you see – that’s not the objective of art – it calls you to open your mind to new ideas and embrace the concept of ‘different’. That’s a challenge I enjoy…