It is now relatively easy to take a photograph. Most people have access to a camera, even if it’s just on their mobile phone. This increase in access has resulted in a flood of imagery, in which good photography sometimes sinks without a trace. Photographers battle with millions of others on the internet to get their work seen in a place where instant gratification rules. It is interesting, then, to stop and look at one young photographer who is making some waves in the world of street photography.
Ted, is 21 and is discreetly capturing the world around him; the world he exists in and the world he witnesses. His work stands out in a crowded field as Ted possesses that one great skill that any photographer of merit must have: the ability to capture the moment. This he does, often taking the viewer into a world many would avoid. His images are thoughtful, often disturbing and sometimes upsetting. This willingness to confront awkward and occasionally dangerous situations in his pursuit of a great photograph make Ted’s photography a popular online hit. Ted is not this photographer’s real name. He feels it is essential to maintain a level of anonymity and that this enables him to take such hard-hitting photographs. Vignette met up with him to find out more.
_Vignette: When did you first get into photography?
_Fantasticted: For my 13th birthday my mum bought me a little digital camera, I was living in Australia at the time and my friends and me used to explore a lot of abandoned buildings and mess about, it was really good to be able to document it. I used to be so scared of losing that camera.
_Vignette: You use a compact film camera for most of your street work, which one and why?
_Fantasticted: For most of my personal photography I used an Olympus MJU II. It’s a small [one] and the pictures come out very sharp. I’ve lost 3 of them so far, one fell into a pint of beer, another the police have and the last one I broke when I was on holiday in Berlin.
_Vignette: Describe what you are trying to achieve with your photography?
_Fantasticted: Purely to document – one day I’ll figure out what I’m trying to achieve but for now it remains very simple for me. If I find it interesting, I take a picture.
_Vignette: You certainly get involved in what you are photographing, have you ever got into trouble doing this?
_Fantasticted: I’ve been detained by security guards for taking a photograph of them detaining someone else for shoplifting, then let go when the police arrived. Then I’ve been put in the back of a police car when I’ve taking a picture of the police detaining someone. I’ve also been praised by the police as they’ve used a photograph I took to get someone charged with ABH. The only hassle I’ve really had is from people who think they have more power in the job then they actually do, but ultimately they can never get you charged with anything.
_Vignette: How do you think photographers are viewed by those in authority and big business?
_Fantasticted: There is a lot of paranoia and fear. The term “anti-terrorism” gets used quite a lot. People forget that with Google maps and Street View it is pretty much possible to “walk” down most streets and get aerial views of most buildings in the world.
_Vignette: You are still young, where do you want to take your photography next?
_Fantasticted: Document more of what I and other people want to see and push to push myself with this. Get more into documentary film too.
_Vignette: Do you think having an eye for photography is natural or is it something anybody can acquire?
_Fantasticted: I think anybody can do it if they have the interest and drive to do it in the first place.
_Vignette: What do you consider to be your best image yet?
_Fantasticted: The series I took of a friend just before being punched and knocked unconscious and afterwards. I was out on the town with friends when we noticed a man giving his girlfriend a hard time. My friend confronted the man and was pursued, punched and left badly injured.
Ted captured these moments in what became a grizzly testimony of society at worst. But perhaps illustrating the positive force photography can
be, the photographs were used by the police as evidence and one of the images appeared in a local newspaper and helped identify the suspect.
STOP PRESS. The suspect was found guilty of ABH and sentenced to a year imprisonment.
Check out Ted’s work online at www.fantasticted.blogspot.com and his work is also featured on www.vice.com.
To see how Ted’s photograph was used to find the suspect see www.thisisbristol.co.uk