There’s an idea that photography isn’t absolutely objective and will always have a hint of subjectivity to it. The mere act of processing an image, no matter how minimal, will always shift reality.
Composition techniques also allow photographers to be selective in what they show. Still, it’s always interesting to see reality through the lens of creative and insightful photographers. A good example is Mongolian photographer Bat-Orgil Battulga, whose mission is to examine changing realities through street and documentary photography.
As one of the photographers featured in The Photographer’s Way by Depositphotos, he gave a peek at his “Metro Metropolis Metrosexual” project. Inspired by how Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, was very much like our cities today, he wanted to put together his own record of today’s metropolises for the future generations.
“I want to trace and explore the roots of culture in different metropolises through reportages. I think the documentary genre suits this project best, because it shows a current reality. However, there will be a new reality in 20 or 30 years; my mission as a photographer is to document today.”
Future-oriented street and documentary photography
All genres of photography serve as visual records of our time today — documentary photography even more so. However, I think it’s still interesting what photographers like Bat-Orgil Battulga would capture with a future-oriented perspective. It’s not just about documenting today, but doing so with the idea of comparing it to a future that may be vastly different. So, how selective would these photographers be with the sights and scenes that they want to preserve for the humans of the next decades? Or centuries, even?
So, I tried to look at “Metro Metropolis Metrosexual” with that idea in mind. It got me asking a few questions in the process. What about our current realities may change drastically in the near and far future? How will we navigate our world? What will our connections with others look like? What are the most important things about our reality today that future generations may find interesting to learn about?
A question of subjectivity in the reality we capture
Going back to the notion I mentioned above, Battulga, of course, also faces subjectivity in his aim to capture reality through his photography. So, when I asked how he reconciles this challenge with his work, he turns to documentary photography as the obvious answer.
“We can only see our faces in the mirror, so maybe the mirror is lying. Especially in portrait photography, is a person like that? I like to be surprised,” Battulga said. “Architectural photography, of course, aims to show a very different sense of space than it has. Documentary photography is intended to show a moment in life.”
Putting aside the issue of subjectivity in mind, I think the future will still look at documentary projects like “Metro Metropolis Metrosexual” as potent reminders of the past. It will be much like how we look at old photos now to gain insights about a bygone era. Furthermore, it will also encourage the future to think about what motivated past photographers to see their present the way they did.
“If we consider this time as our present life, then what about the world around us? Where did we come from, and what are we going to create? What do you live for? I take photos to answer many questions like these.”
If you enjoyed these photos, don’t forget to check out and follow Bat-Orgil Battulga on Instagram to learn more about him and see more of his work.
All photos by Bat-Orgil Battulga, courtesy of Depositphotos. Used with permission.