150 years ago, Charles Baudelaire expressed his passionate hatred of photography, for its scientific impression of reality, lacking any and all imagination, its Realism being a ” disgusting insult thrown into the face of all analysts.”
Diplomatically, he later on conceded to award the medium a supporting role, given proper castration;
“If photography is allowed to supplement art in some of its functions, it will soon have supplanted or corrupted it altogether….its true duty..is to be the servant of the sciences and arts – but the very humble servant, like printing or shorthand, which have neither created nor supplemented literature….”
In a discussion on photography, i recently read “in its purest form, photography is not creative, it’s reflective, it’s a perspective on what already exists. The artist creates, the photographer reveals.”
In essence, the photographer may not be a proper artist, not a true creator, but by taking in what conditions will produce, such as the angle of the photo, the lighting, the shadows, the weather, the composition of the image – having this understanding can be potentially both creative AND perceptive. The reproduction of something seen is not neutral — a selection is being made by the photographer and in this sense, aims to bring us something we may not have seen because of locale, or to recontextualize everyday objects and situations.
The photographer captures the image with a camera by way of lenses, film or digital media, shutter speed, aperture, additional lighting etc. That is the craft of photography. The photographer also sees things in the everyday world from a perspective and context that some people never notice. Therein lies the art of photography. Your own natural instincts often produce more in your photography than strict adherence to all of the rules and sometimes, you almost seem to conjure an image you didn’t intend, and it’s wonderful. That is the magic of photography and mostly, the reason i do it.
Yes yes yes. Craft. Magic. But ART? The word “art” comes from the Latin ars, which, loosely translated, means “arrangement” or “to arrange” The word “photography” comes from the Greek words phos (“light”), and graphis (“stylus”, “paintbrush”) or together meaning “drawing with light” or “representation by means of lines”, “drawing”. Indeed photography as art reveals it to be an arrangement of light intended to represent what is seen by means of lines.
Alfred Stieglitz, a U.S born photographer, married to Georgia O’Keefe, spent his career making photography an acceptable art form that could be considered alongside painting and sculpture.
i love all forms of photography and i appreciate ALL ways in which it is achieved from pinholes to digital SLRs and analog film. i am not a purist of, for or in anything. i simply don’t want to discount anyone’s ability or expression, nor do i want to insult them by claiming the tools or methods they choose are not acceptable or credible. And while, unlike Alfred, i don’t intend to spend my credit doing so – i am doing what most people do with their cameras whether it be snapshots of vacation places and family or some other more visionary, skilled pursuit: i am documenting life. My version of the human experience.
And speaking of a vacation with family . . .
If you recall my first trip to the British Virgin Islands, i embark on my return visit on the 5th of this month and will be gone until the 14th. I am looking forward to relaxation, to loosening the stiff, burning muscles in this back and neck of mine that heat pads and muscle relaxers barely take the edge off of, and of course – i plan to bring back plenty of art – uhhhhh . . . photography.
i just can’t get used to the idea . . .