Brian Deignan is a photographer living in Toronto. He grew up in Montreal and lived for many years on Cape Cod, in San Francisco and in Burlington, Vermont. Each of those places has profoundly informed how he sees the world whether looking through a camera lens or not.
Like most of us, as a child, I looked at the world around me with wonder and amazement.
Now, many, many years later, tempered by life’s experiences, joyous, tragic and mundane, I still do.
My perspective has changed of course, altered not just by age, but by the accumulation of millions of others’ impressions in the form(s) of words, books, stories, magazines, newspapers, movies, plays, television, ads, internet, graffiti, pictures, paintings, sculpture, captions, sounds, voices, songs, jingles, chants, etc, etc, etc. But the wonder and amazement remains and they are what drive and inform my photography.
Central to my technique is understanding that I am “seeing” with both my eye and my mind throughout the whole process: shooting, selecting, editing; being able to recognize the unfamiliar and be surprised by the familiar. I like to have an idea of what I am looking for but not so much that I am blind to what I see. It is as important to consider how one sees as what one sees. For our eyes focus is “the clear and sharply defined condition of an image. Not so for our mind’s eye, an important distinction when shooting and viewing photographs.
People, places, things are what I photograph; memory, imagination, wonder are how.